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By JACINTA ROSE
INCLAIR'S Gully might be one
of Australia's smallest wine pro-
ducers, but its conservation
efforts are making a splash across
The Norton Summit vineyard took
out the People's Choice Award at the
National Landcare Awards in
Canberra this year. Owners Sean
and Sue Delaney were delighted to
receive the accolade for their opera-
tion, which is the first advanced eco-
certified vineyard and cellar door in
the Adelaide Hills.
The couple bought their 10.5-
hectare property at Norton Summit
in 1997. A year later, they estab-
lished a 1ha vineyard in an existing
clearing, planting it to sauvignon
blanc and chardonnay.
Having had no previous experi-
ence running a vineyard, Sue and
Sean relied on the assistance of the
Adelaide Hills Vine Improvement
identify the varieties and clones
most suited to the vineyard's site.
They were concerned by the
dwindling amount of natural vegeta-
tion in the Mt Lofty Ranges and have
since turned an area of their proper-
ty overrun by two-metre high black-
berry bushes into a woodland with
the highest conservation rating in
the Mt Lofty Ranges.
Sinclair's Gully is one of only two
cellar doors nationally to have com-
pleted the advanced eco certification
accreditation program run by
Ecotourism Australia. In June the
business completed the Climate
Action Program to achieve climate
action innovator certification.
In the 2009/10 financial year, the
business slashed its total emissions
by 29 per cent after already cutting
24pc from its greenhouse gas emis-
sions and recording a 33pc drop in
energy consumption between 2008
In order to further reduce their
footprint, the Delaneys have
implemented an environmental
which includes pro-
grams to collect all
water from the site and
recycle all materials
used.A solar electricity
system has been
installed, meaning more than two-
thirds of the business's electricity
consumption is generated on-site.
Practical environmental principles
are also applied to the vineyard. The
site was selected for its gentle
northerly slope to maximise sunlight
on the vines, and rows run north-
south to allow equal amounts of
sunlight to fall on both sides. A
Smart Dyson trellis system increases
the total canopy area and maximises
sunlight penetration. The benefits
include a decrease in occurrence of
fungal disease and easier, more even
Synthetic herbicides and pesti-
cides have not been used for the past
nine years, and native grasses have
been planted between rows to
encourage beneficial insects to
"As passionate conservationists,
we could see that traditional viticul-
ture was out of fit with the princi-
ples and practices we were using to
protect and restore native vegetation
on other parts of the property," Sue
"It takes courage to go biodynam-
ic as it takes a while for systems and
populations to recover and balance,
even after just a few years of chemi-
"In our case, pest insects and
weeds got worse before they got bet-
Sinclair's Gully produces single
vineyard estate-grown sauvignon
blanc and wooded and unwooded
chardonnay from their Norton
Vignerons go green
Wine and tourism operation
National Landcare award winner
SEAN and Sue Delaney (pictured) from Sinclair's Gully have developed a busi-
ness model for selling their wine that combines nature-based experiences with
wine tasting, to create complete experiences for visitors.
Their range of unique interpretive nature and environment tourism includes
spring wine and wildflower walks, summer twilight tastings and 'Wine,
Wallabies and Bonfire' evenings.
The event program is constantly evolving and new
tourism experiences introduced last year
included the Phantom in the Forest
concert series, Zen food and wine
matching lunches and hands-on
sparkling wine disgorging sessions.
Sue said taking the multi-
faceted approach had helped
to create a strong brand
image, which has built con-
sumer loyalty and increased
sales and profitability.
She believes success in
the wine industry is created
through having a passion
for a point of difference.
"You can't just sell wine,
you need to find your own
point of difference, some-
thing that you are really
passionate about that will
shine through," she said.
Eco tourism pays dividends
Pinot noir produced on a neigh-
bouring property is combined with
chardonnay to create the sparkling
Rubida - a name derived from the
scientific name of the local candle-
bark gums. It was recently scored 93
points by Australia's best known
wine critic, James Halliday.
A Barossa shiraz, cabernet merlot
and muscat are also sold under the
Sinclair's Gully brand.
All wines are sold domestically, the
majority through the cellar door or
wine club and a small amount to
"Over the past two years, as
demand has grown, we made a deci-
sion to stop supplying to bottle
shops and wholesalers and redirect-
ed this volume through the cellar
door into full retail sale by the glass
and on-premise bottle sales," Sue
said. "We even managed to increase
our prices last year."
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