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About Rozendal Vinegar
Rozendal Farm nestles snugly on the threshold of the Jonkershoek Valley, close to the town of Stellenbosch. A working farm for over 150 years, today Rozendal is managed according to biodynamic principles, thus ensuring fertile soils, clean water and a healthy spirit. The farm comprises 6 ha of old vines, 4 ha of pastures, 2 ha of gardens and living space and 13 ha of forest and fynbos.
Rozendal was purchased by the Ammann family in 1981. In 1991, a small country inn, Auberge Rozendal, was established by Lyne and Kurt Ammann. After many years in the hospitality industry, they have combined their love for good wholesome food and fine wine. Their auberge has an exceptional reputation for offering superb lodging and dining. Auberge Rozendal.
But Rozendal’s fame stretches beyond a welcoming place to stay, for Rozendal is home to a range of botanical vinegars that tickle the palate and nourish body and soul. The range of Rozendal Vinegars includes those infused with Fynbos, Green Tea, Lavender and Hibiscus.
“Sour makes happy” (German expression) – By Kurt Ammann
In 1995, Rolf Saxer visited me on our small family wine farm, Rozendal, in Stellenbosch, South Africa. We had started farming organically in 1994 and he was looking for red wine made without sulphur. He described the healing potential of certain vinegars, explaining the intricacies of producing such elixirs – a process taking two to three years, after which various herbs are individually macerated in the vinegar, in separate barrels, for another two to five years. With the 1988 vintage (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc) still in the barrels, we ventured into vinegar production – naturally made to enhance health and food.
We started farming biodynamically in 2001 and I began drinking our vinegar several times per day. I measured my pH (the balance between alkalinity and acidity) up to 10 times daily to ascertain how different emotional, mental and physical states, together with the raw vinegar, affected my body. I learned that naturally-made raw vinegar is an excellent pH balancer and that the macerated herb ingredients are better utilized by the body.
When stressed by exercise, injury or emotional pressure, the body produces more acid. This is illustrated by damage appearing after a burn or muscular stiffness following excessive exercise (a build-up of lactic acid). However, if pH levels are maintained, the body suffers no additional damage beyond the initial injury. Drinking raw vinegar during/immediately after stress helps maintain the body’s optimum pH level, neutralizing harmful acidic build-up. When my wife broke three ribs, I gave her a large shot of this vinegar immediately. Healing was accelerated by four-to-six weeks and after a fortnight, she had no pain in the affected area. A body not under stress produces fewer acids (the blood should measure between 7.3 and 7.45 pH when pH is balanced). I have been in the food and wine industry since 1957 and have noticed that circumstances affect the taste experience. Under positive circumstances, where people feel rested/happy (for example, on holiday), their pH is balanced. They may enjoy a particular wine, buy a bottle and store it. Later, when daily stresses exacerbate, the ‘delicious’ wine is sampled and they wonder who changed it! Their bodies’ pH has changed because of accumulated acids which now oppose the acid in the wine and alter the taste.
Naturally-made raw vinegar assists in neutralizing excessive acid, never producing it. I was once told “Sour makes happy” – when negative emotions, such as anger, produce acid, one should drink a naturally-made vinegar/lemon juice immediately to restore the body’s pH balance. Read up on pH and the best ways to optimize health. At Rozendal, we make different blends of vinegar using our farm ingredients: wine, chillies, elderflower, carob, lavender, wild rosemary, rose geranium, wild olive, bay leaf (the kelp, green tea, rose hip, hibiscus, honey bush tea, buchu are obtained elsewhere). We served Rozendal vinegar to our restaurant customers for years, then started bottling and selling it. Rozendal Red Wine Vinegar tastes good, drinks beautifully and definitely makes people happy.
The word “vinegar” is derived from the French vinaigre meaning “sour wine”.
RED WINE VINEGAR INFUSED WITH HERBS
• Our wines are made biologically, with as little human intervention as possible.
• We do not filter the wine and maturation takes place over two years, in oak barrels.
• The fermentation process occurs in large French Oak vats, a process during which no sulphur is added.
We prefer to work with the natural acidity of the grape to create a wine able to mature as opposed to merely ageing. The wine is kept at 18°C for the first year, then at 15°C during the second year. Our wines are low in alcohol (12%/vol.) and have a good acidity and freshness. Although we make only one wine, each year’s product is unique, with each vintage reflecting its individuality.
Without human intervention, all wines tend towards becoming vinegar. Indeed, it is only through our efforts – keeping barrels absolutely full and thus free of oxygen and by adding the preservative sulphur – that this natural progression is held at bay. After years of making beautiful wines, we were curious to see what the results would be if we allowed natural vinegar fermentation to take place. As food enthusiasts and firm believers that all good things take time, we decided to embrace the traditional way of making fine vinegars.
A t Rozendal, the traditional French Orleans method of vinegar making is utilized. Fermentation takes place in small oak barrels and the resulting product is matured, using a solera system, for 12 years. A balsamic-style vinegar, unique in many ways, is yielded, infused with herbs and blended with grape must. With single herb vinegars, the specific herb is macerated in the vinegar and the result blended according to our personal recipes to give you our range of vinegars – Green Tea, Fynbos, Lavender and Hibiscus.
Small batches are bottled using a gentle gravity-flow system. Natural cork closures allow the vinegar to breathe, evolve and mature further while in the bottle.
Recipe by Rozendal Vinegar