Every bottle of Flagstone wine is a journey with many twists and turns. It can never be hurried and there are no short cuts.
Step by step our fanatical dedication guides us to our journey’s end: the rewarding taste of delicious, distinctive wines. It’s a painstaking approach that has won us more than a few awards. And, more importantly, a legion of wine lovers who savour the unhurried quality of Flagstone.
Flagstone is a winemaker-driven wine business, rather than a marketing-led business. This means we first do what is right for the grapes and the wine and only then worry about how to sell the gorgeous stuff. More than most, we are totally committed to making honest, real wine that is an authentic reflection of its provenance, even if this means taking the hard path. We believe that this is the only sustainable, honourable way. Take time to discover our wines – Trust your taste.
"Wine should do a small, simple thing – it should add joy to life."
— Bruce Jack
Every bottle of Flagstone wine is handcrafted, and so too is the label. Each product has its own unique story, with evocative tales ranging from myths of flying dragons to an allegory of a wild card – the dark horse. Wine is the marriage of nature and human imagination. Mother Nature provides the grapes but it is flashes of inspiration and creativity that transforms them into fabulous, captivating wines.
Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working
Our core supplying vineyards under management stretch from the southern most wine growing area in South Africa, Elim, to one of the most easterly vineyard sites high in the Swartberg Mountains to the Breede River valley north of Cape Town.
We have been sourcing grapes from our five core vineyards since 2003. Viticultural strategies are specifically tailored to individual varieties and vineyard parameters. The natural environment in which the vines grow and bear fruit play a huge role in the style and quality of the resultant wine and we go to great lengths to study and know everything we can about that environment. This includes careful soil analysis, and an on-going study of climate parameters.
As a company we are totally committed to our world-leading “Integrated Production of Wine” (IPW) scheme and our “Biodiversity in Wine Initiative” (BWI).
Since the Second World War global agriculture has without malicious intent embarked on a self-destructive path of unbalanced chemical fertilisation. It’s a long, tortuous story that continues to leave farmers underpaid and undervalued. This trajectory has led to unhealthy, unbalanced soil that cannot fully hope to support the plants and crops swaying in the wind above it. These plants are disadvantaged by the imbalance and cannot protect themselves. Their disease status in turn demands chemical herbicides and insecticides.
The result is a spiral of unnatural imbalance which not only results in pollutants but far more importantly produces plants with radically reduced nutrient potential. Some recent agronomist reports suggest that in comparison with our grandparents we are getting only about 30% of the nutrient value from our the food.
It is not surprising that WHO (the World Health Organisation) recently released a massive report that couldn’t find any disease (1st World or Developing World) that wasn’t linked to nutrition.
In first world cities there are massive opportunities to affect change. These include educating ourselves about the nutritional value and healthiness of everything we eat and drink. Farmers have fewer but more far-reaching opportunities to affect change. We all have to start farming in a sustainable way. This will mean different things for different farmers.
Biodiversity is about the diversity of all life forms on our planet. Unsurprisingly they are getting fewer at an alarming rate. Quite by chance South African winegrowers happen to live in one of the richest, most biodiverse places on earth. Our floral biodiversity alone is mind-boggling. Within the compact Cape floral kingdom, which is where we farm, there are more plant species than the entire northern hemisphere.
And so the responsible grape-growers and winemakers in South Africa have welcomed the opportunity to work closely with environmentalists to focus on protecting our unique environment. We are committed to farming as sustainably as possible; farming with respect to our land, our people and our heritage. This is the basis of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative.
We hope to expand this philosophy and to use existing structures and industry schemes to regulate sustainable wine-farming from government level downwards. Most South African wine-farmers (over 90%) and winemakers are already participating in the two main self-regulating industry structures (IPW and BWI) that will hopefully set the tone in the next three years for the most sustainable, eco-friendly viticulture in the world. The first step on this hard road is our industry’s enthusiastic commitment to the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative.
We are committed to this vision and believe that this is the right way to go. Unfortunately it isn’t going to be easy, which is obviously why it hasn’t been attempted elsewhere. Luckily for us in South Africa we have a unique set of circumstances that is ensuring we make this dream a reality. Primarily we are used to the hard road and since our dramatic miracle of democracy; we know what’s possible if we stand together.
From a practical winemaker’s perspective we all recognise instantly that the same factors that have created this extraordinary biodiversity of flora also influence wine style and quality. The staggering diversity of soil types and soil ages, combined with radically differing climates over short distances mean we have a treasure trove of grape-growing and winemaking opportunities.
At Flagstone we call this aspect of our natural biodiversity: “Home Ground Advantage”. It means we can make more complex wines at every price point; a wonderful advantage in this tough, competitive world of wine. In fact, it’s almost impossible not to make interesting wine in the oldest, most diverse viticultural soil in the world.