The Hunter Valley is celebrated for its wine and has a worldwide reputation for the quality of its vineyards. Now, the plush region in New South Wales is home to a collection of new winemakers who are thinking of the planet in their production practices and paving the road to a more sustainable and ethical future.
Organic and biodynamic vineyards have different processes. The organic process of making wine is without the use of artificial chemical fertilisers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. Biodynamic, on the other hand, is more complex. The biodynamic vineyard is self-sustaining, with each phase of the process done according to the phasing of the moon and stars, helping farmers navigate around the earth’s natural rhythms.
Biodynamic and organic vineyards are proving that their methods are crucial to retaining the natural health of the soil and vines and provide a sustainable solution to winemaking – and it’s not just good for the Earth; the wines taste delicious, too. Here are the four best vineyards to visit and sample in the region.
Macquariedale Organic Wines
Located in Pokolbin, Macquariedale Organic Wines was the first vineyard in the Hunter Valley to receive biodynamic certification, producing organic, biodynamic, low-preservative and vegan-friendly natural wines made with sustainable farming methods. You can be sure that all products in this vineyard are natural, without any use of synthetic chemicals, herbicides or pesticides. The vineyard believes that only when wine is produced in total harmony with the environment is it truly delicious.
The only other vineyard to achieve biodynamic certification in the Hunter, Kinklewood Vineyard has an ethos of quality over quantity, which allows them to “create wines with a clean taste and with greater fruit intensity”. Every aspect of the farm is managed in a holistic and sustainable way. This involves the least amount of intervention in the winemaking process to allow for the best expression of their unique natural environment. The result is a healthy vine that can produce a well-ripened fruit with a great depth of flavour, good pH and natural acidity.
Tamburlaine Organic Wines, also located in Pokolbin, is currently Australia’s largest producer of organic wines. The vineyard and winery embody strong and sustainable principles by composting winery waste, utilising solar energy and recycling water. All the wines produced are preservative-free and vegan-friendly. With a consistent ethos of healthier vines, sustainable production and contemporary winemaking, it’s no wonder this carbon-neutral vineyard remains one of the biggest producers of organic wine in the Southern Hemisphere.
Ascella Organic Wines, Australia’s largest family-run organic vineyard, encourages a natural ecosystem in their process, with a balance between animal and plant life. Based in Milbrodale, the vineyard’s low-sulphur wine contains only natural preservatives to give the bottle a longer shelf life. Ascella believes the organic way of growing grapes allows for the best and most flavoursome fruit, while a recipe that includes Epsom salts, which owner Geoff Brown says is a key ingredient, creates the premium quality wine.