Wingerd stompies are a South African favourite when it comes to choosing braai wood as well as fuel for indoor fireplace. The country’s wine production ranks 8th in the world for overall volume production and is thus abundant in vineyards and vinewood.
South Africa’s vineyards
The Western Cape is South Africa’s largest wine producer with hundreds of wine farms and independent cellars. The varying backdrops the province has to offer makes it a top destination to visit for South Africans and global visitors alike. While some of these farms supply us with our wingerd stompies, they are, of course, well worth a stop for a glass of wine too! Since we are all about firewood, we’ve selected a few spots across the Western Cape that offer cosy fireplaces for that crackling glow to enjoy with your wine or meal:
1. La Motte Wine Farm
Nestled in the Franschhoek Valley, La Motte is a beautiful venue that offers wine tasting, quality meals in their restaurant, hiking trails, a museum, and even classical music performances. A feature fireplace keeps things toasty for winter tastings and makes for an ideal day out.
2. Vergelegen Wine Estate
The name, ‘Vergelegen’ means ‘situated far away’. The farm is located in Somerset West and promises to transport you to another world with their rolling gardens, historical landmarks, and award-winning wines. The food offered at Vergelegen is presented in unique forms, with options of a French-style experience, family dining at the stables, or a picnic in their magical camphor forest.
3. Durbanville Hills
Durbanville is one of the oldest wine making areas in the Western Cape with the first recordings of winemaking dating back to the late 17th century. While Durbanville Hills wine farm among its younger cellars (having been established in the late 1990s) it builds on a rich history of top quality grapes and experienced wine farmers. It is no surprise that the estate has produced gold medal-winning wines and is a top pick for touring the province’s wine offering.
4. Constantia Glen
Constantia Glen, too, is rooted in a long history of winemaking. It now represents a tranquil escape from Cape Town’s busy city centre, situated between the Constantiaberg and Table Mountain. The estate boasts incredible views which set the scene for top-class wine and food pairings. To ensure that the grapes grown for wine production in South Africa live up to their reputation, wine farmers have to see to it that the vines receive the right amount of sunlight, air, and nutrients through persistent care.
Each year, winegrowers need to perform dormant pruning to prepare their vineyards for the following season of grapes. Vines are runner plants that need to be managed consistently to optimise the use of trellis systems. These are designed to expose the vines to healthy levels of sunlight and air. After the final leaves on the vines fall and before the bud breaks, it is crucial to cut away any old shoots and branches which may alter the vine shape. Pruning is also used to increase bud fertility and maximise the size of the next crop. This is because the balance between roots and shoots is maintained and the grapes are spaced out sufficiently to create room for growth.
Why wingerd stompies are a win-win
After pruning, winegrowers are left with heaps of dead branches and old shoots, which clutter their farms. Traditionally, these would be burned onsite as a quick and relatively inexpensive solution, however, South Africans have spotted the potential in ‘wingerd stompies’. While wine farms have little use for the heat and energy produced from burning vinewood, the stompies are perfect for a relaxing braai and make ideal fireplace fuel for indoor heating too.
Benefits of using wingerd stompies
Wingerd stompies can get extremely dry and dense after seasoning. When burned, this produces a good flame and long-lasting coals, which are ideal for braaing. Cooking over wingerd coals infuses the food with a tasty, rich, fruity flavour. Wingerd stompies add a special touch to fish in particular. Because farmers need to dispose of vine prunings, this wood is cheaper than other types, making it an affordable option for regular cooking.
Wingerd stompies are an excellent fuel source for indoor heating. Due to their density, their heating value of about 18 MJ/kg is higher than most other types of wood. In addition to this, the ash production is minimal, making cleaning straightforward and manageable.
For the environment
By repurposing wingerd stompies, consumers are making a sustainable choice for wood burning. Using these dried branches puts less pressure on growing trees specifically for firewood. As long as vineyards exist, prunings will be available for fuel.
Where can I find wingerd stompies?
Right here! We stock 50kg bags of wingerd stompies to keep you going for a while. Get your bag today and make sure to plan your next braai (maybe after a day out in the vineyards!).