Winery on challenging voyage to become certified organic

Pierra WillixBusselton Dunsborough Times

After undertaking various practices to establish an organic farming culture, Voyager Estate has announced it will be transitioning to become certified organic within the next few years.

Voyager Estate winemaking and viticulture manager Steve James told the Times 40 hectares, or roughly a third of the vineyard, was in the process of converting to become certified organic.

He said the winery was “already a long way down the path” of farming organically and said only a few changes needed to be made to become certified.

“The way we have been running the vineyard has included practices like using organic products and also utilising compost and so we now just have a few final steps to alter before we can become certified organic; however, it will be a relatively small transition for us,” he said.

“I think you make better wine by farming in this manner and it is also great to farm in a very environmentally sensitive matter.”

However, he did say the winery had two main challenges to overcome.

“The main issue we have had in Margaret River farming organically was two things — dealing with weeds and weevils,” he said. “We have been doing more under vine cultivation to help control the weeds and relying more on cultivation during early spring and winter.” The move will see all of the estate’s vineyards transition to organic certification within the next two to three years.

Mr James said the demand for organically produced wine was growing locally and inter-nationally.

“You certainly see overseas that there are a lot of countries that are very conscious of organic food and wine and are interested in how these are grown,” he said.

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