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Biodynamic Trial with Pillars Vineyard

In a move designed to explore the full potential of the award winning Pillars Vineyard, Stellenbosch based estate, Haskell Vineyards, has instigated an experimental trial pitting organic and bio-dynamic viticulture against each other.


Following the theme of minimal intervention wine farming that has been a signature of the estate since its inception in 2005, 50% of the Pillars Vineyard will be dedicated to an organic regimen, whilst the other 50% will be farmed biodynamically in accordance with the principles set out by the practice’s founder, Rudolf Steiner.


“It is an idea that we’ve been tossing around for some time,” said Haskell partner and CEO, Grant Dodd.


“We’ve been moving closer to an organic approach every year; all our winery and vineyard waste is composted and returned to the vineyards, and our natural predator program to control insect issues has been an effective way for us to minimise chemical influences whilst still being able to maintain the high standards we demand regarding grape and wine quality.”


“The Pillars Vineyard is the ideal site for a trial like this. Small ( 0.85 hectares), and isolated from the rest of the vineyards on the estate, it offers the opportunity to micro-manage the project and to analyse the effects of the differing approaches at close quarters. Most of all, we want to determine if there is a corresponding increase in quality as a result of going down this path, and our findings in this respect will play a significant role in dictating our methodology for the rest of the estate in the future.”


The trial, monitored by Haskell Vineyards GM , Wikus Pretorius, will see the eastern rows managed organically and the western rows bio-dynamically. A quarterly report will be produced regarding the progressions and observations with respect to vine health.


In July this year the 2010 vintage Haskell Syrah Vineyard Series (SVS) range of wines were released.  The Syrah Vineyard Series is comprised of the Haskell Pillars Syrah 2010 and Haskell Aeon Syrah 2010, two distinctly individual interpretations of the Syrah (Shiraz) grape, made in miniscule quantities.

Only 3 000 bottles of each of these wines were made. The Haskell Aeon 2010 sells for R290 per bottle, while the Pillars 2010 sells for R400 per bottle.


Prospective buyers should contact Haskell Vineyards on (021) 881 3895 for more information on purchasing or with regard to membership of the Haskell Platinum wine club.


The first two releases from the Pillars Vineyard have both been awarded 5 Stars in the John Platter Guide, South Africa’s most influential wine publication. In addition, the inaugural Haskell Pillars Syrah 2007 became the first South African wine in sixteen years to win the prestigious Tri-Nations Trophy, an annual competition pitting the best wines of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa against each other.