Where nature makes wine
Pioneer: Avondale uses a unique approach that even follows the cycle of the moon
Principal on family farm is that healthy soil produces healthy vines.
Back in 1996 Johnathan Grieve’s family bought Avondale, a farm in Paarl that had neither a winery nor the bragging rights for pioneering a new approach to winemaking. Fast-forward 19 years and Grieve is at a helm of a range of wines that can make any set of lips smack.
Grieve pioneered the organic-biodynamic-scientific farming approach he calls BioLOGIC. It works as a dynamic system in which soil and water, plants, animals and people and energy are part of a complex web of interconnected relationships and networks. Guided by the Avondale ethos of “Terra Est vita”, or “Soil is life”, Grieve basis his system on the simple principle that healthy soil produce healthy plants. Avondale is organically certified by Control Union Certifications according to USDA NOP and EU organic standards. No pesticides or herbicides whatsoever are used on the farm. While pesticide-free wines are becoming more common, Avondale is at a definite advantage, their wines having morphed into wonderful blends of flavours. Avondale is also at the forefront of introducing and testing the lunar tasting calendar to South Africa’s wine industry. This calendar has four types of days that relate to a lunar cycle: root, fruit, leaf and flower, each of which affects the palate in a different way. The fruit notes in wines tasted on a fruit day are regarded as more vibrant and even overpowering in some cases; during a leaf tasting, the wines are experienced as less sweet, with a dominant, earthy minerality. Wines tasted in the root cycle appear more subdued; while the flower cycle is generally regarded as the best time to taste wine. On top of that, their red blends are fine wines, leaving you screaming for a corkscrew to continue the decadence.