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TAS Country : June 21st 2012
16 Friday, Jun Farm Feature Pooley wines The secret to good wine can be found in quality fruit that relies on healthy soils, climate and a reliable source of water CELEBRATION: Matthew Pooley and his father John toast the success of their vineyard at Coal R Vineyard the toast land THIS Roger Hanson COAL River Valley winegrower Mat- thew Pooley is reaping the fruits of his passion for viticulture. Matthew and his father John are the principals of Pooley Wines, which has 12ha of vines across two vineyards in southern Tasmania, Belmont at Rich- mond and Cooinda Vale near Campan- ia.Matthew, 42, who has worked in the business for 17 years, is production manager and chief winemaker, while John manages the marketing and financial side of the business. The combination of their fine wines and viticulture practices captured the judges' attention to win this year's Tasmanian Vineyard of the Year award. The award is given annually by the Royal Agricultural Society of Tas- mania (RAST) in association with Wine Tasmania and the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA). At a field day hosted by RAST at Pooley Wines' picturesque Belmont vineyard, head of the judging com- mittee Frank Walker said it was an exhaustive process to decide the vineyard of the year winner. He said vineyards are judged against 14 main criteria and judges look for 45 points across the vineyard. ''We look at what the entrant is trying to achieve from the vineyard, yield and quality,'' Mr Walker said. The categories of judging include soil management, weed control, disease control, pruning of the vine, trellising and water management. Matthew Pooley said major soils tests are done at the vineyards every three years, with minor testing annually. ''Pooley Wines values natural resources,'' Mat- thew said. ''We recognise quality fruit re- lies on healthy soils and climate.'' He said natural fertilisers are used. ''We look at the balance of the soil, have a minimalist approach to build up organic matter to help feed the vines,'' he said. Matthew said in the water manage- ment schedules the vineyards have drip irrigation. ''We monitor the soil moisture for a profile of the soil and change the irrigation as required.'' The vineyards also adopt a responsible approach to agrochemical use. ''Preventative management is the key before any spraying,'' he said. ''Keeping records is critical. We have a holistic vineyard management soft ware to give us an overall picture.'' Another positive step for Pooley Wines is their eight-year history with TIA trials. Dr Kathy Evans of the TIA handed Matthew the final report they have collaborated on with pest disease management and disease modelling, particularly in relation to botrytis. John Pooley said he was delighted the State Government had re- introduced the viticulture course. Pooley Wines has two full-time staff and put on an apprentice who will make use of the course. ''Once our apprentice finishes his studies he will be another qualified person in the Tasmanian industry,'' John said. ''The secret for Tasmania is to produce quality, because we can't produce the quantity to compete with the big vineyards interstate.'' How- ever, the Pooleys are planning further plantings at both sites, and are keen to continue learning by travelling nation- ally and internationally to adopt a holistic approach to their vineyards. The average size of a Tasmanian vineyard is 4.5ha. Pooley Wines is large by Tasmanian standards, but
June 14th 2012
June 28th 2012