biodynamic vineyard management

Excellent viticultural course – In Stellenbosch – 15 to 17 June

Georg Meissner is special in the world of viticulture. Not only is steeped in the BioDynamic method, he sits on the research team that compares organic/conventional/BioDynamic in a multi year trial at Geisenheim University in Germany and in addition to that he makes wine from his own vineyard in the Roussillon. He is presenting the 3 day course referred to above. For full details you need to click here Meissner wine growing workshop June 2018

Alternatively click here to email Beatrix who is organising the event.

There are many reasons to consider the BioDynamic method. First and foremost true BioDynamic wines withstand the forces of oxidation (death) for weeks. I recently drank some of Nicolas Joly’s wines that had been open for 4 weeks as per the photo above and they were glorious. No conventionally produced or even organic wine can lay claim to that. The latter wines will go off within days of being opened, tasted and recorked.

Nicolas Joly has written some great articles here on a few subjects, one being the use of sulphur.

Another great writer on the subject in Monty Waldin. Here is an excellent reasoning why this method should be supported.


3 June 2018


Our farming philosophies explained

I was put in touch with these guys recently and if you click on those highlighted words (especially scroll down to the photos with their subtitles) you will get an erudite explanation of what the philosophical underpinning is to our grazing methodology.

To understand what underlies how we farm in harmony with nature in the genuine sense of holism then you need to click on these words by Nicolas Joly and these by Monty Waldin. They are the most eloquent proselytisers for the BioDynamic movement.

Blogs to follow soon on eggs, pigs and the poison/carcinogen/descaler Glyphosate.


6 September 2016

How we manage the threats to our vines


The last time I wrote about some of our vineyard management practices was here, in November 2012.

The biggest threat to the health of vines is the leaf roll virus. It is terrible to see a vine that has been infected.

The vector, or carrier, of this virus is the mealy bug.

One of the things we have done is put up hormone disruptors so that the males cannot scent the females.

The most effective way we have found though, is to leave our dandelion plants to grow in the vineyard.


In the picture above you can see small white spots which are mealy bug eggs. By having dandelion growing in the vines we create a home for the mealy bug. Conventionally the full surface of the vineyard floor is sprayed with a herbicide (mostly the micronutrient chelating carcinogen Glyphosate, which all South Africans consume daily. Click here for more on this). Killing the cover crop means that the mealy bug has to find a home elsewhere which is the vine and then the soil is bare which means it gets 20 Celsius hotter than covered soil which means a stressed plant and more irrigation required.

Other pests in the vines include birds that love to eat the ripe fruit. We have put up a Scarem kite. See the video below. Handheld with my GoPro and unedited as all the videos on this site. Note towards the end of the video how dry it is on the farm. We are having a brutal summer. These kites are up in the BioDynamically managed Ezibusisweni Chenin Blanc vineyard which produces the Chenin Blanc as well as the Straw Wine. This is a dryland vineyard which means it gets no irrigation. Very tough on the plants but the wines show the character of the vine.

You will also note that at the end of the vineyard rows there are yellow flowers. This is fennel which we plant specifically to attract the wasps that parasitise the mealy bug. The picture below shows the fennel in one of our Cabernet Sauvignon blocks.


Some of our organic farm wines are available at the wine shop our farm, Spier near Stellenbosch.


24 January 2016

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