The Brunnen vineyard is directly across the road from Thorley. When we first moved to the area, we were shy to talk to our neighbours Anne & Derek with their tiny postage stamp of co-planted Chardonnay and Pinot noir. However curiosity got the better of us, and now we’ve been making wine from this site since 2014.
Brunnen is the German word for aquifer. Our area is a watershed with high rainfall, and the bitterly cold Winter downpours percolate through the poorly fertile loams and level up in the shale and sandstone layers beneath. This vineyard’s subterranean bedrock is the beginning of the water supply for Beechworth. The vines, planted on their own roots in 1994 require no supplementary water and grow with pleasing vigour. The site is indisputably cold climate, with harvest falling in March and April during all but the hottest harvests.
We’ve worked with Derek and Anne convert the vineyard to organic practices, and it has been correctly organic as of the 2017 vintage. Being a tiny site, we won’t certify for the foreseeable future but when we go for certification for our own site, we’ll see if we can bring this site into the paperwork. Organic certification isn’t the be-all and end-all, but submitting to some form of external scrutiny does carry value.