Tell us in a few sentences about your experience as a viticulturist, how did you arrive here?
After I left high school I went to Dookie College, where I did Production Horticulture specialising in Viticulture. Not long after finishing my course I got my first job at Yeringberg where I worked for 13 years, I was briefly at Seville Estate before getting my current job at Yarra Yering in 2012.
Why did you decide to apply to be an EcoGrower, was there something specific that influenced your decision and/or had you attended a previous EcoVineyards session?
We were looking at doing some trials anyway, so the idea of doing some trials with some added help and experience made sense.
Has there been a defining moment or catalyst for you to move towards more ecologically driven viticultural practices?
There hasn’t been one defining moment to move to more ecological practices. Since starting at Yarra Yering we have been working hard to improve the soil health and where hoping that our trial will add to this.
Can you provide a brief overview of your project ideas, and what you wish to achieve over the 3 years and why is this important to you?
We are looking at trialling permanent under vine cover crops in a dry grown vineyard. Hoping not to compete with the vines too much but compete with weeds, improving soil health and possibly providing beneficial insects more habitat.
Are you just starting to learn, or have you been enhancing biodiversity on your property and is this an extension of what you are currently doing? If so, please tell us more.
We are just really starting out with biodiversity. We have a 3ha area of native bush fenced off, later this year we will be planting some native trees through the local councils Ribbons of Green program trying to add plants to aid an insectarium.
Tell us about your hidden superpowers, something that others don’t know about you or a practice you would like to champion?
Not sure, I love fly fishing.
Where do you see grape growing in the future, do you feel there is an urgency to change current practices? If so, why?
I feel technology in the vineyard will change the way we manage work in the vineyard in the near future, with automated sprayers and driverless tractors being a big part of that.
What else would you like to share with the broader EcoVineyards community, what gets you excited about the future?
Hydrogen / electric tractors