Organic wine starts in the vineyard. - Baileys of Glenrowan

Organic wine starts in the vineyard.

Chief Winemaker, Paul Dahlenburg combines modern and traditional winemaking techniques, including using a 100 year-old basket press, to produce specialised handcrafted wines. In 2009 Baileys commenced conversion of the vineyard to organic management practices, becoming fully certified in 2011.

Paul shares why organic wine making begins in the vineyard and his passion for  crafting sustainable wines of immense character and style.

Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in the environment, sustainability, and personal well-being, and these concepts are beginning to influence lifestyle choices. It’s no surprise then that organic offerings are becoming more appealing when deciding which wine to choose.

At Baileys of Glenrowan, at the heart of our winemaking philosophy is the belief that we can craft better wine by adhering to organic farming principles. Organic winemaking at Baileys dates back to 1870, when Varley Bailey planted vines as he did so without the aid of synthetic sprays and chemicals. Therefore, it was only natural that we returned to these early years and the farming techniques used on the Bundarra property.

In 2009 we decided to adopt organic farming practices across all of our vineyards. This involved a three-year conversion, culminating in our certification in 2011. But what does organic actually mean? Simply put, it means we care for our vineyards without synthetic chemicals, sprays, fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides, or any other products that are not naturally occurring.

We are fortunate that the land does have some natural advantages when it comes to organic farming. Our vineyard adjoins the Warby Ovens National Park. The combination of dense bush and elevation protects our vineyards from heavy frosts, which can burn off delicate young shoots when they emerge in spring, and protects from buffeting winds that can cause issues with flowering. 

The vineyard is planted into the foothills of the Warby Range, immediately below the Taminick Gap - a natural low point in the southern end of the range. This means cool breezes from the Victoria Alps to the east funnel through this low point in the Warby Range first. The gentle, but near-constant breeze across our vineyard helps dry out canopies after heavy rain, and disperse humidity , and protecting the vines against mould and mildew, significantly reducing the need to treat disease.

From a sustainability perspective organic farming practices increase the level of organic matter within our soils and the ability of the soil to sequester carbon is measurably better. It also results in improved biodiversity in our ecosystems and helps to  protect the vines against climatic challenges.

For consumers seeking to explore the concept of organic winemaking practices, Baileys is a great place to start. From where and how the wines are made, to the cellar door offering and delicious locally grown produce used at the restaurant, our belief in organic methods is at the heart of everything we do.