Wines of Brocha
Producing a bottle of wine is a bit like a self-portrait. A confession of sorts. An authentic attempt to portray ourselves to others as we see ourselves, however deluded the image or inadequate our skills might be. The wine I grow on Brocha pretty much includes everything I have thought, believed in and done for the past 17 years. It is the practises that I have chosen to include and as importantly those I have chosen to leave out. It is the paths I have chosen to follow and the garden paths I have been led up! Above all it is my sincere and unapologetic attempt to grow grapes which express the Brocha site in which I both fiercely and tenderly believe in, a belief which inspires with such clarity the methods I choose to use in my vineyards, practises regarding my cattle, attention to soil health, and direction of the team who toil alongside me.* The baton is then passed on to Werner Muller (wine maker), who in turn applies his own intellect and craft in the wine making, a process he further uses to respect and reveal the Brocha site which for a short while is ours to tend.
This 100 percent Elgin Shiraz, a wine we call SOLACE from Brocha is such a portrait. I believe Werner has fully understood my methods and sometimes daft deviations in the farming of this shiraz, and has made a wine which is a genuine reflection of my philosophy and sometimes flawed ambitions. SOLACE began as a portrait of pain, a vineyard planted in the wake of the death of a husband in 2001, followed by huge optimism and high spirits in the finding of another, then patience, many years of rather dull perseverance and finally luck (5* Platter rating for 2014 maiden vintage). SOLACE also reflects the great kindness from all those who helped and inspired me – too many to mention (they know who they are) and the Biodynamic society in particular who bring a serenity and gratitude and vigour to farming which I have never encountered in the chemical realm of farming.
For the technically minded, the grapes are grown in our Brocha Vineyards in the Elgin Valley. Soils are stony and sandy with lots of white quartz. A dry and windy farm by Elgin standards- making disease control using naturally occurring bacterias and fungi in the form of Trichoderma, Metarhyzium and Bascillus relatively easy. Sulphur and small amounts of Copper Soap are also used. No pesticides are used on Brocha. No synthetic fertilizers are used on Brocha. No herbicides are used on Brocha. Biodynamic Talborne is applied instead of the organically allowed chicken manure pellets. Cover crops are an integral part of our winter farming. No topping of vineyards is necessary, and only minimal leaf breaking is required. All vine berms are currently weeded by hand. We aim for 6,5 tons per hectare in both red and white varietals on Brocha. We usually get less.
Werner in turn does not inoculate the grapes, uses no enzymes, does not filter or fine. SOLACE is matured for 12 months in 500 Litre Stockinger French oak Barrels (Deep Blonde and Medium Toast).
Having said all this at the end of the day for some it's just a glass of wine, but I believe that quality is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skilful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives. This is our message in each bottle of Solace.