The following is a few excerpts from Max Allen’s recent article “At Ray-Monde Deux, the winemaker’s pinot noir is a fine match for his beef”, published
When I visited winemaker John Lakey recently at his family farm halfway between Sunbury and Gisborne north of Melbourne, the first thing we did was not have a look at his pinot noir vines or winery. Instead, we piled into his ute with four or five energetic working dogs and drove up to a big paddock at the top of the 230-hectare farm in search of small blue flowers.
As we rattled past a few head of grazing cattle, some baa-ing lambs and a herd of inquisitive goats, Lakey told me about the regenerative farming he practises here. “We had a big fire come through in 2014, which burnt out 80 per cent of the farm,” he said as we parked. “Since then, by having mixed livestock grazing in the paddock at the same time, and rotating the stock from paddock to paddock to stop overgrazing, we’ve encouraged the re-emergence of native perennials like wallaby grass and chocolate lily and blue devil.”
This last plant, with its prickly leaves and stiff stems and distinctive spiny blue flower heads, was the one he wanted me to see. But the devils didn’t feel like showing themselves that day, so we decided to head back to the winery before we got mobbed by curious goats.
Lakey was keen to make the point that, for him, the vineyard – which he is also managing now in a more regenerative way by avoiding the blanket application of herbicides – is just one part of the mixed farming enterprise that is Ray-Monde Deux.
For the full article follow the link at the top of this blog.