Lorraine and John (late) Brewer purchased the property in 1978 with another local family and set out to re-develop an old fruit farm into a vineyard which the winery and cellar door now call home; in the Riverina, Yenda, NSW.
Initially the vineyards were developed to supply larger local wineries, it would be another 20 years of grape growing before Yarran Wines was hatched with the first release of Shiraz in 1998. At the time (and still to this day) we have played the role as small/boutique player in a region of influential and hugely successful wineries in the region. Paving a path to showcase our region’s diversity and varietal expression has meant many years of vineyard and winery development. This next era will see our final stages of organic certification completed, a bigger push into unique regional varieties and hopefully some great vintages under the Yarran brand.
Growing fruit, making wine and sharing it with our customers all on one site brings with it many challenges and long days, in the end we love our role and will keep slowly making our way.
MEET SAM – THE WINEMAKER
Growing up on the vineyard, I had an early fascination and curiosity in the process of grape growing and winemaking after accompanying my father in the truck each vintage to deliver our grapes to local wineries. The noise, equipment and general hype around the winery hooked me in. On reflection I remember asking an older winemaker at the time what he thought of the job; his answer…. “don’t do it mate!”. Some days I feel his sentiment, it does pass when good plans come to and end with a wine being enjoyed on someone’s table.
After work experience at a local winery in my final year of school holidays I went straight to study Oenology at Charles Stuart University. It wasn’t until returning to the Riverina region after completing studies, working for other wine companies and in other countries through the US, China and national wine regions that I really saw potential in the Riverina region.
VINEYARDS + SUSTAINABILITY
For the last 10 years there has been a continued focus on developing our vineyard to a lower yielding, higher quality, more efficient and sustainable operation. In recent times we have embarked on organically farming part of the vineyard and in the next year we will see the certification process nearing completion. In conjunction with organics we have been using a number of techniques such as hand pruning, foliage positioning and shoot thinning which are very hands on but the increase in fruit flavours and intensity is worth the extra work. We have also replanted parts of the vineyard to varieties (such as Montepulciano) that really suit the warm, dry region and are more sustainable in the longer term.
We are currently using solar power for some of our energy needs but will also be installing more solar in the coming months. Within the winery we have converted our winemaking to remove any animal products in the process and are making wines with lower preservatives and less inputs.