Farmer of the Month: Trevor Strydom

Farmer of the Month Trevor Strydom

Trevor StrydomOur Farmer of the Month is Trevor Strydom of Audacia Wines. Audacia is a 23-hectare wine farm situated between Stellenbosch and Somerset West in South Africa’s prime vine growing and winemaking region – Stellenbosch. It is part of the country’s oldest and most established wine routes.

Trevor explains, “The farm lies in the gently sloping Bonte River Valley and is part of the renowned ‘Golden Triangle’, a unique patch of land at the foot of the Helderberg Mountain. This area is acclaimed for producing some of South Africa’s best red wines, particularly Shiraz. It is for this reason – and the fact that our vineyards are exclusively planted to red grape varieties – that we are known as ‘The Red Wine Boutique Winery’.”

In 1930 the heir to Neethlingshof, Kosie Louw, could no longer bear to wait for his father’s blessing for his impending marriage – so he spurned his inheritance and left the historic family farm. Instead Kosie bought himself and his young bride a small piece of the Annandale farm situated in the Bonte River Valley in Stellenbosch. Both his English wife and friends thought his actions so bold and audacious they called the new farm ‘Audacia’ in recognition of Kosie’s actions. Audacia remained in the Louw family until 1996 when it was bought by Trevor Strydom. When he bought the farm, he replanted all the vineyards, restored the old cellar, and built a new cellar.

“I did not study anything to do with farming, I came out of the financial services industry, bought the farm with no clear understanding of farming, so I have had to learn the hard way when it comes to farming. I always wanted to live in the Cape, so when the opportunity arose to buy the farm in 1996, I jumped at it and bought it without any insight into what it would entail to be involved in owning a wine farm and producing one’s own wine”, states Trevor.

The challenge

Trevor challenged himself to an extensive search to find a local alternative to imported oak and other wood derivatives (chips, staves, powders) and a massive range of imported tannins usually used in the winemaking process. After many months, the search was concluded when Trevor’s daughter, Sarah–Jane offered him a cup of invigorating Rooibos tea after a hard day in the cellar. This was Trevor’s “eureka” moment starting an ongoing journey of experimentation using both Rooibos and Honeybush plant wood initially and later tannins which turned a dream into reality.

In 2014 Audacia launched the world’s first ever – Rooibos naturally preserved ‘No Sulphur Added’ red wine created by using indigenous Rooibos and Honeybush toasted wood chips. The wine, a merlot from the 2013 harvest, became the first of an exciting range of no sulphur added wines to be produced using Rooibos and Honeybush vinification tannin antioxidants, enabling wine to be preserved naturally without the need to add sulphur as a chemical preservative. This breakthrough culminated in the formation of Red Dawn (IP) Holdings ( a South African company of which Audacia is the founding shareholder. They own a global patent for being able to Preserve, Protect and Enhance wines naturally without the need to add sulphur by using its tannins in a patented process, the use of which it promotes and shares openly with all wine produces in all countries around the globe Red Dawn tannis are distributed by Enartis ( 021-8701181.

No Sulphur added wines

For any global wine producer to claim ‘No Sulphur Added’ on a wine label the total Sulphur content of the wine must be below 10mg/L. All wines containing Sulphur levels greater than 10mg/L must have a health warning ‘CONTAINS SULPHITES’ label on them, making consumers aware that Sulphur is present in the wine.The full article is for subscribed members only. To view the full article please subscribe. It’s FREE!Log In Register


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