"And it's telling, I think, that when I asked Neil Hawkins to give me some information about what they were doing he sent a long detailed email, with more than 700 words describing the vineyard's soil and how they farmed (grey loam over red clay; lots of hard work by hand, whipper-snippering the weeds, hedging the tips of the growing vines, and so on) and just 30 words on winemaking - "to be honest I find it a bit boring talking about what I do in the cellar"." MAX ALLEN, The Australian
What happens when you put two wine tragics from opposite sides of the world together and they have a chance meeting in the home country of one? They fall in love, get married, start a family and pool everything they have and finally purchase a vineyard. For Anna and Neil Hawkins it had to be a cool climate site for sure and being 50km’s from the southern-most point of mainland Australia they’d found the perfect vineyard in Gippsland. The site is seven acres and planted to eight different varieties which are planted on their own roots. The vines are between 20 and 25 years old. It is farmed without the use of insecticides, just copper, sulphur and a pair of hands to combat the mildews. With a focus on soil rejuvenation and controlling weeds with nothing but a whipper snipper below the vines and a mower deck between them, the essential micro-organisms are allowed to thrive and aid the transfer of minerals from soil to vine and ultimately glass. The grapes are hand harvested in small crates and taken on a gentle tractor ride of no more than 100 metres to the cellar where they’re tucked into a refrigerated reefer for the night. Gravity is used to move the wine and there’s no filter on The Wine Farm or fining either. No additions apart from 20ppm of sulphur at bottling and if this can be avoided it will. Bottling is also done on-site with a gravity-fed hand bottling unit and sealed with natural cork and wax.