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The Natural Wine Movement

2020 proved to be a challenging year on many levels. For the Australian wine industry, it was first battling bush fires in several regions, followed by rolling straight into a once in a 100-year global pandemic. Who would have thought?

It was during this time that health & wellness, sustainability and environmental issues shone brighter than ever, highlighting the trend towards looking after our planet and the well-being of the community.

These factors have in recent years caught the eye of the wine industry. This has triggered the steady growth of the organic, biodynamic, and low – intervention wine movement. By 2024 it is expected that organic wine will hold 4% of the market share.

Nelson Wine Co is proud to represent several Australian family-owned wineries flying the flag in  the charge toward organic, vegan, and sustainable practises. This month, we highlight a few our producers:

 

Boat O' Craigo

Yarra Valley, Vic

Our winery’s distinctive name echoes that given to a farm in the town of Craigo in Scotland. Where our ancestors settled alongside the docking point for the ferry that crossed the North Esk River. The Boat O’Craigo name and tradition have drifted across seas to settle and book-end Victoria’s burgeoning Yarra Valley with two magnificent vineyards, one in Healesville and the other in Kangaroo Ground. One red, the other white.

Boat O’Craigo practices organic winemaking and production wherever possible: no pesticide use, use of organic ingredients and additives, hand picking fruit, and utilising nutritional and natural compost in the vineyard. As with the ferry’s docking-point, it is here at the gateways to the Yarra Valley that the physical journey of our travels ends, although the journey of the senses is only just beginning. A James Halliday 2018 Dark Horse Winery.

Serengale

Beechworth, Vic

Serengale is a small 6.5 hectare vineyard located in the famous granite hills of Beechworth Victoria. Established in 1999 by Gayle Taylor and Serena Abbinga the partnership concentrated on establishing a premium vineyard whilst honing their skills as vignerons believing that great wines originate from a great vineyard.

Over the years Serengale has produced a small volume of wine for local restaurants and outlets as well as supplying high quality grapes to a number of notable wineries such as Giaconda and Savaterre. It is time for Serengale to showcase the now mature vineyard. Using wild yeast, gentle handling and low intervention wine making techniques, Gayle focuses on expressing the season, the variety and the select areas of the vineyard, to make hand crafted wines that are a reflection of place.

Serengale run a small flock of sheep in the vineyard during the winter months. They are born and bred on the property and are for vegetation/weed control in the winter months and fire prevention in the summer months. The flock are lead by Silva and Charles and the alpaca Chilly. The vineyard supervisor is Jezebel – a rescue pup!

Three Dark Horses

McLaren Vale, SA

Three Dark Horses produced their first vintage in 2009 using Shiraz and Romano Grenache from McLaren Vale and Touriga Nacionale from Langhorne Creek. The Shiraz and Grenache were matured in French and American oak for 18 months before blending with soft, berry flavoured unoaked Touriga. The result was a unique blend of dark cherries and raspberries with hints of dried spices and herbs, this is their SGT which they still produce today. All this was done by hand, using a hand press, a borrowed crusher and lots and lots of hard work.

Three Dark Horses is the new project for former Coriole winemaker Matt Broomhead. When the opportunity arose in 2009 to make wine from Bruno Romano’s old vineyard in the Seaview sub region of McLaren Vale- Matt teamed up with his father Alan and grandfather Frank and the Three Dark Horses were born. Today Matt and Alan run this small label with Matt’s 90-year-old grandfather Frank a vintage regular. Their focus is on producing small batch, hand made, and affordable wines of character.

Wood Park Wines

King Valley, Vic

The Wood Park Wines vineyard is managed with a commitment to sustainable environmental practices and minimal chemical use. With a background in environmental science, winemaker John Stokes planted his Wood Park vineyard amongst regenerating natural bush land in the foothills of the Victorian Alps in 1989.

Wood Park Wines draws on fruit sourced from the diverse micro-climates within the King Valley and surrounding regions, ranging in altitude from 250m to 800m above sea level. Our wine making is a mix of traditional and modern techniques including plenty of hand plunging in open fermenters and use of wild yeasts.

John discovered wine making from literally stomping on a small vat of his cabernet/shiraz grapes. It really was a surprise to win best overall wine in the local wine show. He won again for the next two years, and it became clear that a strong passion was unfolding. John went on to produce his hallmark Cabernet Shiraz Blend, but he needed a white. Local winemaker from Giaconda, Rick Kinzbrunner made the first four vintages of Chardonnay, in the Burgundian style that John has continued.

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