Welcome to the blog of Johnathan Grieve. I am the proprietor of Avondale wine estate, and pioneer of the BioLOGIC® approach to sustainable viticulture. The transformation of Avondale from over-used and abused land into a thriving, robust vineyard ecosystem has been a personal learning journey of more than a decade long. This blog is where I share some of what I have learnt about promoting life on our farm and the wonderful impact this has had on our handcrafted premium quality wines.

What, and Why Biodynamic Preparation BD506?

What, and Why Biodynamic Preparation BD506?

Posted: December 15, 2015

The main reason dandelions are used is because of their strong relationship with silica; specifically a powerful potassium/silica relationship occurring within the plant. This preparation harnesses this strength and allows its influence to be utilised in compost production and ultimately in our vineyards.

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What, and Why Biodynamic Preparation BD505?

What, and Why Biodynamic Preparation BD505?

Posted: November 24, 2015

Oak Bark preparation is the fourth of the compost preparations; this preparation specifically influences Calcium and to a degree phosphate within nature. Calcium and the calcium realm within plant life bring balance and harmony to growth. Specifically it is extremely important to regulate excessive growth in the growing season which of course has the danger to be imbalanced and create perfect conditions for disease.

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Avondale – Using BD500 and the Dynamising Process

Avondale – Using BD500 and the Dynamising Process

Posted: October 6, 2015

With spring’s arrival we were excited to see how the preparation has transformed from a raw manure to a dark coloured humus with a sweet earthy smell reminiscent of a forest floor. The texture is almost clay-like and sticks together when rolled in one’s hand. White fungal growth called mycelium is a sign of good microbial life. If this is not present, or the preparation still smells of manure, the horns can be returned to the pit, covered and left a little while longer.

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What, and Why Biodynamic Preparation BD504

What, and Why Biodynamic Preparation BD504

Posted: August 28, 2015

Over the past few months I have been introducing you to the various preparations used in biodynamic farming. This article looks at BD504 or Stinging Nettle preparation, the next of the compost preparations.

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Cows & their role in nature’s chain at Avondale

Cows & their role in nature’s chain at Avondale

Posted: July 3, 2015

Cows contribute to nature’s chain in several ways; bringing diversity, energy, enzymatic processes and most obviously, manure. We utilise a concentrated grazing system with portable electric fencing; this way we can manage our pastures, get the best quality food for the cattle and make sure we do not get selective- or over-grazing taking place. Our cows graze in our nutrient-rich pastures ensuring they eat when they want and whatever is available, as nature intended. I believe that this leads to happier cows that produce better meat.

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What, and Why Biodynamic Preparation BD503?

What, and Why Biodynamic Preparation BD503?

Posted: June 15, 2015

Human beings have long since used Camomile to aid digestion and relax the soul. It was also used to preserve meat before the advent of refrigeration.

In biodynamic farming, Camomile reduces ammonia in the soil, breaks down organic matter to stabilise nitrogen and increase calcium to create a rich stable humus that increases the health of the soil.

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Using Diagnostic Dowsing at Avondale

Using Diagnostic Dowsing at Avondale

Posted: May 15, 2015

Can anyone dowse? The key to successful dowsing is belief. Around 97% of the population has the ability to dowse, if they are willing to be open and trust in the practice however the biggest limitation is doubt. Even experienced dowsers will fail if they allow doubt to invade their thoughts.

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What, and Why Biodynamic Preparation BD502?

What, and Why Biodynamic Preparation BD502?

Posted: April 30, 2015

My two previous articles on Biodynamic preparations covered BD500 Horn Manure and BD501 Horn Silica; both of these preparations and BD 508 are applied directly to the vineyard. The next few preparations we are going to look at are known as the compost preparations and consist of BD 502 to 507. These preparations are specifically used in compost production. The first of the compost preparations we will have a look at is BD502, Yarrow preparation.

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Harnessing the Power of Nature’s Vortex

Harnessing the Power of Nature’s Vortex

Posted: March 12, 2015

As an Earth-friendly system of farming, Biodynamic practices sometimes include mimicking what we find in Nature. Most of the Biodynamic preparations and ferments, with the exception of the compost preparations are diluted with water and dynamised before use. ‘Dynamising’ is the Biodynamic term used to describe the specific stirring of the solution, which is a method that creates the vortices we see in Nature’s free-running waters. So let’s take a minute to look at this process.

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What, and Why Biodynamic Preparation BD501?

What, and Why Biodynamic Preparation BD501?

Posted: February 12, 2015

BD501 is simply modern shorthand name for the Biodynamic (BD) preparation that Rudolph Steiner introduced as Horn Silica. The preparation involves packing finely ground quartz crystal rock into the horns of cows. The preparation is then buried in Spring on a Flower day with a descending moon, and then lifted in Autumn.

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Johnathan Grieve

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.

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Listen To: Carrie Adams interviews Johnathan Grieve