Just one year ago wine farmers, lawyers, conservationists, consumers and the media all united to successfully thwart a proposal to prospect and mine in the Stellenbosch winelands. Wine producers affected by the proposal include Zevenwacht, Saxenburg, De Grendel, Mooiplaas, Jordan and De Morgenzon. The public face and lynchpin of the movement was Gary Jordan, uniquely qualified to speak out as both a wine farmer and trained geologist.
This week, Gary and Kathy Jordan hosted a lunch to mark one year since the various parties’ combined efforts succeeded – as well as to launch two new Jordan wines. The Jordans admitted they couldn’t let the opportunity to keep the threat at the forefront of people’s minds go by – and have named one of the two wines the Prospector Syrah.
The Shiraz vineyard which supplied the fruit for this wine is located at the brow of the Bottelary hills on Jordan, adjacent to Zevenwacht and smack dab in the middle of the prospecting area. The Jordans and their neighbours were well aware of the old mines in that spot. Not only does Zevenwacht have mining equipment and shafts on their farm – as well as a range of wines called The Tin Mine – but this particular shiraz vineyard slipped slightly a few years ago. “It was because of what was happening to the underground mining shafts,” the Jordans said, joking about the earth moving for them!
“As a former geologist, I understand the need for prospecting and mining, however in this case The Prospector Syrah will provide far more value, pleasure and enjoyment than a real prospector would have done,” Gary Jordan said this week.
They both believe that the underlying minerals (tin, copper, silver, zinc and manganese were among those on the African Exploration and Mining Finance Corporation’s wish list) contributed to the richness of this wine.
The campaign, which was mobilised using social media, garnered both thousands of followers and vital attention within a matter of days and the public outcry forced the cessation of the proposal. Conservationists and lawyers said it was not often that efforts such as this succeeded and it has been adopted as a model in other contested areas.