Avondale Estate – Paarl
In 1997, John and Ginny Grieve purchased the Avondale Estate – at the foot of the Klein Drakenstein mountains – as their family farm. Their youngest son, Johnathan Grieve, took up the challenge of transforming this long-used land into a robust, balanced vineyard ecosystem that would ensure that Avondale will support the lives of future generations. The first vintage under the Avondale label was produced in 1999.
Avondale’s ethos, Terra Est Vita meaning ‘Soil is Life’, encapsulates Avondale Estate as a dynamic living system where soil, water and energy, plants, animals and people are part of a complex web of relationships and networks, interconnected and interdependent.
The picturesque 160-hectare farm that is today known as Avondale has been under cultivation for more than 300 years. Early records show that the land was one of the first in the Paarl valley to be allocated specifically for the production of wine grapes.
Avondale is certified organic by the Dutch-based Control Union and they practice bio-dynamic agriculture; but Avondale does not stop there, they go beyond both these beneficial systems of natural farming by also using the best 21st Century science, technology and knowledge to enhance sustainability.
Avondale Wines are suitable for Vegans
Unlike food products, there is no legal requirement for winemakers to list all the ingredients in their wine. In some instances, this creates a dilemma for particular groups like vegans. The good news is that Avondale wines are suitable for vegans.
The ingredients in wine are generally grapes, yeast and sulphur dioxide. The obvious question is, “wherein the above would one find products of animal extract?”
Animal-based ingredients in a wine are generally found in fining agents and clarifiers. These are used to clarify the wine and remove any impurities. It is, in essence, a form of filtering. The winemaker does this by selecting a particular fining agent, adding it to the wine causing any cloudiness or impurities to sink to the bottom of whatever container the wine is being stored in. The wine is then racked-off leaving a residue at the bottom of the container which is disposed of.
Some of the animal-based fining materials winemakers might select from include fish bladders, egg whites, and mammal proteins in the form of gelatine. The most popular non-vegan alternative is bentonite clay. Whilst fining agents aren’t used in all wines, vegans generally enquire as to whether they are, and if so whether they are of animal extract.
And this is how Avondale clarify and remove any impurities in their wines. Firstly, they do not believe in fining their wines as thery believe it strips the pure essence, the soul, of the wine. Secondly, Avondale believe in the slow unhurried development of their wines. This causes impurities to naturally drop to the bottom of the barrel. It also ensures that the wines clear themselves naturally. If Avondale’s winemaker feels the need to ensure there are no large objects such as pips or other natural residues, he may do a gentle coarse filter at bottling.
Avondale wines are truly made with the minimum of interference – the way mother nature intended.
For every bottle of Fairtrade wine sold, a small additional amount of the selling price, what Avondale call “social premiums” are collected and paid back to the Adama Foundation. This is a communal fund administered by the farm employees, with mentorship by management, to spend as they see fit, to improve the social, economic and environmental conditions of their own community.
Armilla Blanc De Blanc Methode Cap Classique Brut 2009
Best South African Sparkling Wine overall
Best Blanc de Blanc MCC
Best Organic MCC
Gilbert & Gaillard Wine Award
Anima Chenin Blanc 2017 – Gold
Jonty’s Ducks White 2017 – Gold
Armilla Blanc De Blanc Methode Cap Classique Brut 2013 – Gold
Camissa Rose 2019 – Gold
Samsara Syrah 2010 – ‘Decade Edition’ – Gold
Jonty’s Ducks Red 2015 – Gold