“Why do I surf, why do I make wine?” Johan Reyneke says, laughing to himself. “I don’t know. It just happened. It’s just meant to be.” His vineyard, Reyneke Organic Wines, located in the South African wine mecca of Stellenbosch, uses biodynamic techniques that go back to the roots of winemaking. He cultivates companion plants instead of spraying pesticides. Instead of fertilizer he shovels manure from his cows. Rather than trashing paper from his printer, he shreds and feeds it to his earthworm farm before it goes back in the soil. And he shepherds elderly vines into their golden years, long after they’re economically viable.
In this short film by The Perennial Plate, Reyneke surfs in False Bay and explains the way he makes wine. They’re two disciplines that may seem quite different but are actually quite similar through the lens of his life’s philosophy. Respect the waves, respect the land, add love and you’re basically done. “The key is to tread lightly, and the best way to tread lightly is to respect the inherent value of things”, he says. “Anyway, let’s drink some more wine.”