The pair met while studying at Adelaide University – Erinn in oenology and Janet in viticulture. Erinn’s family had for many years grown herbs for its Jurlique line of skin creams on its biodynamically-certified properties at the base of Mt Barker Summit and in Nairne, and by the time he was ready to strike out on his own as a winemaker the properties proved the ideal spot for his new vineyards.
They share their story here as part of a series profiling wineries participating in the 2016 Cellar Door Festival next month.
“We planted three small vineyards in 2001 – two on the Ngeringa property and one in Nairne – and our dream of growing and making fine biodynamic wines was born, with our first vintage being offered for public sale in 2005.
“In the time leading up to the planting of the Ngeringa vineyards, we travelled extensively through Europe, where biodynamic wine-growing is far more common than it is in Australia and is considered by many the gold standard not just of organic production but of all wine production methods. We were also very taken with the styles of wines we experienced in France and Italy, in particular; wines that emphasised elegance and savoury characters as well as striving to accurately reflect both terroir and vintage.
“Biodynamics is an agricultural and winemaking philosophy, as well as a set of practical methodologies, which aims to work holistically with the soil, the plant, the farm, the climate and the seasons to produce naturally sustainable grapes and wines that are a true reflection of place.
“Our cellar door opened to the public in late 2011 and has become a popular spot for personally guided tastings and end-of-month Sunday lunches. Like the wines, our cellar door is run on a philosophy of simplicity, sustainability, integrity and excellence, with as much of the produce as possible for events coming from our own paddocks, patches and orchards.”
What we do best…
“As one of the first biodynamic wine producers in South Australia and a recognised ambassador within the global biodynamic-wine fraternity, we help to lead promotion of sustainable biodynamic wine production both in Australia and abroad.
“We strongly believe that our wines really speak for themselves, displaying the very characters we have aimed for from the start: European-inspired elegance and a genuine reflection of place of origin.
“While our biodynamic methods see us do much more on our farm than just grape-growing and wine-making, at heart we are wine producers and that is what we do best. As for the wines, we produce across a broad range of varieties and styles but our first love is our signature Ngeringa Syrah, produced exclusively from our premier Iluma vineyard at Nairne. Among our white wines, it’s the Ngeringa Chardonnay that speaks most loudly and proudly for our philosophies.”
What our place means to us…
“Terroir is everything in wine production. Growing grapes and creating wines that accurately reflect all of the vagaries of the individual vineyard and the unique vintage from which they emanate is our primary objective and the true artistry behind the winegrowing craft.
“We have chosen biodynamic production methods in the vineyard and winery expressly for the purpose of allowing terroir to truly define Ngeringa’s wines.
“Ngeringa itself is a small plot with a long history of biodynamic certification. The varied soils provide for a rich range of fruit expression, and the steep slopes and different aspects of the vineyards lend their own characters to the grapes.”
What we will bring to the Cellar Door Fest…
“We expect to stand out – quietly – at the Cellar Door Fest for our biodynamic and sustainability focus and the simple, distinctive elegance of our wines.”
Why we take part…
“As a small winery tucked discreetly behind Mt Barker, we are very much off the beaten Adelaide Hills wine routes. Moreover, our strong agricultural focus keeps us tied to the farm and the vineyards, not leaving us a whole lot of time to meet the public outside of our cellar-door opening hours. This event gives us a chance to come down from the mountain – quite literally – and introduce ourselves to wine lovers who may not yet have met us. We’re very excited to be a part of the event for the first time this year.”
Erinn and Janet Klein will join 180 other South Australian food and wine producers at the 2016 Cellar Door Fest from February 26 to 28 at the Adelaide Convention Centre, where they will have their Ngeringa Vineyards wines available for tasting and purchase.
Cellar door and winery: 119 Williams Road, Mt Barker Summit, phone 8398 2867.
Open for tastings on the last Sunday of each month and during Adelaide Hills regional events.