A colder than usual season that ended with particularly frosty cold snap has brought its particular blessings. Cold Winters help to control potential outbreaks of above ground pests and diseases. But what every wine farmer is watching for over the winter months is the number of chilling units. This is a measure of the accumulation of cold units or chilly hours that we get in a day, when the minimum temperature is below 15°C and maximum stays under 20°C. Different grape varietals have varied optimum chilling unit amounts, but in general; dormant vines, like other deciduous fruit plants, benefit from an abundance of chilling units, which positively affect the evenness, the profusion and quality of buds. Chilling units is the reason why cherry farming can only happen in the coldest Winter regions of South Africa – without the requisite number of cold units, cherry trees just won’t bud and fruit. Our vines may not be so temperamental, but this year’s sharp coldness in Avondale’s vineyards heralds an even budding, an even crop and the premium quality that is Avondale’s hallmark.
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.