Lowe Family Wine Co - The Farm
15284
page-template,page-template-full_width,page-template-full_width-php,page,page-id-15284,bridge-core-2.5,ehf-template-bridge,ehf-stylesheet-bridge,ajax_updown_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-title-hidden,qode_grid_1200,qode-theme-ver-23.5,qode-theme-bridge,disabled_footer_bottom,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-6.4.1,vc_responsive,elementor-default,elementor-kit-16399

It all starts with the earth, land & soil

Tinja lies on Wiradjuri Nation land – the Traditional Owners of the area on which we stand. We acknowledge that although we call this place home, the land will always continue to be that of our Nation’s First People. We recognise their continuing connection to the land, waters and culture, and would like to pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

Organics & Biodynamics

On the Tinja farm, our starting point in the pursuit of quality is through the practice of organics & biodynamics. With these principles we start from the ground up, increasing soil vitality to allow produce to thrive in the natural environment without the intervention of synthetic herbicides, pesticides or fungicides. By taking this holistic approach when caring for the land and soil, not only are we creating the best products we can now, but also ensuring the health of the soil for generations to come. 

 

David likes to joke that organics is about what you can’t do, and biodynamics is about what you must do. Together we use these practices to grow produce from strong healthy plants, in soil that supports their ongoing health, with flavours that are a direct reflection of the earth and region in which they are grown. 

Organics

Tinja has now been certified organic for over 20 years. Organic certification involves auditing by a registered authority, in our case ACO (Australian Certified Organics) who ensure all stages of the farming, grape growing and winemaking comply with a strict regime.

 

Herbicides, insecticides and most fungicides are all prohibited, with only naturally occurring and non poisonous chemicals such as copper and sulphur allowed. In dry years we aim to be completely chemical free, and use half the organic standard of natural sprays in wet years. 

 

Instead we aim to lift vine and plant strength through soil health and complexity, and combat disease through an active and competitive leaf surface biology, essentially crowding out disease causing organisms.

 

Anything we add to the land must also be organic, particularly fertilizer. This is why we have our own large scale organic compost to use as fertiliser, and any mineral elements added are in a mined not refined form. 

 

Organic processes also extend to the winery, where the same thing goes: no use of cleaning agents like chlorinated compounds are allowed, and no organic wine can be mixed with non-organic wine.

Biodynamics

Biodynamics is a holistic and ecological approach to farming, with a focus on increasing  soil fertility and plant health through biodynamic preparations, and guidance by the lunar calendar. David has been using biodynamics principles on Tinja since 2011, believing the world’s best wines come from biodynamic vineyards. 

 

Biodynamics can be broken into two parts. The first is a set of practices originally established by the philosopher and scientist Dr. Rudolf Steinerand, focusing on increasing soil vitality through biodynamic preparations (numbered 500 – 508). 

 

By creating nutrient rich compost to spread on the vines and gardens as an activator, we influence the soil microbial activity so that soil matter is alive with a balance of microbes that mineralise and feed the plants. This reduces the necessity of adding quick hits of fertilizers by establishing an self-supporting system to strengthen the plants. 

 

The second part respects a form of agriculture that predates conventional farming, where cosmos relationships determined the best times to manage a farm. Many industries subconsciously still practice this in varied forms, in the same way fishing is aided by tides and luna changes, so it is with biodynamics in our vineyard and gardens. The astrological calendar becomes an guide for when it’s best to apply changes to agriculture, including when to spread our preparations and what days to harvest.

Permaculture & market gardens

The gardens are the centre of operations at Zin House – a daily work in progress to plant, tend, grow, harvest and prepare an enormous selection of edible fruit, vegetables and herbs. It is these gardens that provide the base of the menu at Zin, determining what we will cook and when. 

 

Our first food gardens were established in 2014 by Kim at the entrance of The Zin House, and have continued to expand over the years to now include the market gardens and hundreds of fruit trees across Tinja. 

 

The produce is all grown organically using the lunar calendar, and the gardens based on permaculture principles. Permaculture gardening aims to ‘emulate the ecosystems of nature’, using a holistic approach to maintaining plant and land health by replicating patterns of growth and harvest that occur naturally in our climate and ecosystems.

 

You will find us using all parts of the garden; a vegetarian version of nose to tail. Nothing is wasted as we follow through in our sustainable ethos. What doesn’t go into your mouth, goes back onto the farm – we compost on a large scale, farm worms, manage bees and of course run chooks.

Kitchen Gardens

Welcoming you on arrival at Zin, these permaculture gardens allow you to explore the basis of what we do before you even step through the doors.

 

You will see many of our permaculture practices as you wander; mulch and ground cover crops protecting the soil (planting vegetables like kipfler potatoes amongst this mulch also creates ‘no dig’ harvesting), our own organic & biodynamic compost spread around (increasing soil vitality and microbiology in the gardens), diverse companion planting (naturally helps stimulate the growth of compatible plants), and seasonal succession planting (meaning our garden is producing all year round).

Market Gardens

Lining the road as you drive into Tinja, these newly established market gardens provide the space to grow some of our favourite vegetables for dishes at Zin House and Lowe Food Store on a larger scale. 

 

Covering 3 hectares, the organic and biodynamic plantings include heirloom carrots, broccolini, romanesco and beetroot, just to start. Changing seasonally you can find these rows of plantings next to our recent orchards additions – 200 feijoa trees, 100 fig trees and 50 Chinese pistachio trees, all looking to start producing in the next couple of years. 

Vineyards & terroir

Mudgee’s macroclimate is extremely well suited to reds, particularly varieties occurring towards the south of Europe, i.e. Spain, Southern France and parts of Italy. The varieties we have chosen to grow here on the Tinja property reflect the suitability of the area, so this is where you will find the grapes for our Shiraz, Merlot and icon variety Zinfandel. 

 

From years of experience, making wine across the world on some outstanding old vineyards, David’s belief is the best wine comes from unirrigated, un-trellised, organic and biodynamic vineyards – so this is what we do.

Each vintage we are faced with a distinctly new wine; the fruit flavours reflect the soil and climate alone, as there is no support from irrigation or artificial fertilisers. The fruit tends to ripen earlier, being a bit more latent and lively, and is always very unique to the place in which it is grown. The French call this connection between the land from which the grapes are grown and the wine ‘terroir’ – a wine’s unique expression of place.

 

The first vines were planted on Tinja by David and his father Keith in 1973. Some of these old Chardonnay vines are still producing, however it became obvious that Mudgee’s future was in gutsy, quartz loving reds. In 1995 the two Shiraz blocks were planted, followed by the Merlot in 1996 and Zinfandel in 1997/8. Each location on the property displays distinctly different terroir with the wines produced directly reflecting the block it is from.

The Vineyard Blocks

Block 9

Overlooked by The Zin House and inspiration for its name, this block produces Zinfandel grapes on a base of red soil and shale. With such connections to the restaurant, the grapes grown here are used for our Zin by Zin, a young ‘fruit bomb’ Zinfandel with less pronounced tannins but all the hallmarks of greatness, made specifically for pairing with dishes in Zin House. 

Block 8

This is the main Shiraz block. It is sand and clay dominant; the grapes grown here provide rounder, riper tannins, with more black fruits and olive characters. These characteristics create a more upfront and appealing young wine, with less aging needed.

Block 6 & 7

These blocks are home to our Primitivo vines, an italian clone of Zinfandel. North facing with dark red soil, the grapes from these blocks are typically lighter bodied and more fruity, characteristics perfect for our Lulu Rose. 

Block 5

This block produces our Lowe Reserve Shiraz on a base of stone, shale and quartz. The wine produced is very floral in character, consistently with violet undertones and a completely different structure to block 8 – more austere tannins and locked in flavours. It takes a while to reveal its many layers and has always been a more latent wine style.

Block 3 & 4

These blocks situated in front of the Lowe winery produce our icon Zinfandel. A variety originating from Croatia, it is known for its Californian home of Sonoma. Situated next to block 5 these blocks share the same soil of stone, shale and quartz. Grown on bush vines, the large grapes have flavours of raisins and christmas cake; characteristics of the best Zinfandels. 

Block 2

This block produces our Merlot grapes on duplex soil (sand/loam). The only trellised variety, vines are kept low to the ground and reach only 1 metre, mirroring that of the systems in Pomerol France. The grapes are very perfumed with very soft tannins, but strong in alcohol.