Proud Primary Produce
Stuart Proud is one of Australia’s leading lights in sustainable viticulture. He is passionate about soil and plant health and knows first hand that it is better achieved without the use of chemicals and synthetics. In Stuart’s own words…. “Being a viticulturist by trade means all the efforts are focused on the health of the vineyard. Making small batches of wine for over 10 years from the fruit I grow has led me to produce the style of wines I like to drink myself and that match well with food. The wines are meant to reflect the site they come from, the season they were grown in and the attention given to the vineyard. The major focus when growing the fruit is based on having healthy and productive soils. The key to good fruit is to have balanced soils; balance between biology, chemistry and physics. Enhancing the health of the soil and vines is done by keeping a diverse range grasses, clovers and other species growing all year round in the vineyard, mowing and mulching instead of herbicide spraying, addition of natural products such as compost teas, humates, seaweed, kelp and fish emulsions help to increase natural biodiversity. Vineyards managed using this approach are healthier and stronger, fruit ripens evenly, while flavours develop with minimal loss of natural acid. All ferments are wild yeast, with no acid additions, no pump overs, no sulphur additions and only some gentle plunging. Minimising the need to intervene with the ferments is the whole philosophy or reason behind making the vineyard the main focus of my attention. This means the wines truly reflect the place they came from and the conditions of that season.”
Stuart’s day job is as head viticulturalist for the Thousand Candles project in the Yarra Valley. His experience and knowledge makes him hot property as a vineyard manager and consultant. In his spare time he makes a tiny amount of wine with fruit hand selected from the vineyards he tends.