Jon and Ingrid Tonkin had been coming to Plettenberg Bay on holiday for over 30 years. So when they decided to relocate from Johannesburg it was inevitable they would choose Plett as their new permanent home.
They brought with them a desire to pursue new challenges and explore opportunities that fell outside their comfort level, one honed by years of city life. It provided an opportunity to pursue an old dream of having a wine farm. In anticipation of their move, they began to look for a suitable farm property. Ingrid and Jon were attracted to the Redford area of the Crags for a number of reasons.
The area was already home to some of the best vineyards in the newly established Plettenberg Bay wine of origin district. It also has similar geographic and climatic characteristics to those of the famed Marlborough area of New Zealand, known in particular for its sauvignon blanc, pinot noir and sparkling wine. Above all it is an area of considerable natural beauty.
Close to the ocean
Ingrid and Jon found a beautiful, fynbos-covered property nestling in the foothills of the Tsitsikama Mountains at an elevation of 250 metres, close enough to the Indian Ocean to feel the cooling influence of its sea breezes. An added attraction was that steps had been taken to establish a small vineyard on the property with three varieties, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and pinot noir, although it had been abandoned and, with the rest of the farm, had been sorely neglected.
Despite this, it was perfect. They bought the farm and named it Lodestone. They chose this name because it conveyed the wonderful feeling that the farm exuded and extraordinary sense of attraction that drew them to it. From the day they arrived in mid-June 2012, Ingrid and Jon have put their hearts and souls into turning Lodestone into something special. That work is by no means complete but enough has been done and achieved since then to suggest that the vision is becoming a reality.
A further vineyard has been established which includes more sauvignon blanc as well as semillon and Rhone-style pinot noir suitable for still wine rather than just bubbly. An olive orchard was planted, using in the main olive trees transplanted and relocated from Elgin. In all, 6 varieties of olives have been planted, all of which are suitable for olive oil production. An olive press was acquired and 2016 has seen the first production of olive oil at Lodestone and in fact in the Plett region.
Alongside the new vineyard are plantings of honeybush tea and king proteas, all within a natural fynbos environment.
We are committed to preserving the fynbos environment we have inherited. All of our activities at Lodestone are undertaken in furtherance of that commitment.
Harvests and Product Range
Lodestone bottled its first harvests of sauvignon blanc and chardonnay in 2014. These wines were vinified by local cellar master Anton Smal. Following Lodestone’s second harvest in 2015 the product range was expanded to include a Methode Cap Classique bubbly and a dry rosé.
The range has been further expanded in 2016 to include a white Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
2017 will see the first production of a barrel-fermented Pinot Noir, using grapes of a different clone to those used for our MCC. This will then complete Lodestone’s range of wines.