It is that time of year, when the natural flora on the Avondale farm is blooming in all its diverse glory. The Western Cape is home to the smallest, yet most diverse of the world’s six Floral Kingdoms. The unique fynbos biome, as it is also known, is the only Floral Kingdom that exists on one continent alone, and within the borders of one country. It also happens to fall into South Africa’s premium wine-growing region. Projects such as the WWF Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI) acknowledge the great responsibility that wine farmers have to preserve the fynbos habitat on their land as best, and as much as possible. We were one of the first Cape wine producers to obtain BWI certification. However, at Avondale we go beyond conserving the just outlying areas of our farm to actively restore and re-establish indigenous fynbos species in our actual vineyards. We have designed and created nature corridors that run through the vineyards so that our entire ecosystem is a well-connected web of natural vegetation. We only use native species for windbreaks, and we have planted more than 2000 indigenous trees on the farm. In addition, we include fynbos species in our cover crop mixes. Encouraging and replanting fynbos species makes good old-fashioned common sense. They are obviously perfectly suited to the climate and thrive; their diversity contributes balance and an essential robustness to the ecosystem. Natural flora is home to the native fauna, harbouring and providing food for an extraordinary range of animal life. In essence, to keep their land healthy and strong, wine farmers need the biodiversity of fynbos as much as this incredible biome needs to be protected.
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.