The philosophy around sustainability at Mount Majura Vineyard is looking in a holistic approach. With a holistic approach we can take both learned as well as new practices and technologies to achieve a range of outcomes relating to the environment, sustainability, and overall quality of the wines.

Vineyard and Winemaking

When we can we introduce sheep in the winter months to graze thus reducing the amount of tractor time slashing and burning diesel. We have had intensive assessment of our fungicide program, which has led to using fungicides to target specific pest which are gentle on our beneficial insects that we have been building up. Allowing ground cover to grow under vines to increase diversity and using the undervine slasher to keep it maintained.

Over past years we had observed an increase in the scale population in the vineyard. Rather than trying to combat with synthetic chemicals to control scale we introduced ladybird beetles to eat the immature scale and successfully reduce the amount of sooty mold in harvested fruit. We have also dropped use of Sulphur in the vineyard which has also assisted with reduction of rust mite and helped the beneficials thrive.

The vines in the vineyard predominantly run east west and as result our canopy management has changed. With our vertical shoot position canopy (VSP) we now only lift on the southern side allowing the canopy to drape over the northern side shading the fruit. It gives mottled light to stop over exposure, sunburn and preventing increased phenolic characters in the grapes.

In 2022 we began planting the new Valley Block, another 4.5ha on top of our current 9.3ha. We looked at irrigation and have decided on going sub surface which is going to be relatively new for our region. We also went with a whole steel vineyard so removing the treated post out of the vineyard is fantastic. This block has been planted onto pyhlloxera resistant rootstock. While phylloxera has not been found within the Canberra District and we hope it never is, this measure is about future proofing. Biosecurity is an important aspect that is managed through strict policies ensuring all footwear and machinery is cleaned and disinfected before entrance to the vineyard.

With respect to vineyard work to counteract heat, we have several later ripening varieties in the vineyard, Touriga, Graciano, and Parraleta, all of which require the full season right up until Anzac Day to ripen.

We have also stopped making Pinot Noir as a red wine, instead we pick it early as part of the blend for The Silurian traditional method sparkling. Looking through the back vintages of the Pinot Noir there is an obvious link to wine quality and the seasons., It’s overwhelmingly apparent that over the last decade or more, it has become more and more difficult to make quality Pinot Noir as the climate grows warmer. Our data, including the colder wet seasons like 2011 and 2012, shows that picking dates have been moving forward by an average of one to two days per year, so after 14 years, we can potentially be looking at picking a whole month earlier than we had previously.

Our underlying philosophy in the vineyard and winemaking is that quality should come naturally. If we choose varieties and growing methods that suit our site, then the resulting fruit and therefore wines will always be of greater character.

When we first planted Tempranillo back in 2000, we had seen the climate data similarities between Spain’s Ribera del Duero and the Canberra District. The match is uncanny, so it made sense to plant Tempranillo.

Since those early plantings, we’ve expanded and now grow Tempranillo in three sites within the vineyard, Little Dam, Rock Block and Dry Spur. These wines consistently reflect the microclimates of their individual sites. Small portions are bottled of each wine to further focus on the distinctive elements of the three sites. While the blended Tempranillo from all three sites is still our flagship wine, it’s the three single site wines that focus attention on the terroir and are the essence of what we strive to express. These are wines for true enthusiasts, lovers of not just the story but the focused expression of place.

Sustainability beyond the wine.

In understanding our land it was clear to us that the bottom paddocks are not suitable for vineyard. Knowing that they are unsuitable and now cut off from the rest of the site by the new road we leased these two paddocks out to solar farms, one being a community owned project SolarShare.

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