low intervention

Our ideas on viticulture are most simply expressed as "low intervention". We believe that as far as possible the vines should be allowed to grow naturally in order for the wine to be able to express our own distinctive terroir.

Vines are all cane pruned, and shoots trained vertically using the moveable foliage wires to maintain full exposure to sunlight for the leaves and ripening fruit

No insecticides are used at all, and only minimal spraying is carried out to control mildews using only copper and/or sulphur sprays. The vine row is sprayed with a "soft" herbicide generally three times a year to minimise moisture competition from weeds, and to help provide a natural mulch under the vines. Inter-rows consist of a mowed dense "volunteer sward" of mixed pasture grasses and herbs derived from the original pastoral use of the land.

The vineyard area was cultivated by deep chisel plough prior to planting, but has not been cultivated since then. The green (except in drought!) interrow encourages a vast array of insect and bird life, as well as beneficial grazing by the local mobs of grey kangaroos, wallabies, and wombats (and occasional feral goats and deer), and our Appaloosa draught horse 'Apache' - particularly in winter.

The vineyard is equipped with a drip irrigation system which uses water from a large dam on another part of the property pumped to a hilltop holding tank, then gravity fed to the vineyard. Irrigation is used sparingly to ensure the proper establishment and health of our young vines, not to encourage heavy cropping. Optimal crop levels have been set at 5 tonnes/Ha (2 t/acre), although it will be some years yet before these levels will be achieved.

Small quantities of organic fertilisers have been used since planting, and soil chemistry is checked every few years.

Most work in the vineyard is carried out by hand, and where machinery is necessary, such as when spraying and mowing, light-weight machines have been selected. This is important to avoid compaction of the thin soils by heavy traffic which can have a devastating impact on soil structure and vine root growth. A full sized tractor is used in the vineyard only twice each year, for the deployment and retrieval of the bird exclusion netting which is required from veraison through to harvest.

the harvest

Grape harvest is any time from mid-March to mid-April, depending on seasonal weather condition, by which time the weather is cool, with chilly nights so that final ripening is slow and gentle. Harvesting is all done by hand with the Chardonnay ripening within days of the Pinot Noir.

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