Growing up

September 11, 2023

Dear friends

Every year I set out with the intention of writing more often. I like to think that sharing regular news of our journey might make you feel more connected with what we’re doing here on The Wine Farm so that the experience of drinking our wine, when you do, is more meaningful. But once again, as the new year ticked over and the temperatures climbed, so did the workload and here I find myself once again sheltering from the wintry weather outside to write my first letter of the year.

So much water flows under the bridge between letters it makes me keenly aware of the passage of time. Before I put pen to paper I usually do a quick scan of the last few letters I’ve written to see where to pick up the thread. When I did this just now on our website I scrolled a bit further down than usual to a photo of my now school boys back in their toddler phase sporting teeny tiny gumboots and wielding far too big a hoe as they ‘helped’ us establish the veggie patch that has since fed us hundreds of meals. And my now 6-year-old cartwheeling, roller-skating, sassy little girl dressed as a mini Emma Wiggle learning from her brothers where to hop under the bird nets to pinch the best grapes before they’re picked. It seemed like yesterday but now she knows those grapes are worth more to her in the crate by way of pocket money. And while my three children are hurdling developmental milestones at a rapid pace, Neil and I are steadily collecting grey hairs and physio bills.

But with age, comes wisdom, right? Since taking on The Wine Farm in 2014 and releasing our first vintage a couple of years later we’ve learnt so many lessons; had our values challenged over and over again; honed our skills; sharpened our resolve… even questioned our purpose (does the world really need more wine?). And now we find ourselves doing what we do with far more consciousness, greater confidence and a nourishing dose of gentleness.

In the early days on our farm we had something to prove. Firstly, we had to show that our style of making wine was better than our predecessors – the litmus test in your first few years for anyone taking over an existing vineyard. But more importantly, we had to prove that we could farm our vines without the chemicals that our industry is taught are essential. We were told at the outset we had rocks in our heads but with nine vintages under our belt we’re satisfied we’ve made our point, and hope we can support more of our peers to follow suit.

We’ve grown up a lot, and so have our wines.

We grappled for a while there with the thought that we were producing a luxury good for an already crowded market. But then we reminded ourselves that we are farming ours in a way that gives more to our land than it takes. And we’re using our wine to start conversations with people who might not otherwise be interested in the positive impact regenerative farming – specifically in our case biodynamic farming – can have on the health of our planet, and why they should use their consumer dollars to support it. We also make our wine with the smallest footprint we can. But then we acknowledged why we really got into this business in the first place.

Wine brings us joy.

Drinking a great wine adds colour to your life. Savouring a glass of something you love, made with care you can taste, provides one of those rare moments of joy that are pretty hard to come by as an adult. The kind we see our children experience so regularly in their day-to-day play and adventures. And if grown-ups have to suffer the grey hairs and wear and tear, surely we deserve a glass or two of joy in the mix? For us, taking pleasure in a beautifully crafted bottle of wine every now and then helps us keep doing what we do: living consciously, farming for the betterment of our land, parenting mindfully and not shying away from the challenges that go with it all. Like music and art, fine wine helps us appreciate humanity a little more, and helps motivate us to be the best humans we can be.

So we’ve decided the world absolutely does need wine. Not the chemically-farmed, mass-produced soulless variety, but there is always a place on our table for gently farmed, consciously made, joyful wine.

So that’s what we set out to make. And the older we get, the better we’re getting at making it.

During our first four vintages on The Wine Farm we were getting to know the place. We made wines that were clean, pure and fresh with a solid acid drive and tension. Everything was primarily made in stainless steel tanks as we saved our pennies to gradually introduce high quality oak barrels into the mix, sourced judiciously and seasoned carefully so as never to mark the wines. We’ve always wanted our wines to respect our farming effort and fruit purity, showing place not process.

But those who’ve been with us since the beginning will notice a distinct shift in style from our 2019 vintage onwards. We made a conscious decision to pick a few days later, at a touch more ripeness, and this has added weight and length to the palate and increased the fruit density in the glass. We’re also fermenting and ageing the wines in those now well-seasoned casks. The Chardonnay and Pinot noir now have no stainless steel component to them at all making them a little more complex, a touch more opulent. We’ve always aged our wines on their lees for 12 months creating the texture and silky mouthfeel our wines are known for, and our use of oak in recent years has amplified this.

By 2020 our vineyard has also benefited from six years of organic management and two years of Demeter biodynamic practices. As we continue our biodynamic journey, and with it better understand our land and how it responds to the seasons, we are seeing more resilient vines, healthier fruit come harvest time and a continued increase in depth and flavour complexity in our wines.

Today we want to share with you our two flagships – Pinot noir and Chardonnay – that best demonstrate how our wines have come of age. They are both confident, gentle and joyful expressions of how these varieties perform in healthy South Gippsland soils.

The cool ripening period of vintage 2020 added another level of elegance to these wines. Our 2020 Pinot noir is savoury with more of the mixed spice and white pepper than the berries of warmer years, gorgeous grippy tannins and length, and that trade mark Gippsland ‘forest floor’ aroma. The 2020 Chardonnay is for Chardonnay lovers, with classic flavours shining through with opulence, complexity, texture and length on the palate. Both wines showcase pristine fruit from our biodynamic vines, fermented naturally, aged in well-seasoned oak barrels and sealed under cork.

We hope you’ll see them both as something to cherish. Something to spark a little joy in your week. Something to make growing up a little more pleasurable.

“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again,” CS Lewis.

And in the meantime, there’s wine, so if you fancy a little more joy at your dinner table, you’ll find some in our online store.*


  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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