Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Feast

Eyvind Hellstrøm, chef at Restaurant Bagatelle in Oslo, Norway's only 2-star Michelin rated restaurant, recently contributed recipes for a sumptuous Christmas menu to the culinary section of one of Norway's main newspapers.

Even without a grasp of the Norwegian language, the pictures of chef Hellstrøm selecting the ingredients and photographs of the various dishes tell the story well. If they aren't quite enough to get your mouth-watering, his recommendation of our Leah Pinot Noir to accompany the duck dish might just do the trick.

Merry Christmas and Bon Appétit.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Our Pinot in Paris

I was delighted to receive an email recently from Michael Berger who spent time with us in New Zealand. Michael visited the house in Waterfall Bay and was surprised and pleased to see the book "King" on a table, written by his brother John Berger - an author, novelist, painter and art-critic; a truly amazing man whose work I admire.

So, while I was pleased to hear from Michael, I was especially grateful for the photo he sent; that of his brother John enjoying a bottle of Seresin Pinot Noir in Paris for his birthday in November. Hopefully John enjoyed our work as much as I've admired his. Happy Birthday John, and here's to many more. - Michael Seresin

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Soulful, Supple Leah

Our 2007 Seresin 'Leah' Pinot Noir has been getting a bit of attention in the wine media lately.

Writing in the Independent Wine Monthly, Emma Jenkins, who hasn't always been entirely positive about Marlborough Pinot Noir, found the Leah a nice surprise: "Named after proprietor Michael Seresin's daughter, it is a soulful example of the variety; finely tuned, fragrant, supple and very satisfying indeed. It has an enticing nose of ripe fruit, lots of pretty spice and something just a touch savoury to pique one's interest. The palate is rich yet restrained, with lovely fruit, and again that touch of savoury depth, plus wonderful balance and decent length. The complete package really. And with a RRP of $37, which doesn't seem unreasonable at all. Seresin are committed to organic and biodynamic production so one's conscience is clear to drink as many bottles of this lovely pinot as is necessary. Should cellar nicely too should you be that way inclined."

In the latest issue of Gourmet Traveller Wine, Huon Hooke & Bob Campbell's Top 100 New Release Wines features the 07 Leah as well. With 5 stars and 93 points the wine is described as moderately intense, very complex and more interesting than other more overtly fruity wines from Marlborough in 2007.

2007 was a very special year for us with our normally low yields taken back even further by a cold flowering, so there's not much of this wine left - with almost 6 months still to wait for the 2008.

Wine and Dine with Gusto

Clive Dougall will be presenting Seresin wines at a Winemaker's Dinner at Petone's Gusto Bistro on 22 December.

We're pleased to be working with Gusto who have certainly made an impact on Wellington's dining scene.
For more information and reservations email Gusto Bistro directly or Phone 04 920 1774.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc

Warren Barton's Christmas Wine Guide is early awaited by readers each year - not just as a signal of the impending festive season, but also as a quick and easy guide to some of the country's most highly regarded wines. We're always interested to see what makes Warren's Top 100 wines for the year. Last year our 2007 Memento Riesling was in the line-up. This year our 2008 Sauvignon Blanc is one of only 10 Sauvignon Blancs in the Guide.

Warren writes, "Seresin has always dared to be a little different, even in its approach to sauvignon blanc. This one is partly fermented using wild yeast, a portion of it in oak casks to provide more weight, texture and complexity. No mistaking where it comes from though."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Shoot-Thinning Semillon

After a morning tea of Ginger Loaf and Venison Meatballs (not together) provided by Brett, we shoot-thinned the two staff rows of Semillon next to the winery and cellar door. After the wet winter and relatively warm growing season so far (touch wood), vine growth is vigourous with plenty of potential bunches. By the look of the caps flowering is imminent, and the next few weeks will tell us whether these potential bunches will set into fruit.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Putting a Face to the Wine

Leah Seresin, her son Finbar and friends Peter, Helen, Callum and Nick stayed at Waterfall Bay over the weekend and spent some time with us at the Home Vineyard before flying out.

For most of us, it was our first chace to meet Leah and finally put a face to the name and wine.

Finbar and Nick had a great time with the lambs, chickens and ducks and met our cow and calf too.

While the adults were tasting wines, Finbar and Nick kept Jemma (the winemaker's dog) busy - throwing her favourite toy countless times for her to fetch.

It was a beutiful summer's day and we enjoyed lunch - mainly from the vege garden, strawberry patch and a local cherry grower - in the courtyard beside cellar door.

It was lovely to meet you all - come back again soon.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pinot Noir Tasting

Today our winemaking team (minus winemaker Clive Dougall who was at home with Mel and newborn Amelia), viticulturalist Colin Ross, winemaking consultant Olly Masters, Michael Seresin, GM MJ Loza and two invited independent expert Pinot tasters spent the day at Waterfall Bay tasting 31 Pinot Noir from around New Zealand, 7 from Seresin Estate. With a focus on the 2007 vintage, the purpose of the day was to understand more about New Zealand Pinot Noir and Seresin's wines as part of this landscape. Tasting blind and with independent expert opinion, we were well placed to have an open and unbiased tasting and discussion.

The wine flowed, glasses swirled, aromas wafted and tasters slurped and scribbled notes and scores before a wine-by-wine discussion.

It was a great learning opportunity and we were pleased with how the Seresin wines looked in the context of other wines. We're not naming names or scores, but two things we can share are:

  • the overall high quality of Pinot Noir from New Zealand and the general high quality of wines from the 2007 vintage
  • that beauty is in the eye of the beholder - so make sure you don't take someone else's word for it. Experiment, explore and discover for yourself the wines that captivate you.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Champion Lamb

We are very proud of our prize winning lamb Rosa.

Rosa, along with Scotty's daughter Gabby, received the prize for Champion Pet Lamb at the Renwick School Pets day.

Rosa's superior genes were also acknowledged with a placing in the 'best breeding ewe' category.

And given the wet spring day Gabby was given a special prize - the nurture award, for taking such great care of Rosa and keeping her company in the rain.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wines to try before you die help Cystic Fibrosis

As reported in a previous post, Seresin's 2006 Marama was selected for inclusion in the book "1001 Wines You Must Try Before You Die", along with only 23 other NZ wines.

With the support of all the NZ wines in the book, Avenues Event Management put together 4 cases of these Wines You Must Try Before You Die (2 of each of the 24 'must-try' wines from NZ) which were auctioned at the Reuters Charity Golf Classic in September. The auction was a huge success and the funds raised will buy 2 new Eflow nebulisers for the at-home treatment of young sufferers of Cystic Fibrosis - New Zealand's most common, life-threatening inherited disease.

We're happy to have been part of this - with special thanks to the successful bidders.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tripping on Marlborough Pinot Noir

It was a pleasure to have Phil Tripp visit us from Australia's Daily Telegraph earlier in the year. His article - declaring Marlborough as a 'perfect cradle for the cultivation of Pinot Noir' - appeared on the front page of the travel section 'escape' this weekend, along with one of our favourite shots of our Raupo Creek vineyard (below).

Of Seresin, he says: "Wines are organically and biodynamically grown, hand-tended and hand-picked in true artisanal manner. The Rachel and Leah pressings are rich and classic from hilly clay soils, while the Tatou and Raupo wines, from stonier ground, are even more generous. They also produce a fine array of olive oils from more than 7000 trees including ones infused with lemon, lime and orange."

In fact, Leah and Rachel are made with fruit selected from all of our 3 vineyards, while Raupo (from Raupo Creek vineyard's hilly clay soils) and Tatou (from Tatou vineyard, a stony site) are single vineyard wines from each of those 2 vineyards. We can't argue with Phil's opinion that Marlborough is a special place Pinot Noir - even more so as we learn more about each of our vineyards' qualities.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

2008 Sauvignon Blanc Release in Australia

Winemaker Clive Dougall has spent the week in Australia attending tastings and new release events for our 2008 Seresin Sauvignon Blanc. He is pictured here enjoying the warm spring weather at the Ocean Room in Sydney

Guests at this event enjoyed the Sydney harbour views as they sampled Seresin new release wines and fresh seafood prepared by the Ocean Room chefs.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Opening of The Taruna National Centre for Organic and Biodynamic Education

On September 13th, Colin Ross and Wendy Tillman from Seresin Estate were proud to be in attendance and supporting the biodynamic movement in New Zealand at the official opening of The Taruna National Centre for Organic and Biodynamic Education. The new classroom, the Christeller Room, at the Hohepa Porati was ceremonially opened with blessings, songs and thanks to those that made it possible. Peter Proctor (pictured here) concluded the ceremony with a blessing from Rudolf Steiner.

Students from Seresin Estate thus far include Colin Ross who completed the Certificate in Applied Organics and Biodynamics in 2007 and Sean Phillips who is currently completing his certificate.

For more information on organic and biodynamic education, as well as anthroposophical studies, in New Zealand see the Taruna site at:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Phone a Friend

It's a beautiful Spring day in Marlborough, and in Kaikoura too, judging by a call just received from Bert and Joanna Shugg, tourists visiting from Tasmania. They kindly phoned us to let us know that they are sitting on the beach in Kaikoura enjoying a lunch of fresh seafood and a bottle of our Reserve Sauvignon Blanc. Apparently it's every bit as good as Jim said it would be, when they visited our cellar door yesterday.

While we'll admit to a bit of jealously (what a great way to lunch!), we are very glad you enjoyed the wine and loved getting your call.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Desert Island Wines

What is the one wine you would have if you were shipwrecked on a desert island?

In the case of Shane Avant, Executive Chef at Fiji's Vomo Island Resort, it's a question he must ponder often. With a much larger wine list, being in the middle of the Pacific Ocean makes sourcing new and interesting wines a real challenge.

Shane manages it through reading, tasting and research, often talking directly with producers. After approaching us and learning more about our Estate, wines and winemaking, Shane selected 3 of our most special, limited release wines to feature at Vomo: Seresin Rachel Pinot Noir, Seresin Marama and Seresin Chardonnay Reserve.

With passionate chefs like Shane tracking our wines down, they're getting harder to find every day ... unless you fancy a tropical island getaway, in which case we can recommend somewhere we know....

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


It's been such a wet and cool spring so far (just 3 days into it) that even our lambs need woollen coats.

We’ve been hand-raising two little ones, Rudolf (in the wool coat) named after Rudolf Steiner, the father of biodynamic agriculture and anthroposophy, and Rosa (a bit woollier) named… well…, by Scotty’s daughter Gaby.

As they grow, Rudolf and Rosa will stay with us at our Home Vineyard to help us keep the grass mown and add to the diversity of the farm (and provide pretty good entertainment – Rudolf is learning to round up the chooks!).

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

5 Star Sauvignon Blanc

Writing in the August/September 2008 issue of Gourmet Traveller Wine, Bob Campbell MW gives Seresin's 2007 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc a 5 star, 95 point rating.

‘The country’s most expensive sav blanc is a strong statement by Seresin that will no doubt encourage others to go higher. It’s a powerful and complex wine with a strong influence of classy French oak, and mineral and ripe fruit flavours.’

Monday, August 25, 2008

Playing a good hand

Writing for the Times in the UK, wine critic Jane MacQuitty had some lovely things to say about Seresin's 2006 Leah Pinot Noir.

"Pinot noir is not Marlborough’s strongest suit but in the right hands, such as Seresin, aged in French barriques, the result is a spectacular, smoky, gamey red with fine red fruits on the finish."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A wine to try before you die

Seresin's 2006 Marama Sauvignon Blanc has been selected for inclusion in a new book called 1001 Wines You Must Try Before You Die.

Edited by English wine judge and journalist Neil Beckett, there are numerous contributors from around the world. The wines from NZ were selected and reviewed by Bob Campbell MW. Other NZ wines selected for the book come from wineries including Ata Rangi, Cloudy Bay, Dry River, Felton Road, Kumeu River, Millton, Mount Difficulty, Neudorf and Stonyridge.

Graham Beattie, former leading New Zealand publisher, bookseller and book-award-judge, reviews the book on his blog.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Matterhorn's Peak

Congratulations to Christian McCabe and the team at Wellington's Matterhorn on being awarded Cuisine magazine’s Restaurant of the Year for 2008. As well as it's fantastic food, we love Matterhorn for its great coffee, bar, cocktails and wine list - all brought to you by some of the most knowledgeable and passionate barristas, waiters and bar staff we know.

Next time you're in Wellington make sure you visit Matterhorn at 106 Cuba Street, phone (04) 384-3359.

Chef Martin Bosley, from last year's Cuisine magazine's Restaurant of the Year, Martin Bosley's Yacht Club Restaurant, also in Wellington, is cooking for guests at Waterfall Bay on 15 November to celebrate the release of Seresin's new wines. For more details email Jan Whillans.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

"A wine to savour"

Writing in New Zealand's Otago Daily Times, Chamian Smith reviews our 2006 Chardonnay Reserve, with a full complement of 5 stars. She writes "Zesty with hints of smoky oak, lovely ripe fruit and layers of complexity, this is the wine I kept coming back to. It's stylish, textural and harmonious, with layers of flavour and deliciously satisfying, lingering aftertaste. A wine to savour".

Monday, August 11, 2008

In Vogue

The August/September issue of Vogue Entertaining and Travel Australia carries an article about Brad Farmerie's appearance at Seresin's Waterfall Bay Dinners in February 2008. Written by Bev Doole and accompanied by photographs taken by Kieran Scott, it brought back lovely memories of the 2008 dinners and we look forward to doing it all again in February 2009 (13th to 16th). For more information and reservations, email us.

Later in the same issue, it was also nice to see Joe from Sarti in Melbourne. Joe spent time with us in Marlborough and at Waterfall Bay at the end of 2006. In the VE+T article he looks like he's enjoying an equally tough time with his chef and their partners at Moonlight Head Lodge.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Modern Pantry

Our friend Anna Hansen is about to open her new restaurant, The Modern Pantry in St Johns Square in Clerkenwell.

Just like its home in a beautifully restored Georgian building, The Modern Pantry's philosophy is to use traditional and unusual ingredients in new and exciting ways. As well as enjoying Anna's fusion food in the restaurant, people will be able to buy some of the ingredients featured on the menu from The Modern Pantry's Deli.

One of the founders of The Providores, Anna has been guest chef at Waterfall Bay and so we have an inkling of the interesting and delicious food guests will enjoy.

Seresin's 2005 Riesling, 2006 Leah Pinot Noir and 2007 Sauvignon Blanc are on The Modern Pantry's wine list.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Seresin Estate & Chegworth Valley Farm

We have known Dave and his Chegworth Valley family ever since they started selling, and we started buying, their apples, produce and juice at the Kensington & Marylebone Farmers Markets.

When they recently opened this brilliant food store in Kensington Church Street, Dave asked if he could sell some of our produce, namely our organic lemon oil.
Along with our organic and biodynamic wine we make limited quantities of organic olive oils including organic extra virgin oil, a lemon, a lime and a Valencia orange one. So we were very happy to see our produce from a family owned farm in New Zealand available at an English family owned farm shop in Kensington.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

How to Eat, Drink and Live

Even if you don't need too much advice on how to eat, drink and live, Fork and Bottle - Jack and Joanne's Guide to Eating, Living and Drinking, is a great resource for things wine and food.

As well as a comprehensive list of biodynamic wine producers (505 of them as at 5 August 2008) there is a great list of interesting and fun wine, food and food-issue blogs and lots more.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Seresin Wetlands

Despite popular rumour, we are not branching into aquaculture. While we are pleased to see our wetland areas thriving, we hadn't planned for them to extend quite this far. This last week's weather has surely reminded us of Mother Nature's power.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Expanding the Brood

The latest critters to join our happy farm are 4 Australorp and 4 Barnevelder chickens. We hope they’ll enjoy their new home!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Seresin, Naive and Melvin Day

Seresin is proud to support the Millennium Gallery and two new exhibitions which open this Friday.

Stabat Mater, an exhibition by one of New Zealand's most distinguished artists, Melvin Day, brings together painting, music and literature, with a collection founded on the music of Vivaldi and a collaboration with French writer Frédéric-Yves Jeannet.

Naive is the personal art collection of our own Jim Rawdon, Seresin Cellar Door Manager.

He says "my interest in naĩve art started some thirty years ago with a corn cob! It was being fed to a large bear by a kind little man and featured in an early American folk art painting. I was taken with the perspective, colours and sheer absurdness of the subject.

My collection contains pieces created by largely untrained, passionate people, often using colour and scale for emotional effect rather than documentation. Kiwis, ferns, cabbage trees and sheep often brought together with striking Maori motifs, make these precious things truly unique to Kiwi culture."

Join us for a glass of Seresin wine and support our local art gallery, at 6:00pm Friday 18 July.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Birthday !

Three reasons to celebrate - one year of blogging, American Independence Day (special holiday cheer to Wendy, Jason, and our friends in the USA), and last but not least - Happy Birthday Misha !

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fine Fabulousness

Yvonne Lorkin reviews wines for a number of regional newspapers in New Zealand, and going by this review we saw in Hawke's Bay Today, it seems she approves of our 2007 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc.

'I know what you’re saying, $50 for a bottle of sav? But for those of you who appreciate the finer points of fabulousness will understand when I say that this is a Sauvignon that will seduce you. Attention to detail has produced a powerfully built, yet delicate wine bursting with crushed lime and lemon zest, fresh herbs, puha and prickly sorbet like characters. Incredible persistence of flavour caps off this stunning organic, biodynamically-produced sauvignon, lovers of which should call Seresin Estate on 03 5729408 or go to *****'

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Celebrating the Solstice

The winter solstice marks a significant celestial event for us at Seresin Estate – our ‘New Year’. The days are the shortest of the year, harvests have just ended, and the annual cycle is about to begin again, anew.

Noon on June 21st marked the winter solstice this year and we celebrated with a solstice / harvest party and activities of joy and thanks. We took a hayride around to each of the sites in the vineyard…

…Marked the solar zenith on our Wairau strata sculpture (by Chris Booth).

…Gave thanks for 2008 by returning the rewards of the year to the ground that provided them and welcomed the 2009 growing season.

…Blessed the foundation for the new year by laying the first layer of straw on a new compost pile.

…Laid flower offerings at our sentinel stone.

…Made a rainbow of our handprints.

…Planted strawberries for our future.

…Made wishes for 2009 into our solstice fire, and concluded the evening with food, drink, music, fire and frivolity!

Many thanks for 2008 season and blessings to everyone for 2009!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chardonnay Reserve

The 2006 Chardonnay Reserve continues to receive rave reviews - the following from Yvonne Lorkin who writes for a number of New Zealand newspapers:

Seresin Marlborough Chardonnay Reserve 2006 $40 *****
Oh my gawd! Here’s 750mls of amazing, juicy, tropical, honeyed, smoked bacon-y, grapefruity gorgeousness. Hints of lemon verbena and almond meal lead to a powerful, punchy flavour that gradually slips away leaving a deliciously fresh, tangy, textural finish. Whether the fact that Seresin are certified organic and biodynamic has anything to do with how fabulous this wine is I’m not sure. All I can say is buy it! Go to for stockists or to order.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

An Auspicious Moon

Our last day of harvest for this season was Thursday June 19th when we picked the last of our olives. It happened to coincide with the full moon whose breathtaking beauty graced our morning sky as it set, while the sun rose on the opposite horizon. With deep gratitude we give thanks to our land for a bountiful harvest.

Organic Viticulture Field Day

Organic Winegrowers New Zealand (OWNZ) held their first Organic Viticulture Field Day on Friday 13th June. Seresin Estate hosted the afternoon session, which began with an introduction from our estate manager, Colin Ross, overlooking our compost piles.

We then wandered down to the compost piles where guest speaker Mike Weersing of Pyramid Valley Vineyards introduced the group to the Biodynamic Compost Preparations.

We got 60 willing volunteers to help us finish our second pile by inserting the preparations into the pile.

And finished it off by stirring and sprinkling valerian on it.

Guest speaker James Millton of Millton Vineyards discussed Cowpat Pits with the group while we turned the manure.

From there, Colin led a vineyard walk to show the group our various weeders and mowers.

We finished up the cowpat pits back at the shed where we inserted the preparations and topped them off with valerian.

Mike provided an overview to the group of some of the biodynamic concepts.

The day ended with a wine tasting and conversation. It was a joy to be part of this event and to able to share our story and philosophy of managing the land with the group.

Friday, June 20, 2008

More Praise for Chardonnay

The Chardonnay Reserve is a favourite amongst Seresin staff, and we can now add Bob Campbell, MW to its list of fans. The 2006 Chardonnay Reserve received 94 points and five stars in the June issue of Gourmet Traveller WINE.

"Rich mouth-filling chardonnay with bottle-developed flavours adding extra interest in winemaking and primary fruit and winemaking characters. Has a lovely mix of toast, bran, hazelnut, citrus and spicy oak flavours. It’s bone dry with a lengthy finish. Impressive."

More from Parker

"New Zealand - Biodynamics, Poo Pits and Pigs"

Neal Martin, wine writer for Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, had more to say about his visit to New Zealand, and his time at Seresin, in this month's edition.

"The next port of call with biodynamics at its heart was Seresin in Marlborough, where there was an almost evangelical zeal to the practice, evinced by proprietor Michael Seresin. Vineyard manager Colin Ross was eager to show me his series of quaintly entitled, brick-lined “poo pits” where preparations are made and above them was suspended a large crate of eggshells. To quote directly from the website: “Disease is nature's way of signaling an imbalance. Rather than using chemicals to fight "disease", we farm for diversity and balance to achieve balance and "ease" For example we mow alternate rows to maintain a habitat for bees and other insects and "companion plant". As well as grapes, we grow olives, an array of organic vegetables and fruit and raise chickens, cattle and sheep.” As I drove around the vineyard with Colin, observing the orchard of olive trees and vegetable plots, I could not help thinking about the atavism of biodynamics, how practically all vineyards in the Old World were once a polyculture until the 19th century when wine became more economically attractive. One assumes that these “part-time” viticulturalists had grown vegetables and cereals out of economic necessity, but underlying this is the fact that these were men and women of the land, whose techniques had been passed down from one generation to the other. Polyculture would have created a more diverse, ecologically balanced environment within which vines could grow, without recourse to chemical intervention. Perhaps they had the perfect composition of a vineyard all those years ago?....It will be interesting to follow the evolution of New Zealand’s biodynamic wines and given the ecologically sensitive culture, I suspect more exponents of the practice will be added to that list. The more converts there are, the more information can be exchanged and support is on offer, exemplified by the Calvert Vineyard in Central Otago, which provides biodynamically fruit for three producers: Felton Road, Craggy Range and Pyramid Valley. Scientist Steve Smith MW, was gob-smacked by the behaviour of the Pinot Noir from Calvert, a cynic not so much converted, but certainly one whose mind had been opened. More will follow."

Monday, June 16, 2008

$2,100 Sauvignon Blanc

We are often approached by people looking for donations of wine to help raise money for very worthy causes. Unfortunately, we don't have enough wine to be able to support every opportunity we are presented with. When we weren't able to support a Gala evening for the Roundhouse Studios, Michael Seresin sent a case of 2007 Sauvignon Blanc from his cellar at home.

We're very glad he did. The case raised 800 pounds at auction (about NZ$2,100) and we're sure the generous successful bidder will enjoy every glass.

Roundhouse Studios is a place where young people 11 to 25 years old have an opportunity to learn about TV, radio, music, digital media and performing arts. The Studios exist in the underbelly of Camden's legendary Roundhouse, with rooms for music and production spinning off the main central hub, around the building's lower circumference - a wonderful facility to nurture the creative talent of young people.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Composting with Intention

The first day of this past descending moon we began our composting in earnest. Quite a feat at the scale we undertake but nevertheless all of our energy and enthusiasm goes into it, as this will be the life and nourishment that graces our land for the next year. We give life to an otherwise disconnected, physically separate set of materials by gathering and assembling these elements of life and inserting our biodynamic preparations. We started bringing them together months ago. Some woodchips from a local sawmill; chipped up willow from along our creek; hay grown in our paddocks; manure from our favourite dairyman; grape marc (skins and stems) and olive pomace (pulp and pits) from our organic and biodynamic estate; gorse and broom cut and mulched from our terraces; coffee grounds and egg shells gathered from local cafes. Like a squirrel stocking up for winter, we too have been preparing by gathering all the ingredients to give us a wonderful steaming compost pile blessing us with riches for the spring.

We make three types of compost, each slightly different to suit the needs of the land that we will use them on. Our primary compost piles are quite large and will be used on our grapes and olives. They consist of layers of straw, grape marc, lime and reactive rock phosphate (RPR), wood chips, manure slurry, green manure, coffee grounds, crushed egg shells, etc. Here is a picture of a cross-section of a compost pile where you can see an example of some of the layers.

We have a separate compost pile that will be used in the making of our compost teas. We need this one to be very fungally active so we use more woody materials. The compost that we use for the gardens needs to be more bacterially dominant, so we use less wood and more green matter and food scraps.

Our favourite part of making compost is when we get to use our latest invention – “the slurryator 9000” – to spray manure that has been mixed with water into a slurry onto the pile. Great fun!
All of our compost piles have the biodynamic compost preparations added to them (502-507), temperatures regularly monitored and are turned when the drop to 40ºC, after having risen to 60ºC+. A second round of the biodynamic compost preparations are added when we turn the compost.

We add the compost preparations to the pile by making small balls of cowpat pit, inserting each preparation into one ball, making a hole in the pile with a steel rod and inserting the balled up preparation as far as we can, literally up to our elbows! We do this for preparations 502-506 (yarrow, chamomile, stinging nettle, oak bark, dandelion), but we mix preparation 507 (valerian) with water, stirring it for 10 minutes, creating vortices, and then pour it into holes on the top of the pile and sprinkle it into each of the holes we made when inserting the other preparations.

The primary reason that we make compost is to create a nutritionally and biologically rich substance to nourish our lands and attempt to replace what was harvested from the land this season. It is also a way for us to spread our biodynamic preparations as we apply the compost and use it in our compost tea. We believe composting is a good way to recycle materials that would otherwise be considered waste, for example our grape marc and olive pomace which are rich in nitrogen; coffee grounds which are also rich in nitrogen; and egg shells that are high in calcium.

Here is the first of our creations, approximately 1.4m wide by 1.2m high by 34m long! We added 12 sets of our biodynamic compost preparations (502-507), which gave us about 1 set per 5 cubic meters of compost. That’s 60 ‘up to your elbows’ into the pile plus the valerian!