Krinklewood – Disco Balls, Biodynamics and the History of the Vineyard

Krinklewood, Biodyamic Vineyard, in New South Wales, The Hunter, Australia

This area in the Western part of the Hunter Valley feels isolated and remote. As you pass through the village of Broke and drive down the 2 lane Wollombi Road, the hill of Yellow Rock rises up on your left while fields reach out past Wollombi Brook to the Mount Broke on the right.  Out here is where you will find Krinklewood, a biodynamic vineyard and winery in the Broke-Fordwich sub region of the Hunter Valley.

We arrived and turned down the lane at Krinklewood.  You can’t help but be transported.  Green vineyard rows are capped with mirror balls. The sunlight catches them and bounces the morning light about.  It’s beautiful with a bit of joyful ktich.

Krinklewood in Hunter Valley Australia 2019 Biodynamic Vineyard
Krinklewood Biodynamic Vineyard with its disco balls and Minti

Rod Windrim, the owner of Krinklewood, met us with his dog Minti.  Meeting Rod, there is no doubt that you are in Australia, he sports a bush hat with a colorful hat band, and an easy going demeaner.

Rod Windrim, vigneron at Krinklewood.
Rod Windrim, Vigneron at Krinklewood.

Birds and disco balls

Rod asked if I had seen the disco balls before.  I had not.  They use this here, as a deterrent for birds.  It’s a bit flashier than the tinsel you see in many places.

“With birds there’s all sorts of partial solutions, there’s no total solution.  Other than standing over them with a machine gun.  This came about because I’ve got a neighbor that moved into the area across the road and the sound of electronic speakers and things drove him nuts.  He was a miner so he was working shift work, so it was my attempt to try to get on top of the problem in a gentle soft sort of way.”

Rod Windrim, October 2019

He’s even thought about adding wings to them, to catch the breeze better. They look fantastic and let you know that this place does not take itself too seriously.  Driving up to the cellar door, you won’t expect a hauty, snooty greeting after seeing those.  It sets the mood. It also makes you think immediately of music, and music as we will see, plays a big part in these wines.

The History of Krinklewood

Rod and his family live in Sydney and started coming to the Hunter in 1978.  They planted a vineyard in Polkobin in 1981. 

“We then moved out of Pokolbin to Wollombi because we felt Pokolbin was becoming too suburban.  Actually we thought, next there will be traffic lights and there were tarred roads…so it wasn’t what we were looking for.  So we ended up moving to Broke, because it was sort of like we were in the country.”

Rod Windrim, October 2019

In 1996 they decided to plant the vineyard here. They spent 2 years doing the research with soil pits etc.  In 1998 they planted to conventional methods, but Rod was researching and found a book by Nicolas Joly on biodynamics. He was fascinated and took a night course on biodynamics. He would rush home late after the class and wake his wife up to tell her all the exciting things he had learned.  It was the synergy of this method that really attracted him.

The contractor they were working with was open to this, while still a bit skeptical.  They started using biodynamic preparations in 2002 and were certified biodynamic in 2007.

Krinklewood, Biodyamic Vineyard, in New South Wales, The Hunter, Australia
Krinklewood, Biodyamic Vineyard, in New South Wales, The Hunter, Australia

When I say certified biodynamic, it is for the entire property, which includes an orchard and garden, as well as multiple animals they have on the property.

They had sheep, but spent so much time moving the electric fencing, as they moved the sheep from area to area, that it became too much work.  With biodynamics, you cannot use chemical drenches to kill worms and parasites in your sheep. The alternative is to have pasture open to heat and light and allow the parasites to die before allowing the sheep in that field to graze.  Hence the moving of the fencing constantly.

The inspiration for the Krinklewood label

They still have cattle, but the numbers are dwindling due to the draught.  The cattle are an important symbol here, you see them on the label.  These are Limousin cattle.  When they bought the property they had 60 head of these cattle here.  This breed comes from the Limoge province in France.  The ancient cave paintings here were the inspiration for the Krinklewood logo.

  • Cave Paining in Lascaux Cave in the Dordogne region of France
  • Krinklewood, Biodyamic Vineyard, in New South Wales, The Hunter, Australia

In addition, they have chickens and there are geese.  The idea is biodiversity. It is bucolic and beautiful and it makes you breathe deeper, wrapping you in a sense of calm.

Next we head out for a “wander” as Rod says, to see the property and discuss their biodynamic approach. You’ll want to check back to join us.

Sources & Resources

And here is a link in case you want to look up the books by Nicolas Joly that he refers to! https://www.amazon.com/Biodynamic-Wine-Demystified-Nicolas-Joly/dp/1934259020

And if you, like me, are interested in these cave paintings…

Ancient History Encylopedia Lascaux Cave

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Robin Renken CSW (photo credit RuBen Permel)

Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.

When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.

How to measure a year – 2019, specifically..

Calendar

Years….they used to take forever! No longer. Now they often seem to speed by in a blur. The coming of the New Year makes me nostalgic. I sit warm, happy with a full belly and I remember that this is not to be taken for granted. Time for a little reflection and gratitude.

I head to social media to reflect on the year. Remember the days when we had journals or diaries or a box of photos? Well, technology has allowed us to share those memorable moments, both big and small.

Instagram is my go to photo journal. So I’m sifting through to give you an idea of my year…holy crap there are alot of wine photos! LOL!

The Quiet Time

My photo essay of the beginning of my year…snow, studying, a Valentines Day on the ice, new Ramen places, hiking at Mount Charleston, beautiful sunsets, reading by the ocean in Carlsbad, high tea with friends, the super bloom in San Diego, a blind tasting event and of course, Loki. Okay…that gets us through the quiet months.

Double click on any of the photos for a larger picture and perhaps a bit more information.

The Scenic Route

We did our typical drive a million miles summer vacation. This year it was named “The Scenic Route”. It took us from Vegas to Tahoe, to Mount Shasta, to Southern Oregon, through the Columbia Gorge to the Yakima Valley, Walla Walla and then back through the Willamette, down to the Applegate Valley and finally to Yosemite before traveling home. We met incredible winemakers, saw beautiful scenery and vineyards and while we shared the overall story of our trip this year, you can look forward to many more in depth pieces on the places we visited this year.

Studying

Then we rested…that should be what I write next. But no. This was crunch time for me. I had been studying all year to take my test to become a Certified Specialist of Wine. After a 13 week course and then months of additional study I hoped I was ready. I was…

#OurAussieWineAdventure

Now was it time to rest? Nope. We were off to the Wine Media Conference in October. Social media got to see much of our trip…there are still interviews and articles to be written in the new year. Here is a glimpse of our travels through New South Wales Australia. We dubbed it #OurAussieWineAdventure.

So, exhausted and exhilarated, we returned. At this point the holiday’s approached and our 2nd Annual 12 Days of wine celebration was at hand.

12 Days of Wine

Here is a link to that page. 12 Days of Wine 2019. You’ll find fun video reveals and details about each of the wines there.

Now we’ve come to the end of the year. It was a full year. We have writing to do video’s to create and tons of content to share with you. And…there will be new adventures. For right now…I’m going to relax and then day dream about what the New Year might hold.

Want more details on some of these great spots?

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