“Live by the sun, love by the moon.” The principles of biodynamic farming are rooted not only in the soil beneath our feet, but in all that swirls – animate and majestic – above our heads. Those celestial orbs that govern our diurnal cycles are also believed to govern every living organism on our planet, from micro to macro, from the cells in the human body to the cells in a humble grape. It’s for this reason that the grapes at Krinklewood biodynamic vineyard in the Hunter Valley, NSW, are grown with all things considered: the moon, the stars, the soil, the animals – basically the entire ecosystem in which they exist. Every bottle of Krinklewood wine has been produced according the rigorous standards organics or biodynamics, which is essentially the highest strata of ethical farming. It’s a fastidious process, but one that’s well worth it.
The family-run property isn’t just substance and high ideals either, it’s postcard-worthy pretty, reminiscent of the French countryside, boasting a 90-year-old vineyard, livestock, kitchen gardens, an adorable farmhouse, and a pretty raucous crew. Pete Windrim, son of Rod and Suzanne Windrim who founded Krinklewood back in 1981, is lucky enough to live and work there most of the time together with his folks and his wife Nina, a travel writer who divides her time between Krinklewood and absolutely everywhere else. It’s a tough life for some. Pete took a moment out from grape-stomping (he doesn’t actually do this but I like to imagine he does, it’s the romantic in me) to chat with RUSSH about his “buzzing biological ball of good energy”, the woman who lit up his dreams, and why we should all consider the "cosmoir" of the wine we drink.
Tell me about the ethos of Krinklewood...
Krinklewood is a family owned and run vineyard and farm that is certified organic and biodynamic. Our main aim is not just to produce wine, but to feed and nurture our special plot of land with life and love and make it a buzzing biological ball of good energy. That also makes great wine. We believe that the winemaker doesn’t 'make' the wine, but the entire farm does. From the earthworms to the cattle, to the eagles soaring above, and beyond to the cosmos.
What is biodynamic farming and why is it so important?
Biodynamic farming is essentially about regenerating the planet by using not just organic, but agri-homeopathic practices, done in accordance with the lunar cycle. Your focus is on the future and the health and vitality of your soil so your grandchildren’s grandchildren can eat nutrient-dense food in years to come. And that includes grapes, and, in turn, wine. It’s a 90-year-old farming principle that was born out of the demise of our land from chemicals that were sold to farmers after the war. Chemicals were made for war. And we are not at war with our soil. So let’s wage love, man.
What’s your background and what made you decide to get into winemaking?
I too used to work in magazines. My last job in that life was Creative Director of GQ in India. But I’d always loved wine, loved what my old man was doing with biodynamics at the farm, and soon enough an interest became an urge, and an urge become a desperate necessity. It made me so insanely happy to get into it. Wine is also a fantastic art form, just like music and painting.
Krinklewood is a family run business – what’s it like working so closely with family? What are some of the benefits and challenges?
It’s amazing. I feel so lucky to work with my family. My dad and I are best mates, and we knock about like mates too. We work hard, have a few fun beers, play guitars, and every now and then get annoyed at one another. But at the end of the day we share a common dream and passion, which is fairly rare to share with another human being let alone your dad, and that binds us with the best energetic glue. My wife Nina though, she has been the one fuelling my fire. The day I decided to become a winemaker (and literally a new person), she was shouting encouragement and throwing confetti. She believed in what I was about to do more than me, and I’ll love her for it forever. She lit up my dream.
Why should we be drinking organic or biodynamic wine over conventional wine?
It’s made with love and care, and consideration for the planet. And, there’s no damn chemicals used in the vineyard or winery. But the beautiful sting is, you are tasting wine that is a true representation of where it’s made. The French call it “terroir”. We call it “cosmoir”. But it’s honest to goodness “there you are”, this is the taste of our farm in a glass. And because of the fact there’s no chemical intervention, you don’t get a bloody hangover.
So in the unlikely event you were far from home and couldn’t get your hands on a bottle of pure Krinklewood goodness, what would be your ultimate hangover cure?
Huevos rancheros with champagne, sex, back to sleep. Simple.