Cape Town’s organic winemakers keep it real

It’s tough to produce organic wine; tougher still to do it biodynamically. Two Cape winelands winemakers are proving it can be done, with style.

It’s easy to talk a big game when it comes to crafting wines using natural processes, but two winemakers in the Cape winelands take their organic and biodynamic credentials seriously. But can the quality stack up at the same time as keeping it real?

Johan Reyneke of family-owned Reyneke Organic is one winemaker who quietly goes about crafting award-winning organic wines on his estate, a short drive from Stellenbosch. Their Syrah and Chenin Blanc are the showstoppers, but also stop in for a taste of their superb Sauvignon Blanc.

If farming organically is challenging, biodynamic is a whole new ballgame. Here the Grieve family is setting the bar on Avondale estate outside Paarl.

“Soil is life” is the Avondale philosophy, and they take caring for the land seriously. Snail-hungry ducks keep the vineyards clear of pests, grapes are harvested by hand, chemical fertilizers and insecticides are banned, only natural yeasts are used for fermentation, and everything from farming to harvesting takes place according to biodynamic principles.

“We are all about putting the focus on terroir, which is only possible through natural production,” explains Avondale’s owner Johnathan Grieve. “Biodynamics is the homeopathy of agriculture; it’s about kick starting and using the natural rhythms that already exist.”

And the results are certainly impressive: their elegant full-bodied wines have picked up legions of fans and awards along the way. The La Luna is a blend of five Bordeaux varieties and well worth a taste, but it’s the Cyclus white wine you shouldn’t miss: a fabulous full-bodied white blend of Viognier, Chardonnay, Roussanne, Chenin Blanc and Semillon. The Samsara Syrah is also exceptional.

Don’t panic, it’s organic! Stock up on your GMO-free foods at these markets

Tired of trawling your local Woolies for items marked ‘organic’? Stock up on fresh organic fruit and veg at these Cape Town markets. At some, you’ll even be able to purchase seeds and seedling to grow your own!

Oranjezicht City Farm Market

The Oranjezicht City Farm (OZCF) Market is held at Granger Bay at the V&A Waterfront every Saturday from09h00 to 14h00. In addition to fresh fruit and veg, you can also buy organic dairy products, free-range eggs, honey and freshly baked bread. While not all of the produce is certified organic (because certification is expensive), it does all come from small, local farmers, many of whom form part of the organic Participatory Guarantee System. You’ll also be able to get your hands on heirloom and organic seeds, seedlings, compost, and other gardening products. If all that shopping whips up an appetite, there are a bunch of foodie stalls catering to vegans, vegetarians, raw foodies, and those who shun wheat, gluten, sugar and dairy.

Erf 81 Food Market

As the name suggests, this market is held on Erf 81, which you’ll find on the corner of Military and Leeuwenvoet roads in Tamboerskloof. The market, which takes place on Sundays, is hosted by Tyisa Nabanye, a non-profit urban agriculture organisation situated on the slopes of Signal Hill. Located in the barn just behind the vegetable garden, the market offers up organic vegetables, seeds, seedlings, freshly pressed juice, nut butters, Cape Malay food and home-baked treats.

Good Company Farmers Market

The Company Gardens were once the only source of fresh produce in the Cape, so it seems fitting that the Good Company Farmers Market – which is held in the Paddocks Area every Saturday from 09h00 to 15h00 – offers up a variety of local organic farm produce. In such a beautiful setting, you’ll be inclined to linger, particularly when you sample the delicious eats and craft beer on offer. An added bonus of this child-friendly market is that you can also bring along your dogs if they are well behaved.

Constantia Waldorf Organic & Biodynamic Market

Every Friday from 11h00 to 15h00 (during the school term) the Constantia Waldorf School in Spaanschemat River Road in Constantia hosts an organic and biodynamic market. In addition to fresh veggies, dairy products, honey and preserves, you’ll also be able to get your hands on organic products from Camphill Village.

Earth Fair Food Market

Situated in a warehouse near the Builders Warehouse in Tokai, the Earth Fair Food Market takes place twice a week – on Wednesdays from 15h00 to 20h30 and on Saturdays from 09h00 to 14h00. You’ll find over 40 traders selling a range of fresh produce and delicious food, including organic veggies, organic hummus, organic chocolate, organic dried fruit and raw nuts, and cheeses from Constantia Cheesery that have been produced as organically as possible.

Rondebosch Village Market

The Rondebosch Village Market, which takes place opposite the Rondebosch Library every Saturday morning from 08h00 – 12h00, isn’t the biggest of markets, so it is a good idea to arrive early. That way, you’ll get first pick of the organic fruit and veggies on offer. The market also stocks nuts, jams, honey and pickles.