A farm is complex natural system – and the only way to understand it is to spend years getting your hands dirty. Wedderwill’s vineyard management methods echo the philosophy of maintaining biodiversity. Innovations include:
Originating from the anthroposophy of Rudolf Steiner, biodynamics takes a holistic approach to viticulture. It’s regarded by some as the first modern ecological farming system (and one of the most sustainable), and has much in common with other organic philosophies. Biodynamics emphasises the use of manures and composts, for example, and discourages artificial chemical programmes. But the biodynamic model also considers the farm itself as a single, self-sustaining organism. An injury to one part is an injury to all!
Wedderwill’s unique methods here include the use of fermented herbal and mineral preparations as compost additives. This is a groundbreaking concept, using the farm’s own resources – beefwood, vine and cane shoots, nettles, dandelion and other plants – to create an anti-fungal mix. It’s the first real alternative to the standard Bordeaux copper and sulphur solution, and is being studied by the University of Stellenbosch.
The estate also follows an astronomical calendar, taking its planting and harvesting cues from the heavens.
To date, international research comparing biodynamics to other organic methods shows that biodynamics yields better crop results. There is also greater potential here for a truly sustainable farm.