Fiona and Neil are a formidable team out at Yarrh Wines, situated atop a stringybark laden hill just 10 minutes outside of Murrumbateman.

Yarrh Winery – Neil and Fiona – Photo credit SIMON THORP

Neil is the “outside” guy, managing the land and farming the vines meticulously.  Fiona’s focus is “inside” in the winery and applies her winemaking wand, with each variety and vintage providing a sense of time and place.  This is so the case with this week’s “swirl” – the Yarrh Sangiovese 2019.

The wine has an inviting and vibrant cherry red colour in the glass.

The swirl reveals fragrant aromas of red cherries and ripe raspberries with a crack of clove spice and a dusting of white pepper.

It’s delightfully smooth on the palate with ripe red fruit flavours and is very easy going all the way through to the finish.

The Yarrh 2019 is an excellent example of a cool climate Sangiovese and is just the trick for an Italian sausage straight from the BBQ.

It’s available at the cellar door for $32 and also available online.

Brent Lello

Yass Valley Wine Columnist

Yarrh winery farming techniques – Composting at Yarrh

Composting at Yarrh with Neil McGregor

Our composting program is a big part of our sustainability goals at Yarrh, creating healthy soils, healthy vines, balanced fruit, and vibrant fermentations.

Conventional agriculture feeds plants directly using artificial nutrients, bypassing (and even harming) the natural nutrient cycling processes driven by soil microbiology. Pre-settlement reserves of long and short-chain humus in soils were quickly depleted, and now generally replaced by artificial substitutes.

At Yarrh, we’ve been supercharging the natural nutrient cycle through our composting program for the last 10 years or so. We use winery waste (eg stalks, skins, seeds from the vintage), manures, straw, green waste, and a little clay to produce a highly humified compost and then spread this through the vineyard. This composting process takes about 6 weeks and first goes through a breakdown process, then through a build-up process where humus is created.

When spread in the vineyard, the cycle continues, with soil macro and micro biology incorporating the compost into the soil and reacting to stimulants from plants to release nutrients. The compost, high in carbon, also increases our soils water holding capacity, “buffering” us from dry conditions.

We’re now starting a new program of cover-cropping (in between the vines), which holds the promise of creating sustainable nutrient cycling without the need for compost “supercharging”. Watch this space!

Neil McGregor