Just outside Paarl lies a piece of Paradise: Avondale Estate. A biodynamic wine farm run by owner Johnathan Grieve, it’s the closest I’ve ever come to the actual Garden of Eden.
Avondale’s certified organic wines are made according to biodynamic principles, which requires minimal intervention and adherence to the lunar calendar for maximal output, plus plant and soil health. For more about Biodynamic wines, read here: What is Biodynamic Wine?
According to the website, “At Avondale, we make extraordinary wines approved by Mother Nature. Certified organic and practicing bio-dynamic agriculture; we go beyond both these beneficial systems of natural farming by using the best 21st Century science, technology and knowledge to enhance sustainability. Our commitment to promoting life does not only lead to Mother Nature’s approval; it also ensures the premium quality of Avondale’s unique, naturally-made, slow wines. The vigour of our well-tended vines leads to excellent grapes bursting with fresh flavours that are evident in our individually-styled, classic wines, so full of life and character. Avondale is home to FABER -a contemporary farm-to-fork restaurant.”
A recent Eco Wine Safari visit, with lunch and a wine tasting, first took us on a tractor-led ‘train’ drive through the vineyards, where we got to meet the hard-working ducks that keep insects and bugs at bay from the vines. They have their own ‘duck taxi’ – a converted truck with protective mesh canopy – that transports them from field to field and it was most amusing to watch them line up patiently to take the duck walk up into the truck.
The grapes are grown without the use of chemicals, such as pesticides and herbicides, producing exceptional wines bursting with flavour and character.
For more about Avondale Wines, read here: Avondale Online Wine Shop
Afterwards Chef Dale Stevens took us for a walk through the enviably lush kitchen garden, for a tasting of fresh vegetables and a brief explanation of how seasonability influences his menus from day to day. We got to gather eggs from the Chicken Tractor, a refashioned old truck with nesting boxes inside for the chooks and a huge lawn for them to muck about in. Free-range chickens FTW!
Now you can get to experience this natural magic for yourself at the next Field to Feast Luncheon on 24 March 2019!
The Field to Feast three-course luncheons, paired with Avondale wines, are co-hosted by Avondale proprietor and entertaining raconteur, Johnathan Grieve and FABER Chef, Dale Stevens.
Each event is a unique experience of the Avondale Estate with a journey through the vineyards and food garden where guests are regaled with the stories of how the food is produced and the wines are made in harmony with Nature.
Seats for each ‘Field to Feast’ are limited, and advance reservations are highly recommended.
Luncheons are held between 11am and 3pm and cost R650 per person, including the guided farm tour, three-course lunch with three glasses of wine. *Water, coffees and any other extras not included.
The kitchen is able to accommodate food allergies and dietary requirements, from vegans and vegetarians to gluten or lactose intolerant, but always appreciates it if dietary exclusions or special requests are made known at the time of booking if possible.
A deposit of R100 per person is required to secure the booking. A discretionary 10% gratuity will be added to your final bill.
Sample Menu (according to availability from the garden)
Sourdough, butter, fynbos honey, jalapeno and mint cream cheese, pumpkin fritters.
Salt- and sugar-cured Saldanha trout, beetroot and fennel.
Fried Avondale hen’s egg, creamed leek and Black Forest ham.
Gorgonzola dressed lettuce, apple, kohlrabi and crispy onions.
Avondale Cyclus 2016
Confit and seared duck, wilted greens, apple and rhubarb.
Buttered Nicola and red potatoes, parsley and parmesan.
Roasted carrots and crème fraiche.
Avondale Samsara 2009
Baked polenta, white chocolate and granadilla.
Avondale Blanc de Noir 2007
Bookings can be made through FABER’s online booking system, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 021 202 1219.