The Minimum Manifesto.
A story in 9 parts.
We will always.
1. Support nature to be its most delightful;
2. Make quality, fruit-forward wines that are a true expression and celebration of the grapes harvested;
3. Continue to 'seek the minimum' necessary to make great wine.
We use only organic, regenerative growing principles in the vineyard to nurture our grapes, so they can become who they always knew they could be. We use only organic practices and ingredients in the winery and intervene with our ferments as little as necessary to support them in becoming great quality wine, made to nourish inspiration in the drinker.
For us, making wine is like making great food—it’s a dance, you, nature, the wine. It’s something you create. Like a great meal. You take quality, organic, ingredients, combine them simply—adding only what is necessary, when necessary—to create an amazing dish that celebrates the key ingredients.
Both our winemaking practices and our vineyard are fully certified organic as of late 2019 (our 2018 and 2019 wines are considered 'In Conversion Organic' due to the three-year process of obtaining full certification). Converting to organic, regenerative farming practices has completely transformed our vineyard’s health and the quality of our grapes and we hope to serve as an example that farming practices can change for the better, on both small and large scales.
Vegan and raw.
No animal products are used in the making of our wines and they are never heated.
Why this approach?
Matt & Lentil’s background is organic vegetable and flower farming and very lo-fi (natural) winemaking. Alister’s background is traditional winemaking on the heels of his father and his father’s father. Together, we are meeting in the middle to create wines that are completely organic from vine to bottle and as true to the grapes we harvest as possible. Because when it comes down to it, we just want to make really great wines in styles that we love to drink, and without all the artificial crap. And we know what tools we’re happy to use, and which we don’t want anything to do with.
In the vineyard.
It all starts in the vineyard. For over three years now we have been practicing solely organic, regenerative farming techniques in our vineyard, including green manure cover crops, compost tea dispersion, mulching, under-vine cultivation, no nasty chemicals or unnatural pesticides, and smarter watering practices that save massively on water use. The results have been magnificent. We believe that the healthier our soil gets, the healthier our vines get, the better the character of the fruit gets, the less we need to do in the winery and the better our wines get.
In the winery.
In the winery, we promise to be transparent about everything. We aren’t against adds (additions) as a blanket rule. If called for, we will adjust acid levels (with tartaric acid—a by-product of the winemaking process) or add tannin (derived from organic hazelnuts) to create a more harmonious palate. We also utilise enzymes derived from fungi to make the nutrition of the fermenting grapes more bioavailable to our yeasts. Every one of our adds is completely organic and naturally derived and we use them only when needed, only in minimal amounts.
For us to use an ‘add’, it must be three things:
1. 'Minimum impact' (i.e. it doesn't alter the true character of the wine).
2. Massively enhancing to the finished product (like a chef adding a pinch of salt to a dish—small addition for big results).
3. From nature. Because we would never put our name to anything that was otherwise.
We ferment in a variety of seasoned (old) barrels, stainless steel tanks, and some new barrels for spice. We start all of our ferments wild and use organically cultivated wild yeast strains isolated from biodynamic vineyards only when necessary for stuck ferments. In vintage 2020 (yet to be released), we successfully wild-fermented every single one of our ferments and plan to no longer use cultivated yeast cultures, even as a backup.
We sometimes fine (with organic pea protein), filter (with diatomaceous earth or inert membranes) and add small amounts of sulphur to our finished wines after they are finally racked off their lees to ensure we get the wines to you as fresh and delicious as when we bottled them.
Minimum will always give back to nature, not take from it. We will always support charities we believe in and advocate for change. We are proud partners with One Tree Planted, and by planting 1 tree per dozen, per year, our wines sequester more carbon than they produce. That 1 tree will sequester 10 bottles worth of carbon every year once mature and before we even started making wine our vineyard and winery were already over 50% offset by trees we’d planted previously. That means that in our first vintage, 2018, we sequestered 130% of the carbon made in producing our wines and we’re adding another 80% to that figure every year.
All of our packaging is 100% recyclable or compostable and most of it is made from 100% recycled materials itself. In the winery we practice minimum waste methodology and all of our spent grape marc is composted and returned to the soil.
An ode to cork.
We bottle under cork. This is why. In short:
1. Cork is 100% compostable whereas screw caps, while their components are technically recyclable, are almost impossible to actually recycle.
2. Cork is a carbon negative product sequestering 70 times more greenhouse gases during its growth than is produced during its transformation into wine closures. Screw caps, on the other hand, generate twenty times the amount of greenhouse gases than corks during their production and sequester nothing.
3. Cork is a zero waste industry.
4. Cork is incredibly abundant—there is not, nor has there ever been, a cork shortage.
5. The phenomenally biodiverse cork forests are the most sustainable forestry crop and one of the most efficient carbon sinks on the planet. But when we don’t support the cork industry, those 200 year old forests get cut down and planted to other conventionally farmed commercial crops instead.
We would love to see cork embraced and returned as a mainstream bottle closure in Australia. The cork industry’s processes are better than ever and faults arising from ‘bad’ corks now occur less than ever. So buy bottles under cork. You will be supporting a healthier planet.
PS. We bottle our Pét Nat's under crown seal because the steel caps fully separate from the bottles and the steel is infinitely recyclable. Unlike screw caps, steel crown caps are ferrous (i.e. they can be collected by magnets) so they don't get lost in waste streams and are efficiently recycled.
We are so proud to have this opportunity to take a conventionally farmed vineyard, convert it to thriving organic health and bring the fruits of those vines to you in a form that is healthily, organically and thoughtfully made, has attention to detail and is full of love. We believe in great vineyard practices and that soil health is the true key to great wine. And we will honour every grape, every harvest.
We will continue to 'seek the minimum'. Every year we are running sans-adds, sans-filtration and sans-sulphur trials and will continue to refine our definition of what minimum really means. We hope you join us on the journey.
If you have any questions about our processes, please don’t hesitate to email us.