In April, I enjoyed my first experience of Japan as I presented Avondale at the Wine & Gourmet JAPAN exhibition held at Tokyo Big Sight. It was a great show for us and our wines had a fantastic reception. As a wine producer, Japan has a sophisticated, growing wine market. There were more 138 exhibitors from 16 countries at the event, and it was visited over the three days by more than 70 000 people. Tokyo itself is an extraordinary experience! This capital city of Japan, and one of the world’s three world economy “command centres” is amazingly first-world. Spotlessly clean and perfectly well-ordered, it is the most populous metropolis in the world with more than 13 million people who are unfailingly polite and respectful of each other’s space, until it comes to getting on and off the underground trains, which is a bustle! One of the highlights of my stay was a dinner out with clients at a superb sashimi restaurant in the Ginza, Tokyo’s famous upmarket shopping, dining and entertainment district. Virtually every leading, fashionable brand has a presence in the Ginza, where just one square metre of land is worth over 10 million yen. I thoroughly enjoyed a traditional seven course Japanese meal in the small, basement restaurant which was accompanied by a tasting of four different kinds of saki. The food was phenomenal – interesting flavours, such high quality and really healthy. My favourite was a Green Tea ice-cream which was amazingly fresh, and not sweet.
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.