We chat with a cellar each month about their business, what makes them lie awake at night and what gives them hope. “Surround yourself with good people, keep learning and don’t give up. The future is bright!” says Johan Reyneke, owner of Reyneke Wines.
1. Tell us more about Reyneke Wines?
Reyneke Wines is located on the old Polkadraai road near Stellenbosch. The farm’s history dates back as far as 1863, but the Reynekes have only had the privilege of calling it our home since 1988.
We farm 80 ha of the total 120 ha as wine grapes. We also farm with cattle, will soon be growing organic vegetables and we rent out cottages to people like us, who love the rural lifestyle.
Our wines, which include the Reserve, Biodynamic and Organic ranges, are all vegan-friendly and biodynamic or organically certified. The majority of our wines are exported (80%) compared to local sales. Consumers who appreciate our wines prefer top quality wines made in a way that respects nature. Profit is therefore not our main goal, but to find a balance between money, people and nature.
We employ 15 people permanently and provide seasonal work at times throughout the year. The plan is to employ more people permanently as our business grows and providing them with employment all year round.
2. How have you experienced the 2022 harvest season thus far?
The 2022 season was generally good and we expect a great harvest of great quality. The phenolic ripeness was beautiful, with low sugar levels and high natural acidity.
3. You are renowned for organic wine grape cultivation. Tell us more about this.
We are well aware that agriculture is one of the top five scapegoats that are currently contributing to global warming. Fortunately, this also means that agriculture can make a significant and positive difference if producers apply regenerative agricultural practices in a sustainable manner. Consumers worldwide and locally support our view of working with nature to ensure healthy ecosystems and sustainable production for future generations, and we are very grateful for that.
4. Any exciting plans under way?
We are currently working on ŉ 10-year plan with which we strive to significantly improve our wine quality and farming activities. This is managed by a multidisciplinary team that looks at diverse variables that interact with each other on a farm, including the carbon footprint, soil microbes and humus levels, insects and birds, endangered renosterveld, employee health, education and empowerment, the supply chain, distribution networks and much more.
5. What is your message to other wine-related businesses?
The Latin proverb says: “Nil magnum, nisi bonum – there can be no greatness without goodness”. Surround yourself with good people, keep learning and don’t give up. The future is bright!