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The Vineyards

Exploring the diversity of Yarra Valley through sustainable vineyard practices and fruit sourcing.

Oakridge sources fruit from estate-owned or managed vineyards across all points of the Yarra Valley. It also has contracts with local growers who produce fruit to the specifications and expectations of our viticultural team. This matrix of vineyard sites and fruit sourcing offers an exciting and diverse expression of the vintage each year.

Chief Viticulturalist Steve Faulkner prioritises soil health believing that the key to growing the best grapes is “all about the dirt”.  Sustainable and environmental practices in the vineyard have been the key to achieving the fruit quality and balance required to make exquisite wine.

Embracing Biological Farming

Our approach is called biological farming, which promotes a healthy soil biome. This is achieved through composting, the application of estate-made compost teas, and cover-cropping. Over the years this has also led to an increase in micro-fauna, organic matter and organic carbon in the soil.

Our ‘insectarium’ highlights the life and biodiversity within our vineyard blocks. These management techniques have also been a way of mitigating against climate change. Carbon sequestration or carbon farming (in which atmospheric carbon is captured and stored in the soil) is an increasingly important feature of sustainable viticulture and Oakridge is at the forefront of this initiative.

Oakridge is part of the Yarra Ranges Ribbons of Green Program, which aims to use native plants to restore biodiversity to our sites.

Extreme weather conditions and invasive pests and diseases (including phylloxera and eutypa-dieback) have also brought new challenges and opportunities to our region. But precision vineyard management, AI technology and defensive techniques have allowed us to overcome threats and improve vineyard performance and resilience.

We use a variety of cultural techniques to create balance in each vine and improve resistance against fungal infections. We have also reduced soil compaction by reducing machinery through the vineyard. Chief Winemaker David Bicknell describes all these processes as “an active food chain in which healthy soils lead to heathy grapes, healthy ferments and healthy wines”. Our team neatly sums this up by saying “wines are grown and not made” at Oakridge. We continue to adapt, improve and protect our vineyards every year to grow the best wines possible each vintage.

In 2022, Oakridge was proud to become a certified member of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia in recognition of sustainable grape farming practices.

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