Nestled in the Cudgegong Valley on the outskirts of Mudgee NSW lies the beautiful vineyard and winery of Thistle Hill. Established in 1975, Thistle Hill is one of the oldest vineyards and wineries in the region that has been certified organic by the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA) since 1993. Our vineyard is unusual, even in the organic world, as chemical sprays have never been used on our vines. We are as pure as we can get; - you can taste the difference. Our long-term organic status means the vineyard is free of all synthetic materials - including toxic pesticides, herbicides, fertilisers and systemic fungicides. The sustainable principles in the vineyard translate to more concentrated and well-balanced fruit each vintage, which in turn makes elegant, fruit-driven wines that speak for themselves - just as nature intended. We are proud of our fine organic vines and our true commitment to the earth that sustains them.
We actively promote the methodology of organic farming and to that end Thistle Hill has from the early days, planted tree breaks to attract and keep the dozens of bird species that call it home. These birds are an integral part of the organic pest control at Thistle Hill. We install bee hives to help with pollination each year. During winter we have sheep in the vines to do our weeding, slashing and help with fertilising. Rather than use synthetic fertilizers and sprays, Thistle Hill has, from early days used compost to build the soil. This building of our soils as well as our organic methodologies has made for high quality and healthy vines. Remember a healthy vine can resist a lot of disease and pests. All in all a great concept and we are totally devoted to it.
As part of our expansion, Thistle hill has amalgamated with another adjacent organic vineyard, “Erudgere”. Both vineyards are under the Thistle Hill umbrella and each has a fascinating story to tell.
In 1858, the first person to cultivate grapes in the Mudgee area was Adam Roth. In the 1860s, Adam Roth commissioned a brick residence where his son Henry Roth was to work and live out his days. This original homestead on Hill End Road served as a roadhouse in the goldrush era in the 1800's. This residence is on our farm and has a fascinating story of its’ own. Henry grew grapes to make fortified wine. He would sell his wine for 2/- for a 26oz bottle and if it was a reserve the price was 4/- for a 26oz bottle. A month before Christmas each year, Henry left the farm in his four wheel horse drawn buggy and travel as far as Hill End taking orders for his wine. At the rear of the house is the origional set of outside fermenters and older locals can remember Henrys’ sons working a hand press at the fermenters. Henry would make 1000 gallons each year. Henry also had extensive peach orchards on the land and kept milking cows and sheep. The remains of the wool shed, milking shed and stables can still be seen. All work was done with draft horses and in his will, Henry directed that six draft horses be kept and used on the farm.
The residence is in remarkably good order and renovations have begun. Underneath and adjacent to Henrys’ house are two wine cellars with evidence still there of the old hardwood yokes used for the barrels. Parts of the old orchard still exist and decendents of the original grapes still grow there.
Thistle Hill was founded back in 1975, making us one of Australia’s longest operating organic wineries. David and Lesley Robertson chose this spot to plant their vineyards on soils first planted with grapevines in the mid 1800’s by the Roth family, one of the founding families of the Mudgee wine region.
The union of Thistle Hill with Erudgere Vineyards brings these two properties together and they now form a good sized winery and vineyard with 100 acres planted to vines.
So are wines made organically as good or better than conventionally made wines? We think the feedback from our loyal followers and the results of over 100 medals and trophies won over the last 35 years say it all.
In the mid to late 90’s, Thistle Hill’s Cabernet Sauvignon was rated as one of the ‘continent's best’ by reviewer Robin Bradley and was awarded a coveted five-star rating, five years in a row. Now in 2010, James Halliday has rated Thistle Hill Wines with 4.5 stars. Six wines – 90 points or more!
Our whites have also received a lot of attention. Thistle Hill’s 2009 Riesling was awarded "The Best Organic Wine" at the NSW Wine Awards and then "The Best Organic Wine" and "The Best Organic White Wine" at the 2009 Australia and New Zealand Organic Wine Show.
Don’t take our word for it; visit us at the Cellar Door or our secure online cellar door for some great special offers and judge them for yourself!
Last Updated (Thursday, 17 October 2013 04:43)