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n Farmer’s Weekly - The essence of organic brandy production : business

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Abstract

In 1990, Edmund Oettle bought a farm just outside Wellington in the Western Cape. Describing the land as an "unsustainable, ecological desert", Edmund decided to move away from traditional farming methods in 1992, and adopted an organic farming approach. "I was looking for a farming method that I believed would be sustainable, and I wanted to leave the farm in a better state than when I arrived," he says. At the time, organic farming was a little-known concept. "People said we'd go bankrupt," Edmund explains. "But we didn't. Now there isn't a square inch of soil without something growing on it. [Since adopting organic farming methods], the change in the soil has been dramatic. It's soft and alive and you can dig in it with your hands. We don't need to add fertiliser because we grow fertiliser in the form of legumes grown as cover crops in the winter when the grapes are dormant. That gives us the nitrogen we need in the soil, so our overall input costs are greatly reduced." Certified organic in 2000, Upland Organic Estate produces red wine, port, grappa and brandy, as well as organic nuts, olives, fruit and buchu. It also has a pine and eucalyptus woodlot.

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/content/farmweek/2016/16028/EJC191712
2016-07-01
2016-12-08
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