The web of life is intricately connected by dynamic feedback loops. Silent to our ears and out of sight, these are much harder for humans to discern, understand and engage with. In order for us to wisely intercede and mediate in our vineyards we need to be part of the feedback loops, dynamically receiving information from the ecosystem and being appropriately responsive to it. It is here that modern science and technologies are particularly of great use to Avondale. A continuous logging moisture probe system throughout the vineyards measures the moisture in the different soils at three levels and radios this information to our computer. This enables us to meet the irrigation needs of different blocks of vines timeously, and with precision and efficiency. We make use of a weather station for disease forecasting so that we can take preventative action through natural nutrition in the face of potential threats. We also make use of sophisticated plant sap reading technology that allows us to ‘hear’ our vines and better understand what is happening in their particular soil. Weekly leaf sap tests measure nutrient density, pH levels and conductivity, as well as providing us with Brix readings and other valuable information that ensures we can respond quickly and accurately to the nutritional status of our vines. In essence, the science and technology gives us the privilege of being part of an intimate, information-rich and satisfyingly interactive relationship with our own environment.
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.