Clayton Kiely has been looking after the vines at our Borenore property in Orange, NSW since 1999. Winner of Young Vigneron of the Year in that same year, Clayton began working to transform a hill grazed by sheep into a thriving world-class vineyard. In 2012 Clayton assumed management of the vineyard for Tamburlaine Organic Wines.
Clayton's expertise in sustainable farming practices allows him to grow grapes of exceptional quality and "terroir" which continue to produce award-winning wines. He has been a key part of Tamburlaine's transition to “contemporary organics” in Orange, to the extent that this relatively new premium wine region can now lay claim to being Australia's certified organic winemaking capital.
As Clayton says, "organic vineyard management means being proactive, not reactive. There is a lot of talk about the wines and the awards they win, but everything starts with the grapes".
Clayton's research and development work in conjunction with the NSW Department of Primary Industries ensures the vineyard incorporates cutting-edge technologies. When Clayton isn’t on a tractor looking after the 90ha vineyard, he is ensuring the grapes comply with Australian organic regulations and those of the European Union, America and China.
Expressing his passion through newspaper articles, blog pages, television spots and documentaries, Clayton is just as happy sharing his knowledge with consumers. Previously he has appeared on Gardening Australia and in the grassroots documentary, Restoring Earth. His “no worries” attitude and enthusiasm to share his knowledge not only make him an outstanding vineyard manager but also a real industry leader.
Clayton is also an active part of the Orange community, as Deputy Captain of the Borenore Rural Fire Brigade, Coach of the local under-nines soccer team and a member of the Orange Region Vignerons committee. He was the runner-up Organic Farmer of the Year at last year’s Australian Organic Annual Awards for Excellence, so it comes as no surprise this organic industry professional has been named amongst the finalists for Farmer of the Year again this year.
“It’s humbling to be nominated for a job you love," says Clayton.