Local cellar recognized in the top 50 vineyards
By Adrienne Hartnett
Lake Moodemere Estate turned out to be the group’s choice after being recognized in the Young Gun of Wine Top 50 Vineyard of the Year Awards for 2021.
With over 6,000 producers to choose from, the judges narrowed the field to the 50 that best exemplified the values ââof sustainability, innovation and the production of great wines.
To judge the awards, a panel of leading viticulture experts was recruited to personally review all applicants. Dr Catherine Kidman, Mark Walpole, Dr Mary Retallack and Lee Haselgrove joined Max Allen to arrive at a very exciting top 50.
âThe magic happens in the vineyard! said awards panelist Dr Mary Retallack.
âThis is an opportunity for us to celebrate the innovative and regenerative approaches adopted to produce exceptional grape quality, which is reflected in breathtaking wines while taking care of the soil, vines and landscapes with an ecological concern.
âConsumers are increasingly interested in knowing more about the ways in which we demonstrate environmental stewardship. We are well positioned to share these ideas and stories with our customers – the proof is in the bottle. The VOTY finalists are leading the way and the future of viticulture is truly exciting!
Located on the banks of the Murray River, Lake Moodemere Estate is owned and operated by sixth generation winemakers Michael and Belinda Chambers and their sons Harry and Joel.
The estate consists of a single vineyard as well as a heritage listed cellar and restaurant, waterfront accommodation overlooking Lake Moodemere and a 1,000 acre farm producing top quality lambs and a vast acre crop. .
Joel Chambers, the estate’s farm and vineyard manager, said it was nice to be recognized among Australia’s most important wineries.
âIt’s great to be recognized as a small vineyard and it shows that we are competitive with the bigger ones,â he said.
âIt’s the reassurance that we’re on the right track and that what we’re doing is relevant and catches the attention of people in the industry. “
Joel said there had been no comments on the factors that prompted the vineyard to cross the line, but the estate’s commitment to environmentally responsible winemaking would have caught the attention of judges.
âThe fact that we are a farm and a vineyard is quite unique. The integration we are doing with our sheep farm and cellular grazing is probably not something you would see in other vineyards, âhe said.
The winery recently received Sustainable Winegrowing Australia certification, a first in northeast Victoria, and one of ten recognized wineries in Victoria.
âThe idea of ââbecoming certified for sustainability arose during the first lockdown in 2020,â said Joel.
âWe embarked on the path of sustainable development because we found that we were already in compliance with it. It’s been a lot of trial and error. I started cell grazing in 2018 during a drought and noticed how beneficial it was to graze in the vineyard. It has also been of great benefit to our weed management and control.
This led to the carbon capture which I read in AWRI (The Australian Wine Research Institute). If we can prove that we are capturing carbon in the soil; it will really help us on the road to net zero carbon wine. This is something that we hope to achieve in the next 10 to 15 years.
Joel said the entire Moodemere team was thrilled to be recognized as one of Australia’s Top 50 Wineries.
âI think it’s fantastic not only for us, but for the whole Rutherglen wine region,â he said.
“We want to see Rutherglen on the map and in the minds of the people of the metropolis showing that we’re here doing some pretty cool stuff and matching it up with the Yarra Valley, Barossa and McLaren Vale.”
The Vineyard of the Year Awards were created in 2020 to place vineyards across the country at the heart of Australian wine history and the heart of the Australian wine community.
In addition to celebrating the achievements of the top 50 of 2021, four other trophies will be awarded, including that of Winemaker of the Year whose winners were announced in February 2022.