Connection restored

July 1, 2021

Dear friends

We need to catch up – it’s been too long between drinks. These letters are supposed to be an ongoing conversation with the wonderful people who’ve shown an interest in our wine, either by coming to our little cellar door and adding their name to our mailing list, or perhaps trying our wine at a restaurant and bothering to find us online. The idea is that we reward this curiosity with regular-ish snippets of interesting news and information about what’s going on in our little microclimate, the odd new wine to try, that sort of thing. But we’re not holding up our end of the bargain.

You see even in our ‘down time’ – when the vines are dormant, the days are short and the pruning can be done around regular coffee breaks because bud burst seems like an age away – life on The Wine Farm never really seems to slow down that much. Except in lockdowns when our little holiday cottage sits empty and the kids’ activities go on hold. But farm work never ends, when the kids are home-schooling the queue for the laptop triples and still the chance to sit down for long enough to pen our thoughts remains elusive.

But here we are, breaking the silence with a little update. Nothing particularly pressing but when we bump into folks we haven’t seen for a while they usually want to know how our little business is weathering the storms in these turbulent times, so let’s start there. In the most recent and literal storm that battered Gippsland and wiped out power across so much of Victoria, we had a handful of candlelit dinners followed by games of canasta with the kids donning head torches and a grand total of one small branch down in the sheep paddock. Not even anywhere near a fence. We were extremely lucky, mostly that day back in summer when we learned that one of our ace crew of pickers was an arborist when at home in France and preferred wielding a chainsaw while waiting for grapes to ripen, rather than binge-watching Netflix like so many of his brethren to date. The lovely Louis and his trusty sidekick Robin clocked every ailing tree and dodgy limb on our land and made short work of them, stacking pile after tetris-like pile of wood for our winter warmth (having made a pact with me that for every tree they felled, I’d plant two in its place). So our trees stood strong, being winter our vines were in dormancy so no damage there, and with our wines safely tucked away in a naturally cool cellar the power outage couldn’t touch us either. Sure we couldn’t shower for a few days but we suffered none of the losses of many of our friends in more vulnerable businesses, for which we are extremely grateful.

As for that other shit-storm. The one that suddenly closes restaurants and bars, spooks customers, stops people travelling overseas and has generally turned our worlds upside down. We’re doing ok on that front too. Thanks to some serious local love from the Melbourne hospitality trade who are rallying around Victorian producers, we’re still selling our wine and finding new patrons despite the shaky economy. Our 2020 vintage crew decided to keep extending their visas rather than head back to pandemic France and returned to us for a second stint in ’21, so our grapes were picked by seasoned hands and right on schedule despite the much-feared backpacker shortage. And with tropical island getaways largely off the cards this winter, Gippsland is getting a lot more interest than usual, with visitor numbers to our neck of the woods climbing like a happy hiker scaling the final steps of Mount Oberon. Our little cottage is hot property these days and the time I now spend each week hanging sheets out to dry and making beds again is another reason for my tardy correspondence with you.

If you haven’t ventured out this way for a while, possibly ever, there are plenty of reasons to change that. Big, still empty beaches beckon, there are walking and bike trails galore, and the ubiquitous green rolling hills dotted with a growing number of talented artisan makers and growers to explore. And the drawcard we’re most excited about of course is the region’s burgeoning wine scene. You might like to read this article about Australia’s hottest new wine region from last weekend’s Fin Review for more on that topic… just try and stay away.

Perhaps time your visit with one of our cellar door open days. We’re open once a month throughout the year (bar August when we attempt to get off the property), and much more often during our peak tasting season of January. You can see all our open dates here.

Our next one just happens to be this Saturday so why not book yourself a tasting session and make a day of it.

If you can’t make the trip out here this weekend, Neil and I are Melbourne-bound on Sunday for Pinot Palooza Unplugged: Gippsland vs Mornington Peninsula where we’ll be slinging wine with our mates (from Gippsland) and at our mates (from the Peninsula) at The Timber Yard, Port Melbourne for your tasting pleasure.

It’ll be so good to re-connect with some of you in real life after this prolonged period of lockdowns, blackouts… lockouts. And for the rest we’ll write again soon with more goings on and maybe even some wine to share. If you’re too thirsty to wait – I promise it won’t be so long this time – there are always some available via our online store, and more to come very soon.

Tell you more about those next time we speak.


  • The thirsty season

    December 13, 2023

    Current releases and where to get them – from us via email or our online store, try before you buy at one of our summer cellar door days, pick up a bottle or two from one of our wonderful stockists or enjoy one at a fabulous restaurant

  • Growing up

    September 11, 2023

    Our Pinot noir and Chardonnay are confident, gentle and joyful expressions of how these varieties perform in healthy South Gippsland soils, and demonstrate how our wines have come of age.

  • Season’s greetings

    December 26, 2022

    This year we’re all out of kilter with the seasons. Once we’d finished picking and processing the last of the grapes this autumn, we skipped the usual winter rest and immediately turned our attention to the enormous task of preparing our new vineyard for planting this spring. The spring that never came.

  • Field of dreams

    August 17, 2022

    It’s time to fill you in a long-term dream that is slowly becoming a reality. Post by post.

  • Glass half full

    November 27, 2021

    After 45 months aging on lees this is the best our Pét nat has looked and half a glass is definitely not enough.

  • Buzz words

    November 23, 2021

    Local, sustainable, natural… the buzz words are reaching fever pitch. It’s time to hang out the greenwashing.

  • Family first

    October 28, 2021

    We’ve made the difficult decision to pause our cellar door to keep our little ones safe. In the meantime, we’ve just stocked up our online store with a bunch of goodies for you.

  • Stop and smell the poo

    February 17, 2021

    We grow and make a product no-one really needs, and use precious resources in the process. So how do we sleep at night?

  • And breathe…

    December 14, 2020

    After 12 months in barrel and a luxurious 18 months in bottle, our 2018 Pinot noir is ready to make its debut, and just in time for the season.

  • Collective good

    July 26, 2020

    There’s an important movement happening in our region that we want you to know about. The Prom Coast Food Collective is supporting ethical family businesses and farming practices that are good for the planet. And we’ve jumped on board.

  • Winter whites

    July 10, 2020

    Hearty winter fare means gutsy cabs or at least a fruit forward pinot, surely?
    I beg to differ.

  • Vintage 2020

    June 30, 2020

    The sixth on our farm and, while no two vintages have been the same, this one was right off the charts. Read our notes from what was a wacky ride in the world of wine.

  • Moving with the times

    May 31, 2020

    Dear friends Wow, we have been overwhelmed by the amazing response to our last email. Thank you so much to everyone who got in touch and put their hand up for some wine. It is reassuring to know that so many of you out there are doing your best in these trying times and actively … Continued

  • A kick up the bum

    March 28, 2020

    March sees us in voluntary self-isolation anyway as we shut out all distractions and focus our energy into harvesting our crop, but with our customers shutting up shop we’re feeling the paradigm shift even in our little oasis

  • A brief history… and wine

    December 13, 2019

    Five years on The Wine Farm and we’re gathering knowledge of the seasons and how the farm responds. We bank this knowledge in a special corner of the cellar. It’s called library stock.

  • Sparkling conversation

    December 1, 2019

    Bubbles aint bubbles. There are so many ways to make wine sparkle and given the one we use is a little left of centre we thought it might be timely to give you a ready reckoner on all things fizz. Plus, get your hands on our 2018 Pétillant naturel.

  • Certifiably insane

    October 12, 2019

    It’s official, we’re now ‘Australian Demeter Biodynamic in conversion’. So what the hell does that mean? Let’s break it down.

  • Picture perfect Pinot

    October 5, 2019

    When the fruit entering your cellar looks like a still life and you’re already painting a mental picture of the final product, you can’t help but wonder if this might be the one. 2017 was a great year for growing Pinot noir in South Gippsland.

  • Planting thoughts

    August 26, 2019

    When we bought The Wine Farm five years ago we inherited eight varieties of grapes in two types of soil and varying states of health. Now they’ve had a chance to show their true potential in this cool climate and with our way of farming, it’s time to make some changes.

  • Hailing a cab

    August 5, 2019

    If your typical cab sav is dark and broody, our Farm Wine Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is bright and light on its feet with gentle tannins, a lovely texture and no sharp edges. Think raspberries not blackcurrants; herbs not tobacco.

    Think uber not black cab.

  • Vintage 2019

    May 10, 2019

    Vintage 2019 was tracking along nicely. Probably the best yet for our short tenure on The Wine Farm. But just as we were sharpening our snips in preparation for picking, three days of 35–40°C stopped us in our tracks and got us all hot under the collar.

  • Let’s talk about the weather

    April 20, 2019

    ‘Cool climate’ is a term that gets used a lot in the wine world but not always appropriately. It’s the weather during ripening that really counts, and the closer to picking the more of an impact it has on the ultimate style of your wine.

  • One door closes

    February 12, 2019

    This morning the last of the nets went over the vines marking the end of the back-breaking vineyard work till harvest starts in about three weeks; the cellar door is now closed until Easter; and the kids’ activities have started up again for the year (including our oldest starting school!). It truly does feel like new beginnings.

  • In the thick of it

    November 18, 2018

    Until now we’ve tackled weeds in the vineyard by slashing under the vines. But when your back hurts just looking at the vineyard at the beginning of the growing season, and then your tractor starts making the same groaning noises as you, it’s time to re-assess the situation.

  • A kiss on both cheeks

    October 18, 2018

    The Wine Farm Pinot gris 2017 – dry, textured and full of flavour it’s a nod to the Italians, a kiss on both cheeks with the French but 100% The Wine Farm.

  • The Wine Farmer’s Wife

    September 22, 2018

    When we first bought this property and all its beautifully manicured flowerbeds we knew we wouldn’t have time to stop and smell the roses… so we pulled them all out. Then politely dismissed the gardener.

  • Our pet project

    September 12, 2018

    There’s nowhere to hide with our pét-nat. With no added sugar, zero sulphur, no additions whatsoever, you are literally left with grapes in a bottle. So those grapes had better be good!

  • Contains sulphites

    August 31, 2018

    Turning fruit into wine is fraught with problems. There are hordes of bad bugs and yeasts out there waiting to infiltrate your cellar, get their claws into your juice and turn it into vinegar.

    So how do you stop them? And without creating a host of new problems like headaches, breathing difficulties and worst of all, ho-hum wine…

  • Stop and smell the rosé

    August 19, 2018

    A well made rosé should command as much respect as a decent white wine. Well, nearly. It should be dry, light in colour, smell of light bright berries with maybe a touch of dried herbs and a slight tannin tingle to finish. Delicious.

  • A tale of three farms

    August 11, 2018

    Good wine has great flavour. Great flavour comes from beautiful fruit. And beautiful fruit comes from a healthy farm. Conventional, organic, biodynamic… what is the best way to farm grapes?

  • Judgement day

    August 8, 2018

    With the first of our 2017 vintage ready to release, it’s time to offer up the fruits of our labour so you can decide for yourselves if you think our approach works.

    Introducing The Wine Farm Chardonnay 2017.

  • No place like home

    July 14, 2018

    We’re always talking about the importance of wines being allowed to show ‘place’ – keeping the fruit pure to let it express the soil in which it grew. So given we’re very nearly ready to share the first of our 2017 wines with you, we thought we should tell you a bit about our place first. What’s so special about The Wine Farm?

  • Daddy, you smell like soil

    June 30, 2018

    In Neil’s native South Africa, where he studied and started his career in wine, vineyards are commonly referred to as ‘wine farms’. The focus is on growing grapes and the people who grow them are farmers.

  • Pure ain’t simple

    June 8, 2018

    Here at The Wine Farm we work hard to make pure wine that shows place not process.

    It’s taken us a long time to come up with those few words, and while they might not sound like much to you they mean the world to us.

  • Welcome to The Wine Farm

    May 24, 2018

    We’ve just started a conversation with people who value the same sort of wine as us – wine that is pure; wine that shows place not process – and are interested in how it’s achieved. If you’d like to hear more about the wine we make and how we make it, as well as getting … Continued