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7 Natural winemakers to know

Word of Mouth Wines, CanobolasCREDIT: Destination NSW

Wine barrel at Word of Mouth Wines, Canobolas.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

7 Natural
winemakers to know

Word of Mouth Wines, Canobolas CREDIT: Destination NSW

Wine barrel at Word of Mouth Wines, Canobolas.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Hashtags #lovensw #newsouthwales

Organic. Biodynamic. Vegan-friendly. Minimal intervention. For some of New South Wales’s most innovative winemakers, it’s not just about what you put into the wine, but what you leave out. From Orange to the Southern Highlands to the Hunter Valley wine regions, meet the winemakers making waves with their natural wines. 

Sam Renzaglia of Renzaglia Wines, O’Connell Valley 

You don’t often find a Rosenberg’s goanna on a wine label, but there’s a reason that Sam Renzaglia’s Di Renzo range of wines features wildlife on its labels. At Renzaglia Wines in the O’Connell Valley near Bathurst, a three-hour drive west of Sydney  the focus is on restoring the local ecosystem. That influences how Renzaglia treats not just his vines — minimising herbicides and pesticides, and weeding by hand — but also how he treats the rest of the property, introducing nesting boxes and planting more trees to support native birds and koalas. Renzaglia’s award-winning wines, which are made without fining and filtering, include chardonnay, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and merlot. 

Peter Gibson at Word of Mouth Wines, Canobolas 

A welcoming party awaits visitors to Word of Mouth Wines, in Canobolas just outside the vibrant country town of Orange: George the alpaca, Snuggles the sheep and the friendly dogs Fluffy and Artemis are all waiting to say hello. So is winemaker Peter Gibson, who has spent two decades refining his ‘slow wines’ here, which are vegan-friendly and made without insecticides, herbicides and chemical fertilisers. Peter grows a range of unusual varietals in his small vineyard, a 3.5-hour drive west of Sydney, including petit manseng, grüner veltliner and albariño. You can also pick up some fine local produce at the cellar door, including olive oil, honey and hazelnuts.  

Mark Davidson of Tamburlaine Organic Wines, Hunter Valley 

At Tamburlaine Organic Wines, in the Hunter Valley, a two-hour drive north of Sydney, winemaker Mark Davidson continues to evolve the techniques he uses to create award-winning semillons, chardonnays and shiraz. As well as avoiding pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, Davidson focuses on minimum-impact farming, recycling water, composting unused grapes and stems, and using solar power. Tamburlaine’s wines are now vegan-friendly, thanks to the introduction of vegetable-based fining agents, and several sulphur-free wines are available. If you’d like to learn more about Davidson’s innovative approach, you can book a behind-the-scenes tour.

Word of Mouth Wines, Canobolas CREDIT: Destination NSW

Word of Mouth cellar door, Canobolas.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Word of Mouth Wines, Canobolas CREDIT: Destination NSW

Word of Mouth cellar door, Canobolas.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Harkham Wines, Hunter Valley CREDIT: Harkham Wineries

A selection of Harkham Wines from the Hunter Valley.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Harkham Wines, Hunter Valley CREDIT: Harkham Wineries

A selection of Harkham Wines from the Hunter Valley.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Richie Harkham of Harkham Wines, Hunter Valley 

When Richie Harkham describes his wines as “pure grape juice”, he’s talking about what he leaves out of the winemaking process: there are no chemicals, no preservatives, no additives, fining or filtration. At this boutique Hunter Valley winery, which makes a maximum of 20,000 bottles a year, workers hand-pick all the grapes used to make its acclaimed semillon, chardonnay, rosé and shiraz. That’s not the only thing that sets Harkham Wines apart: the winery operates according to kosher guidelines, and has an on-site restaurant and accommodation for those looking for a longer stay. 

Jared Dixon of Jilly Wine Co, Clunes 

Subtropical Byron Bay, an eight-hour drive or an hour-long flight north of Sydney, is the last place you might expect to find a winery. A 40-minute drive inland, however, in the village of Clunes, winemaker Jared Dixon of Jilly Wine Co is hard at work. Jared sources his grapes from the cooler New England region, just a few hours away, where settlers first grew vines in the early 19th century. The crisp highland air suits varieties such as nebbiolo, gewurztraminer and chardonnay, and Dixon uses natural yeasts and avoids fining and additives, apart from a small amount of sulphur. The Clunes cellar door is open only by appointment, but you can pick up a bottle or two at the Clunes Store & Cellars on Main Street in town. 

Tony Zafirakos at Ari’s Natural Wine Co, Sutton Forest 

In the picturesque Southern Highlands, a two-hour drive southwest of Sydney, Ari’s Natural Wine Co is all about keeping it simple. Inspired by the techniques used in the Greek village where his father Ari grew up, winemaker Tony Zafirakos uses wild fermentation, and harvests and processes his fruit by hand. His unfiltered, unfined, sulphur-free wines include unusual drops such as Pash & Pop, an orange wine that’s made with greco and zibibbo grapes fermented on skins, and Lucky No.5, a blend of the season’s varieties.  

Sam Leyshon of Mallaluka, Yass 

Some winemakers like to leave their mark on the wines they produce. Sam Leyshon takes the opposite approach. Now at the helm of his family winery, Mallaluka, in Yass, a three-hour drive southwest of Sydney or an hour north of Canberra, Leyshon (formerly of fellow Canberra District winery Clonakilla) aims to minimise his fingerprint on his wines, using low-impact techniques such as open-vat fermentation, basket pressing and minimal additives. In addition to cool-climate favourites such as riesling and shiraz, his range includes lesser-known whites such as sangiovese, fiano, vermentino and aligoté, a little-known Burgundy varietal. There is no cellar door, but you can buy Mallaluka wines at Canberra Wine + Spirits Merchants and Ainslie Cellars in Canberra. 

Ari's Natural Wines Co, Sutton Forest CREDIT: Ari's Natural Wines Company

Wines at Ari’s Natural Wine Co, Sutton Forest.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Ari's Natural Wines Co, Sutton Forest CREDIT: Ari's Natural Wines Company

Wines at Ari’s Natural Wine Co, Sutton Forest.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Sunset, Yass River CREDIT: Destination NSW

Sun sets over the Yass River and the old railway bridge.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Sunset, Yass River CREDIT: Destination NSW

Sun sets over the Yass River and the old railway bridge.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

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