Newsletter Vintage 2009

Finally the intelligentzia is seeing the light. In October 2008, the United Nations (UNCTAD) published a report on “Organic agriculture and food security in Africa” and concluded that “organic agriculture can be more conducive to food security in Africa than most conventional production systems, and it is more likely to be sustainable in the long term”. It also found that organic farming “can build up natural resources, strengthen communities, and improve human capacity, thus improving food security by addressing many causal factors simultaneously.”

What a season it has been! As the harvest draws to an end, we can reflect on what was a difficult year many vignerons have had . We can’t complain, as we didn’t have the Victorian fires or Hunter Valley floods. We actually had a nice spring ith good November rain, then not much rain at all until now. The weather was mild until the heatwave hit in February, disrupting veraison of the red grapes. Luckily the Cabernet is actually ripening better than expected, and the Shiraz is looking great. In 2008 we had a worse combination of rain and heatwaves just before harvest.

In September we released our very first sparkling wine and it has been our most successful wine ever. The 2008 Vintage Sparkling Chardonnay holds the bottle shop speed record: A bottle shop owner called us to say that from the time he restocked the wine rack it took only 10 minutes for a whole dozen to be sold! We are looking forward to building on this success with the 2009 Sparkling Rose, this September.

The last six months brought us some fantastic WWOOFers (volunteers): Cecilia and Celine from France, Nina from Spain, Pawell from Poland, Lara from Holland, Tess from England and Link from Korea. Tess stayed the longest with 3 months in two parts. Our next WWOOFer is a french agriculture student who is booked to stay with us for 5 months.

The Rosnay table wines are getting better every year, especially the 2009 Rose and the new Semillon-Sauvignon
Blanc. It was however a trialling vintage with our attempts to make wine with as little additives as possible leading to some heat instability (slight cloudiness) in these two wines. Even so, they are some of the best tasting wines we have made yet. The reds continue to improve with wine age.

Over ten years have passed since the Stathams lodged their plan for an organic farming community on their farm at Canowindra, now known as Rivers Road Organic Farms. Now there are four finished strawbale houses with Margie and Wooly’s state of the art mudbrick , cob and strawbale house the latest edition. All of the houses are of course different, reflecting the individuality of all RROF members. If you just missed Woolstock, Wooly’s grassroots music festival held annually at RROF, dont miss it next year, around mid March.

As a founding member of the Network of Concerned Farmers, Sam chaired two local meetings of visiting farmers from the US and Canada in March. Moe Parr from Illinois was sued by Monsanto in 2007 for servicing farmers who keep their own seed. Ross Murray grew GM Canola in Canada. He decided to stop due to its poor performance, but then the commercial non-GM seed he bought was also GM contaminated, causing more problems in his other crops. Will we ever learn? Its not too late to keep the consumer pressure on through the True Food Network.

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