Earlier this year I had the pleasure to meet Pamela and Murray Lincoln, the owners of Oranje Tractor, a small organic vineyard near Albany. I was inspired by their story and thought I’d share it with those of you who love organic wines or are looking to start your own foodie venture.
Pam tells burger boy and I that the inception of Oranje Tractor goes back 20 years when she was living in the city. Pam was a trained dietician and lived in West Leederville with her husband Murray. They both had nice jobs and it wasn’t until they asked the question of “can we imagine doing this in 10 or 20 years?” that they started to work towards making their dream of having their own organic winery a reality.
Kate Lamont and Pam had gone to school together back in the day when the only wine school was in the Barossa Valley. Pam said Kate didn’t enjoy Barossa Valley much so rather than heading to Barossa Valley, Pam decided to book herself a wine education class in Claremont. It was at this wine education class that she learnt that Charleston University had a wine school which was available externally and part-time.
So Pam took the plunge and did the course externally. When she graduated from wine school, Murray’s very generous parents offered to give them “some of their inheritance now” and gave them land (a cow paddock) to start their dream organic winery. Pam and Murray built their house themselves in 1996, planted over thousands of trees and using vineyard cuts from their friend’s vineyards started to grow their organic grapes.
This is their beautiful organic winery 20 years later which we visited earlier this year…
As some of you may know, I have a bit of a reaction to some wines. I call it an Asian Alcohol Rash and I am still curious all these years as to what exactly causes the redness when drinking certain wines. In my self-conscious early 20s I would use So2Go, these days I just go with it and if my face goes red, it goes red. It doesn’t however stop my inquisitive mind asking any wine maker/expert as to what preservatives they think could possibly cause this Asian Alcohol Rash. Pam didn’t have the answer but I am happy to say I didn’t get a reaction from Oranje Tractors wines which are made from organic grapes 🙂
Oranje Tractor don’t use any harsh chemicals and Pam tells us their choice to produce wines this way is as much about the environment as it is about the wine making process. Pam explains that organic wines are more expensive to make. At conventional vineyards, wine makers can just spray everything whilst bunched up. In organic vineyards, they have to go through and separate foliage by hand to avoid moisture and mould as well as hand-pick out the snails.
Oranje Tractor have certification to grow grapes organically but can’t officially call their wine “organic” because they need to adhere 100% to the organic wine making process which she tells us is an expensive exercise. However, this doesn’t concern Pam as she tells us that producing organic wines for Oranje Tractor isn’t a marketing tool but rather their wine making approach. What matters to them is being able to guarantee grapes are grown organically.
Other Taste Great Southern posts on foodie cravings: