Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Major milestone for McLaren Vale organic wine pioneers

Joch Bosworth and Louise Hemsley Smith were way ahead of the curve when they decided to convert their McLaren Vale vineyard to organic.

Back in the mid 1990s, very few consumers had any idea what organics involved - and organic wine-making is still niche today.

The couple behind Battle of Bosworth and Spring Seed were the first to convert in McLaren Vale - and this year marks their 25th anniversary.

McLaren Vale now has the highest number of organic vineyards in Australia - and it all started with back in 1995.

Converting to organics was then a radical move - although extremely foresighted in hindsight. Organic wine sales in Australia have soared in recent years.

From those early days, Bosworth Wines now produce more than 20 wines from their certified organic, family-owned estates under two labels – Battle of Bosworth and Spring Seed - and export to close to a dozen countries.

As there was no existing methodology for modern McLaren Vale vineyards wanting to convert to organic, viticulturist Joch Bosworth (who is also the co-founder and co-owner of Bosworth Wines together with his partner Louise Hemsley-Smith), had to largely invent his own after returning home to the Vale after a stint working in the US.

This included pioneering the use of the local yellow soursob under the vines for weed control, and the modification of a rotary hoe to cultivate only the soil under the vines in order to remove weeds



Today, many of McLaren Vale’s organic growers use Joch’s rotary hoe technique in their own vineyards. And the humble soursob (Bermuda buttercup) has become the Bosworth Wines logo.

“I realised that McLaren Vale’s Mediterranean climate was well suited to organic viticulture”, said Joch.

“Personally, I’d never been too keen on using chemicals, so I took what I knew and made a start, devising the process as I went using some ideas and advice from a few old growers in the district.”

Organic wine - which is wine produced from grapes grown without the use of synthetic or artificial chemicals, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides - must also be subject to restricted levels of sulphur dioxide that can be added to the wine, as well as the chemical fining agents used.

For details see www.battleofbosworth.com.au

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