Welcome to the blog of Johnathan Grieve.

I am the proprietor of Avondale wine estate, and pioneer of the BioLOGIC® approach to sustainable viticulture. The transformation of Avondale from over-used and abused land into a thriving, robust vineyard ecosystem has been a personal learning journey of more than a decade long. This blog is where I share some of what I have learnt about promoting life on our farm and the wonderful impact this has had on our handcrafted premium quality wines.

Johnathan Grieve

Introducing Nitrogen-fixing Beneficials

Introducing Nitrogen-fixing Beneficials

We started this series of articles on the role of ‘beneficials’ in natural farming with an overview that highlighted how everything from bats to bacteria can help you to maintain a healthy farm ecosystem.  Beneficials play a vital role in helping you to avoid the use...

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From Bats to Bacteria! Enhancing Beneficials…

From Bats to Bacteria! Enhancing Beneficials…

One of the most effective, responsible and long-lasting ways to reduce damage from pests is to introduce or deliberately boost natural populations of ‘beneficials’ – be they helpful predators, parasites or pathogens. Providing habitat and food sources for a range of organisms within the farm ecosystem is an important way of working with Nature to manage pests and avoid the use of pesticides and fungicides that poison the environment.

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Winter nourishment from biodynamic tree paste

Winter nourishment from biodynamic tree paste

As Avondale’s vines and fruit trees fall into dormancy at the end of Autumn, we turn our attention to another Biodynamic practice which has multiple benefits. Tree paste, which is also used on vines and bushes is not one of the original practices offered by Rudolph Steiner. Rather it has been developed and used by later, influential proponents such as Maria Thun and is today, incorporated in the farming of many Biodynamic practitioners around the world.

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How to make homeopathic remedies

How to make homeopathic remedies

The making of liquid homeopathic remedies is essentially to transform a raw material, such as the pepper, into a remedy through a process of dilution and succussion. Succussion is defined as a method to potentise the liquid preparation by shaking it using a specific method.

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Peppering as Problem Weed Control

Peppering as Problem Weed Control

Weeds tell us stories about what’s happening in the plant community on the farm, and they highlight deficiencies and conditions we might want to solve. You have to consider that if you get rid of a particular storyteller, you might miss out on messages you need to read. You also have to think about the role the weed plays in the plant community, and what might rise up to fill the gap.

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Peppering as Natural Animal Control

Peppering as Natural Animal Control

Ferments and peppering are biodynamic techniques that are used to find solutions to issues that invariably arise in the farm environment. We have already taken a look at how ferment can help to solve the case of a problem weed. However, there are also times when we need to have a nature-friendly way of dealing with a ‘problem animal’, and this is where peppering comes into the picture.

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Johnathan Grieve

As family man… Avondale is a family farm where we appreciate that the health and balance of our living system is inextricably linked to well-being of our families. As a father of two and a husband, as son and brother, my inspiration to achieve a robust, balanced vineyard ecosystem is to ensure that Avondale will support the lives of our future generations.

As artist… A passion for jazz and a love for all forms of art, especially woodwork and sculpture led me into four years of fine art studies – an eclectic education for a budding a farmer, for sure! However, I have found that in so many ways, the patterns, interconnections and openness of the artistic worldview have influenced my understanding of how living systems work.

As farmer… My interest in farming started early when I was a boy growing up on a small-holding outside of Durbanville. I planted and tended my own vegetables which I sold to family and friends. I hardly imagined at that time though that I would one day become a farmer. However, the theme of a healthy balanced life was embedded in our family’s outlook.

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