Tag: Cullen Wines

Aug 08 2012

Watching Biodynamics in Action at Cullen Wines: My weekend in the Margaret River

Posted on August 08, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

When I arrived at Cullen Wines, production manager/winemaker Trevor Kent suggested that we first take a look at the vineyards. His excitement in showing off the rich moist soil of the vineyard beds was palpable.

Passionate about the benefits of biodynamics, Trevor was very generous about sharing his knowledge of the subject and explaining how Vanya Cullen and he have implemented biodynamic practices both the vineyards and the winery. Cullen was certified “A” grade biodyamic in 2004, but innovation and refinement of techniques are ongoing.

Biodynamics is based on Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual science. Trevor explained that in 1924 a group of German farmers approached Steiner for help in revitalising their nutrient depleted, unproductive soils. Steiner recommended a wholistic approach that incorporated organic farming principles but also recognised that the movements of the moon and the planets have a profound influence on the soil and plant and animal life.

At Cullen, farm activities like planting and harvesting are timed to coincide with the optimal position of the moon in relation to the planets. And the biodynamic prepartions, which include naturally occurring matter like farm manure, are all prepared in a way that optimises energy forces.

The photo on the left shows Trevor standing next to a Flow Form machine, which is used to mix the biodynamic preparations with water. For the horn manure preparation (500), for example, small amounts of manure are stirred into large volumes of water before being applied to the vineyards. Steiner believed that the combination of vertical and horizontal vortices created by the special stirring process increased the vitality of the preparations and improved their effectiveness on the soils and plants. Trevor likened the preparation process to collecting fast flowing, oxygenated water from a fresh water stream. The Flow Form machine mimics the natural process of energising the water.

After touring the winery we tasted the Cullen range on the restaurant verandah overlooking the biodynamic vegetable patch. Trevor explained that since the introduction of biodynamics the fruit quality has improved to the point that only minimal intervention is needed in the winery to produce top quality wines that are now much more expressive of their terroir… [Read More]

Mar 03 2011

The Return to Terroir Grand Tasting in Melbourne

Posted on March 03, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

In a week when a tragic natural disaster in Japan was compounded by the fear of a potential man-made nuclear disaster, I think many of us were grateful for the opportunity to attend the Return to The Terroir Grand Tasting in Melbourne. Here was a group of biodynamic winemakers, passionate about the benefits of working with the land’s natural rhythms and bio-systems, delighting our senses with superb wines and stimulating discussion.

Organised by Castagna Vineyard’s Julian Castagna, the tasting brought together 61 wine producers from around the world and more than 340 wines!.. [Read More]

Feb 02 2011

Margaret River: Australia’s Answer to Bordeaux!

Posted on February 02, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Is Margaret River Australia’s answer to Bordeaux? After spending a week looking at some of the best estates on Bordeaux’s Left Bank, I couldn’t help thinking about the similarities between Bordeaux and Margaret River. Like Bordeaux, Margaret River shines at making cabernet sauvignon blends and one of its signature whites is a typical Bordeaux blend of sauvignon blanc and semillion.

No surprise then to learn that the renowned agronomist Dr. John Gladstones from the University of Western Australia published two reports in 1965 and 1966 respectively that confirmed Margaret River as an ideal region for viticulture and compared the climate to Bordeaux’s Pomeral region… [Read More]

Nov 11 2010

Terroir: What does it mean and how is best expressed?

Posted on November 11, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

On Wednesday, The Sydney Morning Herald/Age inaugural Good Wine Guide’s Winery of the Year was awarded to Henschke, the South Australian winery internationally renowned for its single vineyard Hill of Grace Shiraz. Henschke first produced Hill of Grace in 1958, and the wine is one of Australia’s earliest examples of a single-vineyard wine. Today Hill of Grace has distinguished company in the single-vineyard category. Two thirds of the 94 wines in the Good Food Wine Guide’s highest “three glass”  category are single-vineyard wines. (Singled out for greatness by Helen Pitt,.. [Read More]

Nov 11 2010

‘Wines Not Mines:’ Help Margaret River Make the Case!

Posted on November 11, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Earlier this year the Upper Hunter Valley local community had a first-ever win over coal mining interests. The NSW Premier Kristine Keneally stopped the Bickham open cut coal mine, north of Scone, from going ahead, citing the unique rural characteristics of the locality, the economic importance of the local horse-breeding industry and community opposition as the main reasons for finally rejecting the proposal. (Upper Hunter Valley coal mine defeated by thoroughbred industry, Independent Media Centre, Australia, 16 May 2010)

Now the battleground has moved to the Margaret River in Western Australia,.. [Read More]

Sep 09 2010

Why Great Wine Promotes Healthy and Good Food!

Posted on September 09, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

If you follow food trends, you would have noticed the explosion of interest in sourcing food locally. This phenomena has been sparked not only by a desire to reduce ‘food’ miles – ie. the distance food has to travel to reach our tables. More importantly, buying local is about promoting sustainability, self-reliance, seasonal and indigenous produce, and supporting family-owned farms that are growing food of very high quality.

Not surprisingly, premier Australian winery restaurants have been at the forefront in promoting regional cuisine and sourcing locally grown produce… [Read More]

Sep 09 2010

Australian Cabernet: A Worthy Contender to Shiraz’s Crown!

Posted on September 09, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Campbell Mattinson, the well respected wine critic and a principal author of the popular wine blog The Wine Front, remarked in a recent post, Notes from a cabernet masterclass Tuesday, Aug 10 2010, that “when we talk of what Australian wine does best we invariably mention shiraz first, semillon second, chardonnay or riesling third and then cabernet or pinot noir.” In his opinion, a recent Dan Murphy’s cabernet masterclass, which included stars such as Mount Mary, Cullen, Yeringberg, Balnaves, Wantirna Estate, Petaluma, Yarra Yering, Voyager Estate and Moss Wood,.. [Read More]

Sep 09 2010

Support Cullen’s Fight to Protect Biodynamic Farming

Posted on September 09, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Aria’s Wine List, compiled by head sommelier Matthew Dunne, was awarded the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide 2009 Wine List of Year. The ‘Cellar Treasure’ page features 21 wines from producers who practice biodynamic farming methods. It includes wine from great producers in France, Spain and New Zealand.  Australian wineries featured are such notable names as Castagna, Howard Park, Lethbridge, Ngeringa, Hochkirch, Bindi, Domaine Lucci and Cullen.

Cullen Wines in the Margaret River, Western Australia, has been at the forefront in introducing organic and then biodynamic farming methods to its vineyards and winery… [Read More]