Vineyards & Winemaking
The Swartland is perfectly suited to natural methods of farming.
Very low summer rainfall coupled with afternoon and evening breezes off the Atlantic Ocean result in low disease pressure. Vineyards are often planted in amongst the natural rhenoster veldt and fynbos, which provide refuge for predators of vineyard pests, and help reduce the spread of disease. Weeds struggle to establish themselves and spread, making it easier to control them without the need of herbicides.
We have put together a group vineyards in the most interesting parts of the Swartland, which are mostly found around the shale and schist based Riebeek Kasteel Mountain, and the granite based Paardeberg mountain.
Our vineyards are planted with grape varieties (which are mostly Mediterranean in origin) that are ideally suited to the environment, and are farmed sustainably and in harmony with their surroundings.
To maximise complexity, character and balance in our wines, our vineyards are scattered around different parts of the Swartland, and each is treated according to its specific needs. Our vineyards are dry-farmed, which allows natural concentration in our wines, and ensures the vines properly reflect the character of each vintage.
Dry farming also helps to prevent excessive vigor, which further helps reduce disease pressure. Vine training and management (pruning and suckering) is aimed at maintaining open healthy canopies, and balanced yields. We harvest 4 to 6 tons per hectare (24 to 36 hl/ha), which is optimal for the area.
By reducing the use of chemical sprays and fertilisers, and not using weed-killers, we try to promote microbial activity in the soils. Composts are applied where necessary to provide nutrients and improve life and structure in soils.
Cover cropping is practiced to maintain healthy, balanced insect populations and help with nitrogen assimilation. Cover crops are not sprayed or cut down, but are left to act as a mulch, and they are are mixed and alternated to obtain maximal diversity and benefits.
We are not certified organic or biodynamic, for several reasons (come for a visit, and we can discuss why), but do follow these trains of thought. We are farming for the future, and keep this in mind with all that we, and all that our growers do.