Ancient Trees: Flagstone’s Treaty Tree
Ancient trees are important, living connections to our past. They have been neglected, loved, ignored, pampered, forgotten or worshipped. These trees have survived trauma, disease and the elements. Like our elders, they have a story to tell and the more the tree has witnessed, the grander its story.
Cape Town has such a tree; a gnarled Milkwood that reaches some 500 years back into our history. This is Treaty Tree, a historical monument in the suburb of Woodstock, that leans out over the corner of Treaty and Spring streets.
It has seen massacres, slavery, hangings, treaty signing and once used to peer out over the Woodstock beachfront. Besides famous and infamous events, Treaty Tree has watched everyday life over several centuries. It has stood through shifting climates and all manner of weather. Its shape is an impression of its long relationship with the Cape Doctor.
Treaty Tree’s dendrology will one day offer us snapshots of time, where each year is etched into the tree’s rings. South Africa’s 350-year-old winemaking history speaks to these moments, contained in vintages and accessed as a living memory years later.
It is through this impression that our Treaty Tree red and white blends are named. The berries that go into these wines weather elements longer than most of our grapes. We flirt with disaster and trust that the extra time on the vine will compose a wine worth pausing to enjoy, to engage the moment and to reflect on the climatic journey from seed to cellar.