Green Living, sustainability

Green Wine-Making with Avondale

Avondale has certainly made itself stand out amongst the myriad of other wine farms out there claiming to lead the way with their nature-friendly harvesting techniques. This Southern Paarl wine estate has taken out all the stops with its legendary army of ducks, revolutionary Bio-LOGIC principles, and holistic approach to caring for the earth. Avondale's ethos of Terra Est Vita - Soil is Life - is the life motto of the farm's proprietor, Johnathan Grieve, who we recently chatted to via Twitter. As the man behind the farm's unique farming philosophy, he shared some insight into what it takes to be truly 'green'... @houseleisureSA: Let's start at the beginning. You studied fine art at UCT’s Michaelis.Why the jump from art to science? @Avondalewine: I'm a very inquisitive person who loves a challenge! On the other side what we do at Avondale is art. @houseleisureSA: Very true! You haven’t had any formal training in viticulture. How did you get into wine farming and who inspired you? @Avondalewine: I have always loved nature and coming from a wine loving family the two fit together pretty nicely. @houseleisureSA: You focus on making your wines the natural way. What does sustainable viticulture mean to you? @Avondalewine: It’s about creating life and a thriving, living estate; about producing a product that is truly luminescent! @houseleisureSA: So what would you say makes your wines biodynamic and organic? @Avondalewine: First and foremost all our wines are certified organic; secondly, it's how we produce the grapes. @houseleisureSA: It must be quite an intensive process. @Avondalewine: It is a very integrated system - for more in-depth information please read more here. @houseleisureSA: And how are these wines being received in South Africa? @Avondalewine: The reception of our magnificent collection is absolutely amazing! @houseleisureSA: Fantastic! How do you handle destructive pests? We hear your fluffy white ducks had their fair share of training. @Avondalewine: We get nature to do the job - the ducks are a perfect example. But there are many more, possibly not as fluffy! @houseleisureSA: So innovative, we love it! Any new eco-wines on the horizon? @Avondalewine: We just released 6 new wines, I think that’s enough for now! They are the embodiment of Avondale. @houseleisureSA: Absolutely. And we can say from experience that they are delicious. @houseleisureSA: Finally, which of the wines is your favourite? @Avondalewine: Cyclus for lunch, La Luna for dinner and Armilla MCC for the time in between. @houseleisureSA: Divine choice :) @houseleisureSA: Thanks for taking the time to chat to us Johnathan.I'm sure our readers are heading out to try the range right now... @Avondalewine: Thanks, it’s been a pleasure. The best way to experience Avondale is to come and do an eco tour on the farm. @houseleisureSA: Sounds like a plan. Interviewed by Kim Grové. To find out more about Avondale's guided walks that can be arranged by appointment only, you can visit If you'd like to follow the exciting developments on the farm,  you may also visit Johnathan's blog here.   Avondale has been selected as our Winery of the Month! Find out why it is a must-visit this spring by turning to page 99 in the Drink Up section of our September 2011 issue.