Mo for mo­men­tum

An on-farm cel­lar door show­cas­ing fam­ily his­tory has proven a smart move for a North­West vine­yard as it now ac­counts for most of the sales. Karolin MacGre­gor re­ports

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS -

When the first grapevines were planted at the Prickly Mo vine­yard 25 years ago, Tas­ma­nia’s wine in­dus­try was just get­ting started.

Nowa­days the vine­yard’ s qual­ity wines and laid-back at­mos­phere is prov­ing pop­u­lar with tourists and lo­cals alike.

The vines were orig­i­nally planted by John and Alieen Lynch on a small prop­erty at Eu­ge­nana in the state’s North-West.

Now the busi­ness is be­ing run by the cou­ple’s son Tim Lynch.

Af­ter a num­ber of years liv­ing in Mel­bourne, Mr Lynch de­cided it was time for a change and re­turned to Tas­ma­nia and the fam­ily prop­erty.

“Af­ter work­ing in a re­tail back­ground I didn’t re­ally know any­thing about grow­ing grapes.

“I had to learn quickly and that in­volved read­ing a lot and ask­ing a lot of ques­tions as well,” he said.

“That’s one of the great things about the Tas­ma­nian wine in­dus­try, ev­ery­one is happy to help and share in­for­ma­tion.”

There are 1.5ha of grapes on the prop­erty, in­clud­ing a mix of Chardon­nay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris va­ri­eties.

An­other 0.5ha is be­ing re­planted and Mr Lynch has also man­aged to save some Merlot vines that had been par­tially re­moved.

Be­cause of the vine­yard’s small size Mr Lynch recog­nised early on that just sell­ing their grapes to other wine­mak­ers was not go­ing to be a vi­able busi­ness op­tion.

“The soils that grows good ap­ples seem to grow good grapes as well and that’s what we have here,” he said.

With its lo­ca­tion and favourable mi­cro-cli­mate, Mr Lynch said the prop­erty does pro­duce top qual­ity wine, so he came up with a plan to use this and the farm’s fam­ily his­tory to cre­ate a new busi­ness.

The re­sult is the Prickly Mo vine­yard and on-farm cel­lar door.

Us­ing a shear­ing shed built by his great-grand­fa­ther about 120 years ago, Mr Lynch has trans­formed the his­toric build­ing into a to­tally unique cel­lar door.

The orig­i­nal build­ing fea­tures large tim­ber beams and walls made from cor­ru­gated iron.

A large wood heater has been in­stalled in the mid­dle and the bar has been made us­ing large wooden beams that were sal­vaged from the old Mel­rose Creek bridge.

Part of the build­ing was added on about 45 years ago.

Mr Lynch can still re­mem­ber when the shear­ing shed was last used.

“It’s quite sim­ple and very rus­tic but that’s what peo­ple seem to re­ally like about it,” he said.

“Some­times when you go to some of the big­ger vineyards for wine tast­ing it can al­most be a lit­tle bit in­tim­i­dat­ing, but here we like to keep things very re­laxed and ca­sual.”

The cel­lar door reg­u­larly has live music and vis­it­ing food vans, which Mr Lynch said were en­joyed by vis­i­tors but also quite a few lo­cals.

About 95 per cent of the Prickly Mo wine is now sold through the cel­lar door.

Mr Lynch said the vine­yard had also hosted a num­ber of wed­dings for cou­ples who wanted a more laid-back venue.

This year’s har­vest­ing at Prickly Mo has now started. The vine­yard yields be­tween 8 and 12 tonnes of grapes a year.

This year Mr Lynch is also be­gan leas­ing the Blus­tery Banks vine­yard near Par­doe.

As well as giv­ing them ac­cess to more grapes, Mr Lynch said he hoped be­ing able to com­bine fruit from the

The soils that grows good ap­ples seem to grow good grapes as well and that’s what we have TIM LYNCH

two dif­fer­ent sites will also al­low them to fur­ther de­velop the flavour pro­files in their wines.

Wine for Prickly Mo is made at the De­lam­ore Vine­yard.

As well as their usual va­ri­eties, Mr Lynch said they were also mak­ing rosé, which is prov­ing very pop­u­lar.

“We’ve been mak­ing some rosé and each year we make more, but it keeps get­ting sold out,” he said.

For the first time they are go­ing to ex­per­i­ment and make a sparkling rosé.

As well as be­ing the main source of their wine sales, Mr Lynch said an on­site cel­lar door had other ad­van­tages.

“It means you’re re­ally at the coal face, so we’re talk­ing di­rectly with our cus­tomers and get­ting feed­back on what they think of the wines straight away.

“We find out straight away whether they like the wine they have just tried or not and that’s re­ally help­ful in­for­ma­tion when you’re op­er­at­ing a busi­ness like this,” Mr Lynch said.

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