This September marks the start of Spring and Organic Month – a month-long celebration of organic products, brands, producers and farmers taking place across the world. It’s also Heritage Month here in South Africa. To celebrate the forward-thinking global organic movement and as part of its dynamic Heritage Month programme, Cultivate marketplace in Salt River, Cape Town is hosting a lively talk on Biodynamic Viticulture followed by a tutored organic wine tasting on the evening of Wednesday 15 September.
The dynamic double bill is free to the public and kicks off at 17h30 with a 30-minute talk and 15-minute audience Q&A session with Angus McIntosh aka Farmer Angus. This is chased by a tasting of Spier’s internationally recognised organic wines, that is hosted by Spier organic winemaker and Cultivate member Tania Kleintjes, and which starts at 18h30. There is no booking required for either event and strict COVID-19 protocols will be observed.
McIntosh, under the mentorship of Christo Kok, started farming on 126 hectares of irrigated pasture at Spier Wine Farm near Stellenbosch in December 2008. Farmer Angus is one of two grass fed, pasture-reared beef producers in the Western Cape. Biodynamic and regenerative agricultural principles and practices are applied in the raising of the farm’s animals, which include cattle, pigs and laying hens, as well as vegetables and wine. His charcuterie, made by Gastro Foods, is the only charcuterie in South Africa cured without added nitrates or nitrites.
All Farmer Angus products are also 100% growth-hormone free, routine antibiotic free and the pig and chicken food is glyphosate free. Farmer Angus achieved a world first in 2013 where he became the first person globally to sell Carbon credits for increasing the Carbon contents of the pastures where the cattle graze. The vineyards on the farm are in their 8th year of being certified organic.
Kleintjes joined Spier in 2007 as assistant red winemaker. In 2013 she began a three-year stint in the cellar’s quality control department, before being appointed Spier’s organic winemaker in 2016. She now oversees the organic winemaking process – from harvest and production to bottling as well as managing accreditation and compliance. Spier harvests its certified organic grapes from its own estate in Stellenbosch, as well as the farm it owns near Paarl, Nooitgedacht, which had its first certified organic harvest in 2019.
“There are two aspects to organic winemaking,” Kleintjes explains. “The first is using grapes that were grown organically – that means without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Secondly, there are special rules to adhere to in the cellar. In organic winemaking there are fewer additives permitted compared to conventional winemaking.”
Although South Africa’s natural and organic wine market is still relatively small, Kleintjes predicts a bright future ahead. This is partly because of the general consumer demand for organic products, but largely because Spier’s organic wines are garnering some of the industry’s highest local and international accolades. Since 2015, the organic range alone has been awarded at the highest level an astounding total of 42 times.
Standout examples of this include the First Stone organic red blend, which was awarded Gold by the prestigious Concours Mondial de Bruxelles and 4.5 stars in the John Platter Wine Guide. The Yellowwood organic red blend was also awarded Gold at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, regarded as the world’s toughest and most acclaimed wine competition. The Farmhouse Organic has achieved a coveted John Platter Wine Guide 5-star rating twice.
The organic wine production process is labour intensive and needs to be handled with care – so Kleintjes’s natural attention to detail proves invaluable at Spier. These days, the farm can’t keep up with demand. The tasting session at Cultivate marketplace will allow members of the public to understand why for themselves.
The marketplace is situated at the Salt Orchard complex on Yew Street in Salt River. For more information visit Cultivate’s Facebook Events page: https://bit.ly/3sZ1lKs, email email@example.com or call +27 (0)87 057 6619.
No bookings required; walk-ins welcomed.
People will be accommodated on a first come, first served basis. Under 18s will not be permitted to participate in the wine tasting.
Street parking is available on Yew Street, but taxi trips are advised.
COVID-19 protocols will be observed.
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