the vineyard

A biological focus.

I've always viewed biological farming as a natural extension of organics. As a child, I was captivated by the sight of worms wriggling their way out of the soil whenever we harvested vegetables from the ground. My father used to tell me, "wherever there are worms, there is food." Those early experiences planted the seeds of curiosity in me, igniting my journey into viticulture.

I embarked on this vineyard endeavour with a desire to explore natural methods of combating insects and diseases. Pesticides, herbicides, artificial fertilisers, and other inorganic methods were firmly kept at bay. However, the 'top-down' approach, while effective, lacked the long-term environmental sustainability I sought. It became clear that the presence of insects, diseases, and weeds were indicators of underlying soil malnutrition. Rather than focusing on combating these pressures, I shifted my primary focus to nurturing the soil's health, allowing our vines to fulfil their natural potential and sustain themselves.

Biological farming recognises the importance of achieving equilibrium within the soil, including its physical structure, nutrient composition, and microbial populations. Only when these elements are in balance can plants withstand attacks. The soil, the cradle of life for all creatures, possesses an extraordinary capacity to replenish and sustain life.

The way in which I manage the soil and its microbial populations determines not only the health and vitality of my vines, but the quality of the wine I produce and the well-being of the environment in which we live. It is a profound cycle of life that I am fortunate to participate in.

Creating my bi-annual compost tea brew is always an enjoyable process. With a substantial 1000 litres of active microbial goodness spread across the entire farm, not solely confined to the vineyard, I ensure a holistic approach to soil enrichment. Our modest flock of ducks is steadily expanding, with the goal of eventually creating an army to flood the soil with essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Additionally, we cultivate cover crops in the mid-rows to fix nitrogen, aerate the soil to counteract compaction during the vintage, and strike a balance between soluble and slow-release nutrients. Each of these endeavours contributes to the rehabilitation of the soil, fostering increased microbial activity and facilitating the natural unlocking and recycling of nutrients.

Especially within the winery, I have witnessed positive transformations in the quality of our fruit. The need for interventions has diminished, yeasts have become more reliable, fruit flavours have become more vibrant, and the overall stability of the finished product hints at impressive longevity.

Over time, I have witnessed - and savoured - the difference that biologically healthy soil makes in the fruit we cultivate on our vineyard. It requires patience, but the rewards are tremendous, and I eagerly anticipate what the future holds.

Raquel Jones - Viticulturist & Winemaker

Vintage 2024 Summary

Raquel will put her summary up soon!


Vintage 2023 Summary

"The impact of La Niña on wine production can vary depending on the specific region and grape varieties grown - and some conditions are not always negative."

Did anyone else feel as though the rain would never end? When farmers talk 'weather' they mean it - and this year, La Niña was a hot topic.

What is La Niña - you ask? In simple terms: it’s a weather pattern that occurs when sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific Oceans are cooler than normal. This can lead to cooler and wetter conditions in some parts of the world, including Australia.

The impact of La Niña on wine production can vary depending on the specific region and grape varieties grown - and some conditions are not always negative. Cooler conditions, for example, can be beneficial and help with slower ripening of the grapes and a longer growing season, which can result in more complex and flavourful wines.

Prolonged, cooler weather though can impact later-ripening varieties, which struggle to fully ripen without sufficient heat days.

Excessive rainfall also increases the risk of diseases such as mould and mildew, which can damage a grapevine’s green growth and grape bunches - reducing yields, sometimes significantly.

Ultimately, the impact of La Niña on the 2023 vintage came down to the management practices of individual wine growers, who needed to closely monitor weather patterns and adjust vineyard practices accordingly to protect grape quality and yields.

Some early disease pressure, whilst we waited on the arrival of a smaller sprayer, has reduced yields slightly for a couple of varieties, however, the overall cooler season and near-perfect February temperatures for finishing have produced some stunning fruit - with natural acids being superb again this year.

In the winery, I will be fine-tuning my winemaking plans further. You can expect a more textural albariño, a whole-bunch element will be added to one of my reds and Grenache (Garnacha) and Mourvèdre (Monastrell) make a debut in the winery with a GSM made in Amphora joining the Weathercraft line-up.

For those who have asked me if I’m making a single variety Grenache, the short answer is ‘no’. I AM making Grenache, however, it will be destined for my GSM.

I look forward to feedback on these and other wines (including my new Reserve wines) as they begin to be released in 2024.

Keep an eye on our socials for developments as they happen!