1. Tell us about your experience in grape growing?

I have been managing the Vineyards for Patrick Of Coonawarra for the last 5 years, prior to that the roles which I held have been more Corporate or engineering type of roles. Through various work situations and other learnings, I am very keen to reduce the amount of human intervention, and to provide a high-quality product.

2. What prompted you to want to be involved in the EcoVineyards project?

I was once told many years ago that you should always look at the place you work and ask yourself “would you be happy if your kids or grandkids work here” and always remember one day your kids or grandkids will tell people that you worked here.” So, my drive is more about leaving Patrick Of Coonawarra with a better Eco footprint tomorrow than what it has today, so my grandkids can promote my involvement with Patrick Of Coonawarra as a positive.

3. What do you hope to achieve from your involvement in the EcoVineyards project?

A showcase area for Patrick Of Coonawarra VIPs to see what we are doing to help reduce human intervention and improve the natural Eco-systems in our backyards.

4. Have you tried to increase biodiversity on your property before undertaking this project? If so, how?

Yes, sowed wallaby grass, usage of mulch, planned all human intervention by taking weather into consideration with the hope to reduce amount applied.

5. Why do you think it is so important for growers to try and build natural resilience on their property?

Reduction in human intervention which equals a reduction in cost. Less additives decrease many of the WHS risks. Healthier Eco-system and natural option for managing the health of the vines and soils.

An aspect of sustainability includes ongoing financial viability and use of ecosystem services makes sense on a variety of levels. I love the saying, “we live in an environment, not an economy!”

6. Looking to the future, what do you see as a new ‘normal’ for grape growers on their properties?

A move towards permaculture, usage of Native plants and other natural options to aid the decrease in intervention and improve the eco balance.