Season’s greetings

December 26, 2022

Dear friends

The year outgrows the spring it thought so sweet
And clasps the summer with a new delight,
Yet wearied, leaves her languors and her heat
When cool-browed autumn dawns upon his sight.
                                                          Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ever since leaving the city ten years ago, we’ve lived by the seasons. For Neil this was a return to normal having lived rurally and farmed for much of his adult life. For me it was a profound and quite clunky shift. Having always had the rhythm of my weeks and months dictated by the 9-to-5, Monday-to-Friday concept of productivity, I struggled to anticipate our busy times, or make the most of our down time, for much of our first few years on the farm.

Gradually it started to feel more natural that the tempo of our lives would rise and fall with the shifting position of the sun in the sky throughout the year, rather than being dictated by a clock that marks the progress of time at the same pace day in, day out, year-round. And now it feels completely normal that when the sun is high in the sky, we labour; when it sits low, we head indoors, gathering our thoughts and energy while our vines sit dormant under the cold grey sky, gathering theirs.

But this year we’re all out of kilter again. Once we’d finished picking and processing the last of the grapes this autumn, we skipped the usual resting phase and immediately turned our attention to our new vineyard. We had 14 acres to prepare for planting this spring – 3,500 posts to bang in, 90 end assemblies to install, 168km of wires to be strung and irrigation to be set up over the winter months so that all the infrastructure was in place and we were ready to work the soil once the winter rains petered out and the sun shone again. As soon as the soil dried out enough it would be time to slash the third generation of green manure crops we’d planted in autumn, spray them with biodynamic preparations and work all that nutritious organic matter into the earth to create the perfect canvas for planting our 21,000 young vines by the end of spring.

But spring never came. The cold and wet conditions carried on well beyond winter meaning the soils were too wet to work without destroying the structure we’d achieved over three years of biodynamic management.

So we waited. And waited. Knowing that with every wet week that went by, the time we had to get the soil prepared before running out of season to plant was being squeezed into a rapidly shrinking window. Would the sun ever come out? Never have we felt so utterly controlled by the seasons.

These past few months we’ve had to navigate the weekly deluge, jumping to action between rainfalls as soon as the top layers of soil had dried out enough to work without causing damage. Finally we spotted a few breaks in the weather and set the date to have the first half of our vines delivered from the nursery that had been looking after them these past two years. We managed to finish clearing the 21km planting strip under the wires last Wednesday (by cultivation rather than the much easier but oh-so-damaging application of herbicide). On Thursday afternoon we took carriage of 10,500 young vines – six different clones of Pinot noir, three of Chardonnay – and set to work trimming them up for planting. By Sunday lunchtime, with a lot of helping hands, all their roots were sunk into the earth along with a nourishing soup of mycorrhizal fungi, kelp and worm wee to give them a running start. The next day we received another 10,500 and started the process all over again.

We totally underestimated the enormity of this task. Planting a vineyard is hard graft and doing it in a year with no spring (and with no chemicals) is not for the faint hearted. We’re so looking forward to putting our feet up for a few days this Christmas, drinking a few good bottles and celebrating all we’ve achieved in this very unusual year.

And, while these young vines are a few years away from producing anything we can share, we have plenty of wine from our home block to fill your glasses this thirsty season. You can order from our online store or just hit reply and tell us what you fancy from the list below.

Our pèt nat moved fast again this year so you won’t find it on the website, but we held back enough for our valued subscribers and visitors to the cellar door this summer. We have a few other bits and pieces in the cellar too if there’s a favourite missing from below – please get in touch with any special requests.

Finally, in January we re-open our cellar door after a two-year hiatus and would love to see some of you in the flesh to sample the fruits of our labour and hear a few new stories. Bookings are now open via

Come and christen our brand new all-weather bar as we languor through a few (hopefully) warm weeks before harvest is upon us again, we get back to work and count the sleeps till the end of autumn and a proper, well-earned we reckon, rest.


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Connection restored

    July 1, 2021

    Let’s catch up after this prolonged period of lockdowns, blackouts… lockouts.

  • 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