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.

Chickens rule the roost at Avondale

Chickens rule the roost at Avondale

Posted: May 26, 2016

As part of our commitment to the Circle of Life, we have recently introduced chickens to Avondale. We have a mix of Rhode Island Reds, Leghorns and Koekoeks, plus 5 Buff Orpingtons – these are all multipurpose chickens being good layers and scavengers who enjoy a wide variety in their diets so in essence great free range breeds.

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What and why Biodynamic Preparation BD508?

What and why Biodynamic Preparation BD508?

Posted: March 26, 2016

BD508 is a biodynamic preparation also known as Horsetail (Equisetum Arvense) Preparation. It is a ferment or ‘tea’ style preparation that can be applied direct to the soil, plant or atmosphere. Its purpose is to regulate the watery element brought on by too strong or too weak moon forces.

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Drought and the importance of humus creation

Drought and the importance of humus creation

Posted: February 24, 2016

South Africa is suffering from a drought and many farmers are experiencing crop failure, or decreased harvests. Never has the condition of our soil health been more important.

Ensuring that the soil is balanced and can provide all the nutrients required for healthy plant and micro life has always been a key factor in biodynamic agriculture.

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What and Why Biodynamic Preparation BD507

What and Why Biodynamic Preparation BD507

Posted: January 24, 2016

DB507 is a compost preparation made from Valerian (Valeriana Officinalis), a perennial herbaceous plant with triangular or prism-like leaves which have a very distinct vein structure. The triangular shape of the leaves indicates its relationship with light and light forces. Valerian is also associated with warmth and is linked to the planet Saturn.

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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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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. July 24 @ 8:00 am
  2. July 26 @ 4:30 pm
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Listen To: Classic Wine with Johnathan Grieve