It’s no secret that I have a strong appreciation for wine. In fact, sipping a glass of chilled white wine coupled with a classic Cape Town view and drinking a glass of full-bodied red wine in front of a fire (depending on the season) are among my favourite pastimes.

Recently, I came into contact with Avondale wines (served, in lovely wine glass I might add, at the Earth Fair Food Market in Tokai) and Slowine (offered to the greenies at Green Drinks at The Josephine Mill) and couldn’t believe my luck. Two major interests combined! Two birds with one stone! I can now support my wine habit (never fear, it is nothing serious) whilst simultaneously backing Green and Slow initiatives!

Avondale: “wines approved by Mother Nature”

avondale_logoThe owner of Avondale Wine Estate, Johnathan Grieve has farmed organically since 2000 (i.e. avoiding the use of harmful fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides). However, Johnathan’s keen interest in soils drove him to take natural farming a few steps further by blending organic and biodynamic farming practices. In this way, he developed and pioneered bio-LOGIC farming.

According to Krige Visser, the Sales and Marketing Manager at Avondale, “Bio-LOGIC is based in biological farming principles, but what we do is so logical in terms of sustainable agriculture, old trusted farming practices and modern science and techniques that it makes absolute common sense to employ the word Bio-LOGIC.”

Simply put, bio-LOGIC viticulture implies a method using the “purest possible agricultural conditions”, which aims to revert soils back to their original state (i.e. balanced and alive) in order to allow for a living system that is capable or regenerating life over and over again. For example, micro-organisms (which improve the nitrogen uptake ability of vines) are encouraged by Avondale’s cover cropping system, instead of using fertilizers.

Innovative and green technologies are utilised to remove weeds, trim vines and blow away leaves whilst natural predators have been introduced to remove pests. The farm employs a gaggle of 100 rather photogenic Pekin ducks to eat the snails off the vines and wasps are in charge of countering meal bug plagues.

And, on top of all this, their wines are lovely! Besides the Fair Earth Food Market you can find Avondale’s bio-LOGIC and organic wines (25% of the vineyards are certified organic) for sale at the Claremont Wellness Warehouse or you can simply order them online.

Slowine: “time becomes precious when life rushes by”

slowineThe makers of Slowine encourage their customers to take time, appreciate and enjoy life whilst forgetting, for the moment, the hustle, bustle and demands of modern, fast-paced living. They are passionate followers of the “slow” philosophy and their wines are a testament to this.

Paul Cluver, Villiersdorp Cellars, Beaumont and Luddite (wineries situated around the Groenland Mountains) collectively produce Slowine. This partnership facilitates the exchange of expertise and resources without having to travel far.

Slowine is available from certain retail outlets and a number of restaurants around Cape Town. Alternatively, you can order directly from the farm (a minimum of 12 bottles) via their website. The great news is that delivery to Cape Town is free of charge!


backsberg_logoA personal favourite, Backsberg is the only certified carbon neutral wine in South Africa.

Pia recently visited the farm to get an idea of ways in which the farm curbs and counteracts their carbon emissions, so I needn’t rehash her efforts. Check out her article here, if you haven’t yet read it.

Ed’s Note: I would like to add Reyneke Wines to this list – Johan Reyneke farms biodynamically out near Stellenbosch. He is currently one of only a few winemakers in SA who produce biodynamic wines and his wines are fantastic!

Jacqui_cropThis article was written by Jacqui Stephenson.
Jacqui has a B.Sc Honours degree in Zoology from the University of Cape Town and works on scientific and agricultural projects for Tokai-based C4 EcoSolutions. C4 EcoSolutions (Pty) Ltd. provides scientific expertise on large-scale ecological projects, and the management of climate change.

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