Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink! How green is our valley! How ripe our vines! Treat them mean to keep them keen!
Our vision started early in the 2000’s when Babylon Farm was purchased and careful progress has seen this farm transformed into a vineyard farm to rival the best. Situated in the folded mountains above Hermanus, in the well-known wine district of Walker Bay, the La Vierge vineyards have been planted on the varied shale slopes of the Bokkeveld series. These deep and medium fertile clay-based soils have allowed us the perfect palette to create our vinous masterpieces.
Throughout the ages man has seen the greatest success with vineyards planted to soils that will feed the vines with just enough nutrients and water. This is where we’ve taken things a step further and manipulated the current popular norm one more twist or should I say avoided the manipulation. We’ve decided to allow our vines to be planted and to grow and ripen grapes each year without the installation or addition of irrigation. In the beginning, in mid winter, at planting stage, our vines’ thirsts are quenched by plentiful winter rains and so on from year to year. Our clay soils act as deep reservoirs that are brim filled in winter which then slowly release their moisture throughout the cool summer growing season, to feed the vines.
The benefits of this practice are that the vine sends down deeper and larger root systems from the very first stages in order to better feed and adapt itself to the rigours of growing up and later perfectly ripening the precious bunches of grapes. Deeper roots translate into the roots searching for nutrients deeper down in the soil profile. This in turn sees the vine better able to withstand difficult growing seasons where conditions may be less than perfect and, as such represent a truer reflection of site and terroir. It’s almost like taking out an insurance policy from the very first day. The vine is forced from a young age to set itself up to ‘weather’ the years with less than ideal weather conditions!
Furthermore, our vines are planted more closely together which increases competition and decreases the size of the vines and crops. These smaller crops allow greater concentration of flavour, texture and complexity in the wines. We’re learning to work more carefully with our soil and develop improved cover crop management techniques in order to better protect the valuable home in which our vines gather the vital ingredients to ripen the precious bunches of wine.