Krinklewood: Organics to the Roots of Each Bottle

Krinklewood Vineyard

A family crafted wine using biodynamics

Krinklewood vineyard in Hunter Valley, New South Wales, keeps organic farming at its heart. Any non-organic elements to the wine-making process have been rejected and instead the vineyard has turned to biodynamics, a more spiritual, ethical and self-sustainable approach to organic farming.

The owners and founders of the vineyard, Rod and Suzanne Windrim, hold to the idea that the exclusion of any artificial chemicals is paramount to ensure their wines are full of body and taste. Their son Peter explained that the fundamental philosophy of Krinklewood is 'to love the land, learn that there is no quick fix for the plants growth nor for their survival. But there is magic in manure.'

The Windrims: A family with a passion

The Windrims' story began when Rod and Suzanne planted their first vines in 1981. They began growing grapes in the conventional manner and in doing so they quickly felt uncomfortable with the overreliance on chemicals and artificial nature of these practices. It was then they began to research into an alternative. Their intensive research led them to discover biodynamics, which is an offshoot of organic farming, treating the environment as holistic, allowing animals, soil fertility and plant growth to be influenced by one another. The Windrims immediately moved their wine-making process in this direction and, following their passion, they became entirely biodynamic in 2007.

The business involves generations of Windrims. Their eldest daughter, Carla runs the office in Sydney, forming a wine club which has turned into a huge extended family, whilst their middle child Danika is always looking out for new marketing initiatives to boost the Krinklewood brand.

Most notable is the youngest of the Windrim clan, Peter. After a successful career as an art director, he realised that he missed the more rewarding life offered by the farm. So he returned to the homestead to help. According to him, it doesn't matter if you are a Krinklewood founder, worker or grower, you care about every vine and every plant on the farm like family.

Life on the vineyard

You won't find an alarm clock at Krinklewood, as the vineyard philosophy is to stay close to the earth. Instead, the workday begins at 3:30am, when the roosters begin to crow, and stops when dusk descends.

Running a vineyard is tough, with the business at the mercy of the changing weather. Yet through all this, Peter insists Krinklewood continued to thrive, 'in the extremely hot years, the sodden wet years and the years of pests gone mad, our vineyard has stood up to all of it, without the use of pesticides, fungicides or herbicides.'

According to Peter, the greatest success of the vineyard is its survival, which can be tasted in every bottle they produce - 'that's worth as much or more as a gold medal at any wine show to us.'

Interview with Peter Wildrim

Krinklewood Vineyard

What is your favourite wine you produce at Krinklewood?

Our Basket Press Chardonnay is our most artisanal wine. It's a labour of love and is the most individual of the wines. The crushed handpicked Chardonnay is transferred to our concrete eggs, where natural fermentation kicks off nice and easy. It's a very slow process allowing more glycerol to be released, which enhances the overall 'mouth-feel.' The resulting wine is alive with minerality and freshness, which we then blend with some Chardonnay that's been aged in French oak to add further complexity and body.

What advice do you have when matching your wines to food?

Dad and I keep it very simple when pairing food and wine. A ploughman's plate heavily dominated by pickled veggies and chillies to go with Chardonnay, oysters with Semillon, fizz with fish and chips, and Syrah with a homemade beef pie.

What sets your vineyard apart from others and where do you see the future of vineyards in NSW?

There are a lot of wineries out there that are perfectly sterile and quiet, save for one lone chemist in gumboots. So I'd like wineries to be more of an experiential space for visitors, to breathe more life into the room. I think the wines would benefit from the energy. So maybe our vintage party next year will be in the winery and involve Andrew Bird playing violin on the back of our horse, Sunny. Followed by a food fight, a vaudeville band and obvious nudity. Cheers!

Visit Krinklewood Wines for more information on biodynamics and organic wine in New South Wales.

Find out more about how New South Wales has made its mark on the global wine industry.