One of our core beliefs is that wine is an encapsulation of what nature does best. To this extent the less we interfere the better. We want the principles of sustainable and organic agriculture to play a significant role in our vineyards. We employ variations of biodynamic agriculture. We do feel that it is wise to use an element of pragmatism with this approach in order to provide consistency.

To provide a few examples, methods practised include:

  • releasing predator bugs such as wasps and ladybirds into the vineyard to do pest control
  • hay bales along the plant row to control weeds and reduce the use of sprays
  • "fertigation"- using natural inputs such as seaweed compounds added with irrigation to provide nutrients

Soil health is something of utmost importance, and therefore steps are taken to ensure the development of a healthy soil microbial population. Mechanisation is limited and much work is done by hand including pruning, leaf removal, weeding and harvesting. Vineyards can survive and flourish for decades and even centuries, with the correct approach and care we believe ours will also.

Soventix South Africa supplied and installed a ground-mounted solar plant at Oldenburg Vineyards in 2013. The installation comprised SMA Inverters (3x SMA STP 17 000L-10), Soventix Modules (190 x 235 Watt Project Pro P Series) and Schletter Mountings (FS Uno Mounting System), and measures 44,65kWp in output capability.

The plant, which took a week to install, was built to reduce our reliance on utility power as well as reduce power costs on the farm. Solar energy provides an important contribution to electricity supply. This contribution will continue to increase rapidly in the coming years, both at home and globally.

The project at a glance

Model: Ground-mounted solar plant
Size: 44,65kWp
Modules: Soventix 235W
Inverters: SMA STP 17000TL
Completed: May 2013
Electricity generation: 71,837kWp pa
CO2 savings: 71 tons pa
Lifetime benefits: R4,2 million

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Certifications: WIETA IPW