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.

Why has Humus Become a Depleted Resource?

Why has Humus Become a Depleted Resource?

Posted: March 26, 2014

This second article on our series on humus aims to deepen our understanding of why we currently need to take steps to create, manage and protect humus in our soils. If we are to succeed in this, we need to know what it is that depletes humus in the first place, and then change our ways.

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Graeme Sait on Humus

Graeme Sait on Humus

Posted: December 10, 2013

For the nature-friendly farmer, there can be nothing more important on the land than humus in the soil. Humus refers to the organic matter in the soil that plays the key role in sustaining the living communities in the soil, which are so essential for healthy plant growth. However, humus is not just the concern of the individual farmer. The lack of humus on agricultural land across the planet is an issue of global proportions.

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An Introduction to Humus

An Introduction to Humus

Posted: November 12, 2013

There are various forms of carbon ranging from Coal which is a substance to carbon in a system which is Carbon in process. In Biodynamics, different chemical elements are described as different ethers. For instance, nitrogen is the energy ether, hydrogen is the tone ether, and carbon is the life ether. Plants, animals, humans – we are essentially all carbon-based! Hence the reason why carbon is the Life ether and why we are focusing on Humus the ultimate form of soil carbon. It is really the link between the chemical elements and soil life!

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Nutrients and their impact on healthy plant growth – the Biochemical Sequence

Nutrients and their impact on healthy plant growth – the Biochemical Sequence

Posted: September 19, 2013

Avondale’s holistic BioLOGIC® approach ensures that we pay attention to the full spectrum of macro- and micro-nutrients involved in healthy plant nutrition. One of the best models that we have found that encompasses this full spectrum of nutrients is the Biochemical Sequence devised by Hugh Lovel, who is one of the world’s leaders in quantum agriculture and biodynamics.

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Nutrients and their impact on healthy plant growth –  K is for Potassium

Nutrients and their impact on healthy plant growth – K is for Potassium

Posted: September 17, 2013

Potassium, with the symbol K and the atomic number 19, is the 8th and last chemical element completing the biochemical sequence required for healthy plant growth. You can read my previous articles on the fascinating interplay of boron, silicon, calcium, sulphur, nitrogen, magnesium, phosphorus and carbon, which all precede potassium in the biochemical sequence. Elemental potassium is […]

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Nutrients and their impact on healthy plant growth –  C is for Carbon

Nutrients and their impact on healthy plant growth – C is for Carbon

Posted: September 12, 2013

The element carbon, with the symbol C and atomic number 6, is the seventh chemical element in the biochemical sequence of essential plant nutrients. It is the chemical basis of all known life. Plants absorb carbon from the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide. In the presence of phosphorus the carbon is prised lose from the carbon dioxide so that it can combine with water to make sugar and release oxygen. The sugars are then taken up in the sap and cells of the plant under the direction of potassium.

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Nutrients and their impact on healthy plant growth –  P is for Phosphorus

Nutrients and their impact on healthy plant growth – P is for Phosphorus

Posted: September 10, 2013

Phosphorus, with the symbol P and atomic number 15, is the sixth chemical element in the biochemical sequence of essential plant nutrients. In the previous article in this series, I likened the role of magnesium in the biochemical sequence required for healthy plant growth to the ‘engine room’. To continue the analogy, phosphorus can be likened to the fuel of life, the energiser. Phosphorus is the energy bridge that transfers electrons between high and low energy states of calcium and silicon. It is not enough for chlorophyll to simply gather the energy of the sun – that energy has to be transferred into producing sugars out of carbon dioxide and water. That can’t happen without phosphorus.

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Nutrients and their impact on healthy plant growth –  Mg is for Magnesium

Nutrients and their impact on healthy plant growth – Mg is for Magnesium

Posted: August 15, 2013

Magnesium, with the symbol Mg and atomic number 12, is the fifth chemical element in our biochemical sequence of essential plant nutrients. As the positively charged ion (Mg⁺⁺) at the centre of chlorophyll, no plant could survive without magnesium. Photosynthesis is not possible without it. Due to its presence in chlorophyll, which converts sunlight into the plant’s energy, magnesium can be likened to an engine room. Magnesium is a highly mobile element within the plant and the soil, and is therefore easy to leach and lose. It works closely in conjunction with nitrogen, calcium and phosphorus, and being in balance with these other elements is vital to healthy plant growth.

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A Thai Fish Curry that’s a Perfect Winter Warmer

A Thai Fish Curry that’s a Perfect Winter Warmer

Posted: July 5, 2013

My recent travels in Asia have inspired an interest in cooking curries at home during these cold winter months. One of our favourites is a Thai Fish Curry with Coconut and Turmeric. It’s quick to prepare, easy to make and absolutely delicious! Find the recipe here.

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Another Extraordinary Asian City Experience – Jakarta

Another Extraordinary Asian City Experience – Jakarta

Posted: July 3, 2013

My travels in Asia last month included visiting the bustling mega-city of Jakarta, capital of Indonesia, where we attended a trade show. We enjoyed a phenomenal reception for Avondale wines in this island country of 200 million people where the wine market is still in a developing phase. Like many emerging wine markets, there is a keen focus on red wines and bubbles; as well as a refreshing attitude to wine culture and the openness to explore and experience wines without preconceptions.

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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.

Luna Tasting Calendar

  1. April 13, 2014 8:00 am
  2. April 16, 2014 11:30 am
  3. April 18, 2014 8:00 am
  4. April 20, 2014 8:00 am

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Listen To: Carrie Adams interviews Johnathan Grieve