We've grown grapes from many vineyards in Margaret River over the years, both Certified Organic and Biodynamic.
We purchased the original WILYABRUP vineyard in 2005. Over the next three years we sold the grapes to other winemakers, while we mooched around Europe and phased out the irrigation & chemicals. In 2009 we moved onto the property to raise a family and focus on a more natural way of farming and making wine.
After a couple years of selling out of our wines within a few months of harvest we decided to sell the Wilyabrup vineyard and buy a second, bigger property (yikes) in late 2014. This one is a bit further North at QUINDALUP. Plenty of hard work and we’ve been able to also convert it over to Organic and Biodynamic land, graft in some cool varieties, and now have extra space for our recently renovated cellar door and some other projects too.
The mid-rows crops are sown with edible and flowering species so the birds and insects have food and shelter, the roots and grasses we have let grow protects the soil from the sun and rain. The bees buzz around gathering pollen to take back to our Natural Warre hives. And, after 7 years the property and its biodiversity looks spectacular.
Our Electrician made us a bio diesel system and then taught us how to make it from the old fish and chip oil from our local shops. This runs our cars and tractors.
We planted a large orchard and garden to feed us and the Blind Corner Team, plus chickens for manure and eggs, a happy worm farm, and space for a giant compost pile from the grape skins each year. This gets spread back onto the vineyard or garden once a year.
We have discovered being Organic isn’t enough. More is needed than just taking off the synthetic chemicals to create a long-lasting, sustainable crop, or establish healthy vines, soils and ecosystems.
Biodynamic helps with this, and we’ve since looked at extra methods to make the vineyard even healthier again. It makes sense to encompass everything—the entire property, but also what exists already in the way of native species, replanting spaces and keeping the ecosystem all in-tune together. Native bush, waterways, crops, animals. Pulling it all together in a logical and easy to understand and see manner. The healthier the soils, the stronger the vine and the more resistant to disease they become.
So following these principles, we have planted out many gaps within our vines with natives or transplanted self-sown evergreen shrubs to assist in breaking up the monoculture. We are trialling 3 types of saltbush, transplanting the wild lavender that grows crazy over our dam walls, plus any other flowering or edible varieties possible that may grow well on our site. We are establishing no tilling in our soils and crimping the mid-row crops (leave them to grow tall and go to seed then gently go down each row gently rolling the plants down flat to create a matting), which has been shown to trap and keep much higher levels of carbon within the soils—something we all know is needed as much as possible and as soon as possible, Everywhere. The matting protects not only the soil from the hot summer sun and helps retain moisture in the top soil it also protects the seeds which lay there ready for the first rains in Autumn and which then regenerate themselves again.
We also encourage the Kangaroos to move through the vineyard instead of introduced animals to benefit our land.
We are sowing native grass strips around the edges of our vineyards so they can seed through the vineyard when the wind carries them. We have just planted another 60 trees around the property too!
Every year we grow more confident and experiment more. We ordered two Georgian Qvevris a couple of years ago and buried them in the bush for fermenting different wines. Now in our fourth year of making wines in these, we fill them with grapes and juice, seal them up and let them sit there for a few months. The opening up makes for a fun party. More a super old technique than a new and innovative one.
Nothing leaves the property until after its in bottle. We bottle everything onsite in our 1988 bottling line, another secondhand bargain brought back to life by our Electrician.
Our vineyard, as well as our Winery & Bottling line are all Certified Organic & Biodynamic.