We believe in creating a community, sharing our experience and spreading Contemporary Organic practices for the benefit of all.
At Tamburlaine Organic Wines, we strive to create the best future possible. We believe that working in harmony with our environment is key to growing a flourishing future. Not only for ourselves, but also for our vineyards and the people we care for.
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.
Born and raised in the Hunter Valley, Aaron aspired in environmental management immediately after leaving school. He went on to study at the University of Newcastle majoring in environmental sustainability, biological farming and ecological management. In his first year at university, Aaron conducted a case study on sustainable agriculture here at Tamburlaine Organic Wines, 16 years later he returned to take his place as senior winemaker.
Aaron's career in the wine industry first began in January 2000 when he joined Scarborough Wine Co. Over the following 9 years, he gained experience in all aspects of the wine industry including extensive work in sales, vineyard management, cellar door and ultimately finding his logical place in winemaking. It was within these formative years that Aaron counts as invaluable in the development of his holistic understanding of the wine industry. After gaining experience with some of the Hunter Valley’s most well-known producers such as Tyrrells and Brokenwood, Aaron moved to South Australia to complete his Postgraduate degree in Oenology at the University of Adelaide, where he was exposed to the cutting-edge winemaking technology and research. Aarons career then led him all the way to the Central Coast of California where from 2012 - 2015 he continued to develop his winemaking skills while forming invaluable industry relationships. Aaron continued to develop his skills in winemaking with vintages in Canada in 2006, France in 2009 and Germany in 2011, driven by an insatiable hunger to experience the very best practices in worldwide winemaking.
Upon returning to the Hunter Valley in 2012, Aaron was awarded the Alasdair Sutherland scholarship, an award which aims to foster the talent of aspiring wine show judges. Now with more than 17 vintages under his belt, Aaron has taken up the role of Senior Winemaker here at Tamburlaine Organic Wines, where he is able to pursue his love of sustainable viticulture while managing the increasing annual production from Tamburlaine’s Hunter Valley and Orange region vineyards.
Aaron says "The ‘new age’ of viticulture is here and it’s spearheaded by organic practices. Tamburlaine is at the forefront of this movement and is well positioned to provide excellent wines to a growing customer base who seek wines of place and tread gently on the environment." - "My work ethics and high standards stemmed from working in the Hunter Valley, have followed me to each workplace and built my reputation as a hard but fair leader. I am always excited to pass on scientific winemaking knowledge of the Hunter Region, stories of vintages gone by and work to always encourage my staff to seek further education through experience and study."
“As Australia’s largest producer of organic wine, we are very well established, but we still have plenty of room left to grow. Aaron understands this and is more than up to the challenge. We believe that Aaron’s unique combination of technical expertise and passion is the perfect fit for the company,” says Mark Davidson, Managing Director of Tamburlaine. Since 1966, Tamburlaine has welcomed well over 1 million visitors to their Hunter Valley Cellar Door. “The winery has continuously engaged with the wine curious and enthusiasts alike for the last 5 decades. While the winery is no longer the tin shed that it once was, not quite as ‘boutique’, the connection the winery has with a vast number of consumers has been worth every minute invested,” says Mark.
Believe us if you will, but sending wines to a competition is a bit like sending horses to a race. We select our best ones, coming from a long line of winners, polish them carefully and see how they do. Well, that's most of the time.
And sometimes Aaron Mercer our senior winemaker gets adventurous. And something unexpected happens.
Last week at the 2017 Pier One NSW Wine Awards it's our 2017 'Preservative Free' Cabernet Merlot that shone brightest. It was entered in the Young Red blends category against 28 other wines and received a Gold medal.
Wines without added sulphur dioxide (SO2), or 'Preservative Free' wines have become quite popular over the past few years. But what is 'Preservative Free' wine?
Sulphur dioxide is used in the vineyard and the winery to keep the wine fresh and prevent spoilage. Even if it is not added, some SO2 is naturally created during the fermentation of the grapes. But winemakers can choose to add additional sulphur at harvest, or throughout the winemaking process. 'Preservative Free' wine requires contemporary practices in the vineyard and the winery to be made entirely without the addition of sulphur. (read more about The Sulphur Story)
Moreover, according to a recent study some consumers (around 1% according to a recent study) react to sulphur at different levels, experiencing skin irritation, migraine and/or ‘hangover’ symptoms. 1 in 100 people is quite a lot!
All in all, this extra care is definitely worth the results, with beautiful wine that tastes just as good (if not better). Our 2017 'Preservative Free' Shiraz also won Bronze medal, these two are not done surprising you!