Straw wine

Latest products – Verhackert/Pork Pate and Salami Sticks

I start with the Verhackert and then go to the salami sticks. We use only the pork raised on the farm and processed in our on farm butchery. Our pigs are not caged. You can read more about our outdoor pig operation here. We also refuse to add cancer inducing nitrates and/or nitrites to any of our products.

 

Not sure why the German speaking folk seem to produce the most delicious pork products (except for salami). Ever since I tasted this spread I have been wanting to make it. Needless to say it has taken a while but as per usual the folk from ALMI, our spice company, put it all together for us. Danke schun Matthias, Carl, Hubert and Jerry.

A closer look at the label which is retail ready.

Phello, Ruvarashe and Loice with a packet of salami sticks on each finger. These are called euroslots and are for the checkout aisle at your friendly local retailer. We are very proud of the fact that none of our products have any nitrates or nitrites added.

Below are some photos of the Verhackert making process but in short salt and spice the cheeks, we leave them for a week, double smoke them, mince them and pack.

Note that unlike the caged version our pork is dark. This is because of the Vitamin D they get from being outside as well as the betacarotenes and chlorophyll from the green grass that they graze on.

The bay tree is from the farm I grew up in KZN. Happily growing here now.

The rosemary is from our garden. The salt we use is from Khoisan. It is the unwashed version (this is critical) and it is one of the major ingredients in our free choice mineral lick.

After the double smoking.

The instructions on the bottle say that this is best enjoyed with some of our soft boiled eggs. More about our outdoor egg operation here. We choose not to have the egg yolk colourant added to our chicken feed. The chlorophyll and beta carotenes in the pastures colour the yolk. Considering that 96% of South Africa’s laying hens are in cages and they have never and will never see grass you understand the need for yolk colourant.

 

Our salami sticks are a little more complicated to make. A key ingredient is the organic red wine from the farm. Our vineyards have been organically certified for 4 years already. No added nitrates or nitrites.

The photo above is of the salami sticks in the fermentation stage which takes two days, immediately after making them. In a warm room. We then smoke them and then they go to the wine cellar for maturation.

The salami matures in the cellar where I made my Ezibusisweni Chenin Blanc as well as the Straw Wine. In fact it is a nursery as wine is made in the vineyard.

There are two ways to get our product. First click on SHOP NOW which is top left and then you get the option of either collecting from our office or the goods being couriered to you. Alternatively click on PRODUCT INFORMATION at the top of this page and then you can see which restaurants and which retail outlets stock out produce.

Angus

15 June 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our online shop is open

A massive thanks to Yolande, in the middle in the photo below, and her husband Francois for enabling this. It feels like we are growing up. All you need to do is click on SHOP NOW and follow the instructions.

To celebrate we have released our salami sticks. As with all our butchery products we don’t cancer inducing nitrates and nitrites. Currently the only butchery in the land not adding these chemicals.

Ruvarashe and Phello are showing off our salami sticks which come in packs of 150 grams. The packets are filled with Nitrogen gas which keeps the product room temperature stable for 3 months. We use our pigs to make the salami as well as our organic Shiraz wine from the farm. Our beef and chicken products are also available online as well my Ezibusisweni Straw Wine.

The salt in all our products is from Khoisan and we also use it for our animals in their free choice mineral licks.

Thanks

Angus

24 February 2018

 

My first white wine. Ezibusisweni Chenin Blanc 2012

 

Hello

Ezibusisweni is the Zulu word for the Place of Blessings.

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This is what the bottle looks like. I have chosen to use the clear glass as I love the colour of the wine. The logo was designed by the amazing team at Aisle B Design studio.

The sketch artist is the same one (Mqhapheli Spephelo Zungu who I wrote about on this blog in my posting on my first dessert wine, The Ezibusisweni 2008 Straw Wine. He and I grew up together on a farm in KwaZulu-Natal that has now become yet another example of failed land restitution in this beloved country. Click here for the blog on this sad tale.) who did the sketch for my straw wine.

Printing is done by the ever reliable team at Collotype.

pre sunrise harvest

It is very important to start harvesting at first light. Once the sun has appeared over those mountains in the background it gets very hot very quickly. Hot grapes lead to, in my experience, a very aggressive fermentation.

perfect bunch

The perfect bunch of Chenin Blanc. A balance between sweetness and acidity. The best description I have heard about drinking Chenin Blanc is that it is like eating ruby grapefruit. It starts off sweet and then the acidity comes through.

You just have to have another sip as we are programmed to want sweetness, especially after having it so suddenly removed by the acidity in the wine. I don’t acid to my wine.

selfie

In addition to orchestrating the growing of the grapes through the season, I also help harvesting. Luckily I was not being paid like the other staff on how many crates I pick. For starters, they don’t stop to take selfies during work.

We apply BioDynamic methods to way this vineyard is managed. More about this, if you are interested, lower down.

more chenin in crate

The grapes are chilled overnight.filling barrels

The grapes are then pressed in the basket press. Hector is standing at the basket press on the right hand side. From there the juice goes into the 500 litre barrel via the white bucket that I am holding. We then leave it to ferment and age for 2 years before adding sulphur just prior to bottling. We don’t do anything else to the wine during this time.

We used to add sulphur as the juice went into barrel but thanks to natural wine guru, Isabelle Legeron, we no longer do this.

It is in a BioDynamic vineyard that the wine is made. The cellar is merely a nursery. This vineyard will, along with Spier’s Estate vineyards get BioDynamically certified in early 2015.

grape waste for compost

What is left in the basket press after we have pressed the juice out we compost and then return this compost to the vineyard.

S burning bright

After 2 years in barrel we rack the wine into a holding tank and then add mined Sulphur as a preservative. The blue flame above is Sulphur burning in the machine en route into the wine.

This wine is the only wine in this country that contains mined sulphur as I am the only one with this machine. There are some non Sulfite wines. The other sulphur is a petrochemical byproduct.

bubble bubble toil and S

Bubble, bubble, toil and sulphur. Above is a photo of the holding tank immediately after the wine was infused with the mined sulphur. I add 1 gram of Sulphur per hectolitre of wine. Click here for  an excellent article on Sulphur by Nicolas Joly. He also writes a wonderful article on agriculture with the punch line “the taste of truth”.

hamish filling bottles

On the front of the bottle it says handcrafted. Filling the bottles with this filler (one of our sons) is a painstaking job when it is done by hand.

joshua and hector corking

Corking follows bottling and here our youngest has teamed up with Hector to place the corks into each bottle.

corks

Our corks, made by Amorin, look like this. They are fully FSC compliant. The three pointed logo is a copy of an engraving done by Marko Pogacnik, ecologist and geomancer, on our farm many years ago when he did work here.

 

sti sticking stickers

Sti then applies the stickers and we let the wine rest for a few months to get over bottle shock. The bottle I tested this past weekend indicates that the wine is no longer shocked by the bottle.

livio august 2013

The Ezibusisweni vineyard was also the first one in the country that was pruned in the Simonit Sirch method. Here, in July 2013, is Livio instructing our team in this vine life-prolonging pruning method. The return on capital calculation on your vineyard looks completely different if you can get at least another 5 years of life out of your vines thanks to this pruning method. Furthermore your wine gets more interesting with age.

livio and orlando, sept 2014

Livio, with my colleague Orlando, looking happy with the state of his first vineyard a year after he pruned for the first time. At least 7 wine farms have decided that they also want their vines to live longer and now use Livio. He has only been working in South Africa for two seasons.

grade 3 collecting

Every year one of the farming lessons for the Grade 3 pupils from the Stellenbosch Waldorf School takes place in the vineyard where they all harvest a bay. In many years of having them here none of them has cut a finger with the harvest scissors. It must be because of all the various forms of handwork Steiner/Waldorf pupils do.

grade 3 stomping

After harvest the pupils get into the basket press with their grapes and clean feet to stomp the juice out, which they take home.

sti and I in vineyard

Sithandile Ludonga is the man who helps me throughout this process. The white man cannot pronounce his proper Xhosa name so he has rebranded himself Sti. Sti and I in the vineyard with the finished product.

sti making bricks, Jan 2015

I met Sti exactly 10 years ago. We have worked together since. He started off making sun dried clay bricks for our home (above). By the time construction was finished he could lay bricks, plaster, hang doors and do the plumbing.

rooftop garden

In addition to living in a clay house we are fortunate enough to have part of the roof living. Succulent plants use very little water and particularly like flowering in the 42 Celsius days of February.

sti cleaning pool

Another of Sti’s tasks is to check up on our natural swimming pool. This pool uses no chlorine or salt and was designed by Jerome Davis of Aqua Design. There is no point living in a clay house, raising grass fed beef and then bathing in chlorine.

Sti gets a % of sales from each bottle sold out of our tiny cellar.

22 august 2014

BioDynamic agriculture is an enhancement to organic agriculture and the central element of this method is that fertility should be created on the farm. This is in stark contrast to conventional farming where the soil destroying fertilisers are produced in huge, energy intensive factories and then trucked for many kilometres to the farm.

The second element is that a farm should be financially, environmentally and socially profitable.

The third element is a recognition that life is an energetic process and so alignment with these life forces is essential to ensure a healthy farm which results in healthy produce. The best way to describe this element of BioDynamic farming is this series of photos (above and below) taken on the same day of each month at the same spot in the vineyard. 22 August 2014.

22 september 2014

22 September 2014.

22 october 2014

22 October 2014

22 november 2014

22 November 2014.

The plant will continue to grow for approximately another 6 weeks and then put its energy into ripening the fruit which then becomes wine.

Where has all of this growth appeared from? At least 1.5 tons of vegetative matter per hectare has appeared from nowhere?

Energy or non matter manifests, through photosynthesis, into matter. When we eat food, the energy in that matter is released and that is what sustains us.

Rudolf Steiner, who gave the impulse to the BioDynamic movement, had tremendous insight into the these energetic processes and so suggested ways to make various fertility enhancing medicines (the 8 preparations) and ways to apply these medicines either to the land or to the compost heaps. For example enhancing the Calcium process is chiefly achieved through the BD 505 Oak Bark preparation.

Another way of thinking about this element of BioDynamics is to think about full moon and it’s effect on the oceans. Surfers and spring tide. Plants are 97% water and are accordingly also affected. The moon is not the only celestial body and therefore the other bodies also have an effect on the earth.

Energy is streaming into earth from above just like waves are always coming to the shore. Are you on the right surfboard? Or are you a non swimmer?

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It was such a long time ago that you saw the bottle that I needed to put this photo in as a reminder. If you are going to drink the wine, please decant it for at least 15 minutes before drinking. It/she needs time to open up. Contact me if you want to buy any bottles.

Alternatively come to the farm for a real food safari and we can discuss these matters in more depth and I can show you how agriculture can heal the earth.

Angus

 

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