Head to the historic town of Rutherglen and you will find some of Australia’s oldest wineries, serving up the country’s finest fortifieds and big reds. Dig a little deeper and you’ll come across innovative producers, championing sustainable practices. Just like Rowly Milhinch of Scion Wines.
When you meet Rowly, you could bottle his passion and turn that into its own energy source. This guy drips with knowledge, passion and above all purpose. Sustainable winemaking is more than just a statement for Scion, it is what dictates and influences their daily practices, business decisions and most importantly for you, what ends up in your glass. And what ends up in the glass are classic Rutherglen styles, made with elegance, restraint and a contemporary flair. Lucky there’s a beautiful cellar door to experience the end result and to meet the people behind this impressive small winery.
Here is a little bit of that passion we were talking about...
Why is sustainable viticulture and winemaking so important to you, and for the industry?
A respect for the environment and a vision for the future are key drivers behind our engagement with sustainable practices. Great wine outcomes come a close second!
As a vigneron (grower + producer) sustainable viticulture at Scion ensures that our most important assets, our land and our grapevines, are cared for now and into the future. Broadly speaking, the holistic consideration of farming inputs/outputs is best practice for a healthy environment throughout the vineyard. This directly benefits vine health and in turn, wine quality.
Great wine is made in the vineyard. Vines grown with consideration of their longevity coupled with a respect for place often result in benchmark wines. As an artisan producer, we rely on delivering the story of our vineyard sites through premium wine. Alongside the story of our brand, this is our main point of difference in the marketplace.
What sustainable practices have you implemented at Scion?
We established our vineyard in 2002 with sustainable practices firmly in mind from the outset. We mulch under vine to improve soil health, biomass to encourage beneficial insect populations, reduce chemical inputs and decrease water use. In the winery, we use solar energy coupled with battery storage, rainwater and low intervention winemaking techniques resulting in high-quality wines that truly reflect their vineyard sites.
As a side, we will install our 10th beehive ahead of Spring in a bid to increase biodiversity within and around our property.
Do you think you can taste a difference in the glass? Do you think people are more connected to your product because their values align with your approach?
Coupled with the skill of the viticulturist and winemaker, sustainable grape growing and winemaking contributes to making great wine. However, we’re aligned with sustainable practices through a sense of obligation to leave the land that supports us in an improved condition. In terms of selling wine, we have a diverse range of customers whose support is not motivated exclusively our sustainable values or premium wine quality, but rather a combination of our brand values.
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