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Cullen: A Positive Negative

 

Open the rule book of biodynamic winemaking in Australia and you’ll find Cullen Wines on the first page, paving the way forward for a new generation of evolutionary climate-conscious practices.

 

Now heralded as one of the most future-facing wineries in the country, recently receiving ’carbon negative’ status for their pioneering approaches to carbon sequestration in the vineyard, alongside the ongoing purchase of offsets in support of Western Australia's, Yarra Yarra bio-diversity corridor 400 kilometers north of Perth, it’s no accident that the brand has hit a purple patch not just with the wines themselves, but also with the unwavering purpose that drives the company forward.

 

'It is the way forward and our little piece to balance carbon and climate change', Ms Cullen said.

 

Since 1971 when the Cullen Estate was planted, chemical intervention was minimal and the family’s concern for the environment paramount. From their early days of farming, the Cullen’s were always environmentally sensitive, Vanya Cullen later taking the reins from her parents in 2003 and moving to a more certified biodynamic approach seen today.

Cullen follows the maxim that states that great wines are made in the vineyard.

Thus, prior to planting, extreme care is taken in choosing the best possible site. Fruit for all Cullen Wines is sourced exclusively from two vineyards, the Cullen Estate Vineyard and the Cullen Mangan Vineyard, both certified A Grade Biodynamic by the Biological Farmers Association (BFA) of Australia.

The soils at Cullen are old, granite and gravely sandy loam, overlaying lateritic subsoils. The vines are dry-farmed, helping to ensure maximum fruit quality, and are both pruned and harvested by hand. Low yields enable the flavours of the grapes to develop fully.

 

The Cullen winemaking approach is about connecting and working with nature to make the best-quality wines we can.

 

But where there’s smoke there’s fire, and the true extent of Cullen’s commitment to the earth has taken some brave leaps since the mid-2000s, offsetting its carbon emissions since 2006 and successfully reducing its carbon footprint so that they take more carbon from the atmosphere than they emit. Is that really possible you ask? Yes, it is.

In recent times, the sequestration of carbon in the soil literally between the rows of vines adds an exciting twist that runs back to the wineries' core philosophy of "quality, integrity, and sustainability". The Biodynamic soil and plant health program that is being implemented at Cullen Wines has been increasing the carbon content of the soil. This is atmospheric CO2 being uptaken by the plant leaves and being deposited in the soil via the plant's root systems.

The combination of both offsetting carbon and the biodynamic and organic management being implemented has resulted in Cullen Wines effectively becoming ‘carbon negative’.

In line with Cullen Wines’ continued dedication to sustainability, they are constantly looking for ways to lessen their impact on the environment. Recycling wherever possible throughout the winery and restaurant is another area where significant impact has been made.

 

 

So what of the end result? How do the wines taste in amongst the over-powering rituals and uncompromising commitment to the land? Well, the proof is in the pudding as they say. These wines are among Australia’s best, from entry-level field Blends and other typical varietals right up to their Flower Day Vanya Cabernet Sauvignon, this is minimal intervention winemaking at its absolute best. Visionary, alive, and a deep connection to the past, present, and future of winemaking, we are super proud to be stocking a small selection of Cullen on at Super Super.

 

Shop our limited Cullen Biodynamic Bundle here

 

Images courtesy of Cullen Wines.