Putting sus­tain­abil­ity into prac­tice.

Tal­tarni in Vic­to­ria’s Pyre­nees last year cel­e­brated the 40th an­niver­sary of their first wine re­lease. To­day, the fam­ily-owned win­ery is a leader in sus­tain­able prac­tices, as wine­maker Robert Hey­wood ex­plains.

Halliday - - Sustainability - tal­tarni.com.au

For the team at Tal­tarni, work­ing with sus­tain­able meth­ods is not about be­ing pro­gres­sive; it’s the only way. As chief wine­maker Robert Hey­wood ex­plains, it is all about pro­tect­ing their nat­u­ral cap­i­tal.

“We see that if we put into the land, it’s go­ing to give back to us. It’s about im­prov­ing that as­set and en­sur­ing longevity to con­tinue pro­duc­ing qual­ity,” Robert says. “In the past, a lot of agri­cul­tural tech­niques have been about tak­ing and tak­ing, but at some stage, that will come back to bite. So we’re all about do­ing ev­ery­thing the right way.”

One of the team’s big­gest fo­cal points in re­cent times has been to plant spe­cific na­tive flora be­tween their vine­yard blocks in or­der to draw in na­tive in­sects. Robert calls them “the un­seen army” be­cause they min­imise, if not erad­i­cate, tra­di­tional vine pests. “By in­creas­ing these pop­u­la­tions, they are go­ing out to the vine­yard and re­plac­ing chem­i­cals,” Robert says. “We know what plants we want in par­tic­u­lar cor­ri­dors in the vine­yards, so we’ve been cre­at­ing homes for the in­sects we need to at­tack the pests.” This has re­sulted in a sig­nif­i­cant drop in Tal­tarni’s chem­i­cal use and Robert notes that when pests have im­pacted neigh­bour­ing vines, Tal­tarni hasn’t been af­fected to the same de­gree. “When you get these out­breaks, it can re­ally af­fect the qual­ity of the fruit, so this is a very sim­ple way to avoid it.”

Among the other prac­tices in place, Tal­tarni is now putting all of its grape marc un­der the vines. “We’re com­post­ing this waste and plac­ing it in the vine­yards, which boosts the bio­di­ver­sity in the soil. You can re­ally see the ef­fects.” They do the same with paper waste from all win­ery de­part­ments – it gets pulped and put into the gar­dens and vines. Tal­tarni also now has its own bee­hives to im­prove pol­li­na­tion of the vines, and it uses 100 per cent rain­wa­ter as op­posed to town wa­ter. “Ir­ri­ga­tion is a ma­jor­ity run-off with a small pro­por­tion of bore wa­ter. It’s so ben­e­fi­cial for the wine qual­ity and ethos of the win­ery. You re­ally do see the ben­e­fits,” Robert says. “We are also 25 per cent so­lar and look­ing to go to 50 per cent in the next two years.”

Throw in the fact they are work­ing to re­duce plas­tics, car­tons and glass, and us­ing re­cy­cled prod­ucts for la­bels and any­where else pos­si­ble, and it’s clear that a holis­tic pro­gram is in place. It all helps them craft the wines they want to make. “We’re fo­cus­ing on re­gion­al­ity and mak­ing wines that are a true re­flec­tion of the vine­yard,” Robert says.

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