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Iona, South Africa

At 420m above sea-level, set high above the picturesque Elgin Valley Andrew Gunn founded Iona. It is here overlooking the Atlantic ocean that he has secured some of the coolest vineyards in the Cape.

In a country where cool climate vineyards are like gold dust, these vineyards are veritable nuggets. There is an extremely long growing season, allowing Andrew to create wines with complex flavours and a fresh, elegant style. The approach is hands off and the land is farmed according to organic and biodynamic practices with a particular focus on ensuring the health of the soils whilst pests are kept under control by the resident flock of geese that roam the vineyards.

Viticulture

The vineyards are on a mountain plateau, surrounded by the Kogelberg Nature Reserve, and overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. In a country where cool sites are precious, these vineyards are like gold dust — the grapes ripening up to two months later than other Cape vineyards and in perfect balance. Iona is South Africa's coolest vineyard site. The vineyards are farmed according to organic and biodynamic practices with a particular focus on ensuring the health of the soils. Natural pest management is provided by the flock of geese that roam the vineyards.

Winemaking

Given the lengths that the Gunn's go through to produce complex, ripe, perfectly healthy grapes, it is unsurprising that the approach in the winery is orientated towards letting those grapes shine. Most ferments are allowed to start naturally and with the exception of the chardonnay (which is in barrel) the wines are made in temperature controlled stainless steel.

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Not certified but practice organic and biodynamic principles – have geese and other birds on the farm for pest control and a favourable cool climate with limited rainfall eliminates the need for regul
  • Regenerated the land from a run down apple farm and planted vineyards.
  • Support 20 farms and all of the workers have shares in Iona so that everyone has shared ownership and responsibility taking a stand against South Africa’s social history.