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Now this is interesting…a new approach to farming found in my search for all the organic vineyards in the Western Cape…called the TRILOGY approach. Billy Hughes, owner of the farm and Argentinian born with a background in engineering, arrived in SA in 1990 on the 1st leg of an around the world trip…fell in love with the Cape and never left. His interest in wine farming came about during his trips with his father to Mendoza(the most important wine region in Argentina). In the year of 2000 he and his wife, Penny, purchased a piece of land in Malmesbury with the intention of producing wines that were…
- reflective of their source
- grown in a natural environment and
- infused with the characteristics of the area within which the vineyards are grown.
Hence the Name – NATIVO – for their wines…which alludes to his native origins in Argentina, his becoming a naturalised South African and of course their pride and joy…the wines from Malmesbury.
He decided to go the organic route for his vineyards with the motto – Leave the Vines in Peace – and was officially certified in 2013 although his vineyards have been tended according to these principles for many more years. Billy is a deeply thoughtful and caring man and these traits are expressed perfectly in the 2 wines that he makes…a red blend and a white blend. Both are rated 4 stars in the John Platter. Let me tell you that these wines are deeply complex, harmonious wines. There is no recipe for the blends, each vintage delivering a different encépagement(French term for the proportion of grape varieties used in a blend) based on the various cultivars’ character and quality of that year. Pure and unpretentious these wines are excellent food wines with a distinctive spicy element that is particularly adept at moulding itself around classical cuisine spiced up with fusion influences.
Billy and Penny Hughes are members of SIP, Swartland Independent Producers whose mission is a commitment to producing wines that comply with specific guidelines to ensure that high quality wines are produced giving a true sense of place and expression of the Swartland.
They are also well on their way to becoming only the 2nd biodynamically certified producer in the Western Cape.
Now a bit more about that TRILOGY approach mentioned above…
I have regularly written about organic farming methods and what it means for the environment as well as the produce. One can also take it a step further and include biodynamic farming methods into the equation as well. However…Billy has taken it one step even further and started investigating the potential benefits of monitoring the soil minerality and adjusting it to the ideal ratios as described by the people in the handbook below.
Astera’s Hypothesis v1.0: Food of high nutritional quality can only be grown in a fully mineralized, biologically active soil in which energy is flowing or being released.
Biology, i.e. living organisms and their remains, has been the focus of “organic” growers since the 1920s, more especially since the 1950s, and is the only aspect that most “organic” growers have any knowledge of or experience with so far. For most of the this time, the emphasis was on adding more organic matter to the soil in the form of compost and manure; only in the last fifteen years or so has the emphasis shifted towards the living soil microorganisms, what the popular buzzword calls the Soil Food Web.
The amazing results that can be achieved by balancing the major minerals Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium and Sodium in the soil according to the teachings of Dr William Albrecht and Dr Carey Reams are changing the world of agriculture. This knowledge has taken the focus away from merely trying to achieve high volume yields to achieving the highest yields of the highest quality and nutritional value, while building optimal health in the soil, the crops, and the people and animals that rely on them for food.
There are no more depleted soils once you start implementing this concept and the soil just keeps getting better and better year after year, and all without the use of any sort of toxic chemistry. As Dr Albrecht was known to say, “Well fed is healthy.” A well-fed soil leads to well-fed crops and well-fed people and animals. A wonderful concept and one which I am sure will become ever more popular as time goes by.
An unusual feature on the vineyard is the underground cellar cuurently under construction which is made from shipping containers and mostly recycled material with natural cooling and ventilation and a green roof (It will be covered with soil and vegetation to help keep temperatures down). The building will draw cool air at night and expel the hot air without using power…an all natural convection system.
I am very happy to be able to present this vineyard to you as I believe it is one to watch for seriously good wines in the future(once you have tasted their current vintages you would be too)
I am also able to offer a reader a prize of a mixed 6 bottle case of these beautiful red and white blends made by Billy and his team. Now this is a tremendous prize as these bottles retail for around R120-R140 per bottle…yes that’s R800 worth of wine for one lucky reader. Thank you to Billy Hughes! To qualify for the prize you should:
- Answer this question correctly: Where is the new cellar to be situated?
- Share/like this article on twitter or and/facebook(the more you do the better your chances)
Remember only subscribers can enter…if you are not currently a subscriber you can enter and answer the above question here
Current subscribers can send email with the correct answer in the subject row.