Ladybird Vineyards is located in the famous red wine producing area of Simonsberg – Stellenbosch. It is well known for producing ‘’The Ladybird’’, the first organic red wine from the Simonsberg ward in Stellenbosch made from organically grown grapes, and certified by Ecocert, the global leader in verification testing and certification services. This wine is a unique individual expression of organically grown from and the art of our winemakers, expressing the fruit and intensity of varietal character at its best.
We are committed to producing wines of outstanding quality, that best reflect the unique terroir and the microclimate of the Simonsberg, one of South Africa’s prime wine-growing areas for noble red cultivars.
Deep red clay soils anchor the vines at Ladybird Vineyards, in a firm and sustaining embrace. No irrigation needed in the 36 ha of vineyards that is planted on the North-East facing slopes of the Simonsberg that offer an excellent angle for sun exposure, the key to photosynthetic efficiency and flavour development.
Since 1994 we replanted the entire vineyard. Through meticulous pruning we limit each vine to an average of 16 buds versus the typical 36 buds per vine. In our vineyards, very little has been left to chance – aside from the weather.
To grow organic grapes without herbicides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers was a challenge, but with the correct farming and pest management systems in place, we are able to produce great quality grapes for premium wine production.
Organic vineyard management is based on the following farming fundamentals: building organic matter in the soil with cover crops, controlling weeds by physical means, encouraging natural airflow around the fruit, and welcoming the natural enemies of vineyard pests by seeding fennel and yarrow around the vineyards as an inviting breeding ground for them.
We have named this property Ladybird Vineyards because ladybirds are the natural enemies of the mealybug, one of the biggest pest problems threatening vineyards in South Africa.
The mealybug is a vector for spreading leafroll virus, and they also excrete honeydew which can lead to the growth of a sooty mould on the trunk of the vine. Native ants also cohabit the vineyards, and these ants protect the mealybugs from predators.
So, it is often necessary to also use other biological methods in conjunction with the natural predators such as Ladybirds to manage the problem.
Our Ladybirds are specifically bread for us by a local insectarian, our vineyard team then release the Ladybirds into the vineyards by hand each season.