The first impression of Reyneke Wines is of weed-infested vineyards with chickens scratching around, geese swimming carelessly in mud puddles and cows chewing the cud beside the vines.
Weeds as tall as vines(!):
Let’s just say it’s not your conventional state-of-the-art, groomed and kept wine estate. Reason being that it’s based on biodynamic principles. What does this mean? In layman’s terms, bio-dynamics shares the same principles as organic farming, but takes it one step further. Where the organic farmer still sees weeds as competition for nutrients and has them removed, the biodynamic farmer believes they act as messengers that give essential information on the condition of the soil. It’s all about holistic farming with emphasis on the integration of vines and livestock, recycling of nutrients, natural maintenance of soil and wellbeing of crops and animals.
It doesn’t stop there. (And this may come across as rather alternative…) The biodynamic farmer works according to natural and cosmic cycles, rhythms and forces ‘to create a harmonious whole’. More on that here. It’s all very spiritual, but really quite practical too.
But – as with anything – the proof is in the tasting. And I have to say, Reyneke wines are clear, clean and vibrant with a definite earthiness. I’m not usually a Sauvignon Blanc drinker, but having tasted the Reyneke 2011, to be released in September, I may just be converted. The Chenin Blanc is not too shabby either. We were led through the tasting by the (self-proclaimed) ‘cellar rat’ Ryan Mostert, who was so taken by Reyneke Wines on his first visit to the farm that it was through sheer persistence and perseverance that he finally got a job there. They’re lucky to have him.
In closing, some of the best wines in the world are biodynamic. Still not convinced? To quote from Wikipedia: “In a blind tasting of 10 pairs of biodynamic and conventionally-made wines, conducted by Fortune and judged by seven wine experts, nine of the biodynamic wines were judged superior to their conventional counterpart. The biodynamic wines “were found to have better expressions of terroir, the way in which a wine can represent its specific place of origin in its aroma, flavor, and texture.”
I couldn’t have put it better myself.
Look at this incredible soil:
Entrance to Reyneke Wines. The (biodynamic) road less travelled:
Reyneke Wines, Uitzicht Farm, Polkadraai Road M12, Vlottenburg, Stellenbosch. It’s preferable to arrange an appointment before you visit, though tasting and sales are Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm, and Saturday from 10am to 1pm. 021 881 3517