“Just when you think you’ve learned everything you need to know about managing these old vines, they’ll teach you another lesson…”
… a colleague said to Andrew Holt when he took the reigns of the 140-year-old Poonawatta “The 1880” Shiraz vineyard from his parents 20 years ago.
Says Andrew: “This remains true today, with new lessons learned every season – some of them positive, and some of them painful. But that’s farming. Every lesson is one I can learn from and pass on to the next generation.”
An intense, passionate character, whose hobbies include nature photography, Andrew possesses a huge heart and community spirit that is hard to beat.
Less rainfall in recent decades has challenged Andrew to utilize every viticultural best practice available to mitigate this. He applies organic, composted mulch under-vine to improve moisture retention, cool the soil, and improve soil and vine health. Permanent grasses mid-row increase soil microbial health, minimise compaction and support biodiversity. Grazing sheep in winter convert the grass to manure. Andrew has also introduced dung beetles to bury the manure, which turns over over the soil, aerating and allowing moisture deep into the soil.