Area conserved – 3.5ha.
When Ted and Sheelagh Jordan purchased their farm in 1982 it was a badly run-down, neglected piece of land inundated with invasive trees such as Port Jackson, Black Wattle and Pines. Soil erosion was evident from years of incorrect soil cultivation and very few indigenous plant species remained. Over the next 20 years the land was cleared of exotic trees, soil fertility was improved by planting cover crops to build up a layer of natural mulch and eroded areas were reclaimed. In total, over 60 hectares of alien vegetation was removed. Nowadays, less than10 days a year are needed for follow-up clearing of alien seedlings. Regarding themselves as ‘custodians of nature’, the Jordans’ motto of “seek perfection to attain excellence” rings true, not only in their wines, but in the way they conduct their farming activities.
Replanting of indigenous species:
Specific pockets of indigenous vegetation were retained, and the areas enlarged by replanting with indigenous bulbs and other locally found plant species. “My background in Geology and Environmental Resource Management has given us an edge in understanding how to best go about developing our vineyards,” explains Gary Jordan.
“Part of the hillside was strip-mined for tin in the early 1900’s,” adds Ted. “When we cleared some of the exotic vegetation and built one of our dams, we added all the silt to this eroded surface. This is now one of our best vineyards on the property,” he says proudly.
Rehabilitation of Dam edges:
One of the Jordans’ oldest dams dating from the tin-mining days has been cleared of all alien vegetation, and indigenous water-lilies have been encouraged, providing shelter for both aquatic species and waterfowl alike. African Fish Eagles are regularly sighted on the property, and feature prominently on the extensive Jordan Bird List. A number of antelope species, as well as Cape Fox, Genets and numerous Porcupines are found on the farm. Wild Olive trees are a useful food source for birds during the grape harvest and are protected on the farm.
Controlling soil erosion:
Extensive erosion control methods are used to curb any soil erosion, particularly around vineyards. Furrows are made prior to winter rains to lead run-off water away from roads and into contours. Cover crops are also planted between vineyard rows to allow better water penetration in the soil.
Supporting Chameleon Conservation and Research:
Over the years the Jordans’ have noticed the presence of many Chameleons in the shrubs and trees surrounding their winery. This led to them naming a range of wines “Chameleon.” Concerned for the well-being of the Cape Dwarf Chameleon, the Jordans supported a recent ground-breaking study by researchers from the South African National Biodiversity Institute, which found that Chameleons prefer to live in the shrubs and bushes surrounding a vineyard, rather than in the monoculture environment of the vineyard itself.
Force studies were also conducted, and in the unlikely event that a chameleon on vines was passed over by a machine harvester, it was found that the harvester does not generally produce enough force to remove a chameleon under normal conditions.
In June 2007 the Jordans established the Jordan Chameleon Research Bursary, whereby a percentage of every bottle of their Chameleon wine sold worldwide will be used to fund Chameleon Research in the Western Cape as well as all the costs for a PhD student in charge of the project.
Member of the Bottelary Conservancy:
Jordan Winery has been a founder member of the Bottelary Conservancy, which encourages neighbours in the Bottelary Hills area to work together to conserve the Renosterveld in their area.
Cape Honey Bee – Apis Mellifera Capensis welcomed:
Cape Honey bees are farmed on the property in a badger-friendly manner – this has inspired the name for the Jordans’ award-winning dessert wine, “Mellifera”, a Noble Late Harvest Riesling. “We are also acutely aware of the dangers of hybridisation of Apis Mellifera Capensis with other bee strains,” says Gary Jordan, “and therefore never bring in swarms from up-country.”
Owl perches encourage natural pest control:
Farmers often resort to poisons to control vineyard-destroying Nocturnal Mice. Ted Jordan decided to rather go the natural route, and put up several perches for the local Eagle Owls - this has drastically reduced the problem at Jordan Winery.