The property now comprises 60 hectares of vineyard - planted to sixteen different grape varieties - with 2000 tonnes crushed each year. While the Sunraysia and Riverland districts are best known as the biggest grape-growing areas in Australia, Trentham stands alone as the only small, family winery there specialising in growing varietal grapes and producing high quality varietal wines. Most Riverland vineyards are owned by blockers - they produce the fruit for other wineries to turn into wine - and the pressure to over-water in order to improve yields has been increasingly felt in recent years of grape shortages.
Almost half a century ago, the first vines were planted at Trentham Cliffs in far west New South Wales. Trentham Estate is part of the former sheep station called 'Trentham Cliffs' which was settled in the 1930's by the Chanter family. In 1948-49 the riverfront was developed into horticultural properties, and so began the settlement of Trentham Cliffs. Trentham Estate is a small boutique winery specialising in varietal grape growing and production, situated on the New South Wales side of the Murray River, some 15km from Mildura. The Murphy family were pioneers who first established vineyards at Merbein in the Sunraysia area in 1909. John Murphy, who bought Trentham Estate, died in 1997 leaving his sons Patrick and Anthony as the Estate's viticulturist and chief winemaker. Each brother is an expert in his particular field.
Nature FriendlyWe do not use pesticides on our property at all, and are part of a community tree planting initiative, with approx 200 gum trees planted on our property. A large number of parrots and pigeons are apparent, due to grape marc spread on roadways and undervine mulch - also dust suppression. Kangaroos are allowed free reign in vineyards - no barriers.
A large area of protected native vegetation is immediately adjacent to vineyards. No cultivation occurs.
Organic / Biodynamic
We use composted cow manure to build soil carbon content. No cultivation. For fungicides, we follow AWRI recommendations, including withholding periods. We limit the use of individual chemicals to avoid potential resistance. Preventative fungicide is used at 2,4 and 6 weeks post-bud burst (essential for powdery mildew control) then as necessary depending on disease pressure.
Spray diaries are collected from all growers also to ensure their chemical use is to our preferences.
Water Conservation policies
We do have a shortage of water. All waste water is filtered, treated and reused on winery lawns, trees and vineyard.
We do irrigate vines - one vineyard is watered solely by drip irrigation, and the other by mainly low-level sprinklers. This provides full use of available soil and nutrients, frost protection, and allows the cultivation of cover crops and prevents salinity build up.
Measures taken to minimise the use of water include the use of telemetry based gypsum monitors to give accurate soil water status. Vineyards are soil surveyed (1.8m pits on 75x75m grid) to provide a comprehensive Irrigation & Drainage Management Plan. This information is used to design irrigation systems to suit soil type, potential root zone, water holding capacity etc.
We are presently installing IRES (Irrigation Recording & Evaluation System). This very comprehensive tool is connected via the internet to weather stations and evaporation pan readings, and also integrated with gypsum monitors. Maximum water efficiency will be achieved with this system.
New varieties and rootstocks (eg Albarino, Vermentino, Richter 110) have been planted and more will be trialled.
Recycling of dry goods
All wine cartons from warehouse, cellar door and restaurant are recycled. Used trellis materials such as steel posts and wire are sold for recycling. Used irrigation poly-pipe is given to manufacturers to produce vineyard trellis posts. Trucking pallets are also recycled.
Actions to neutralise carbon footprint
Our cellars are underground which minimises the need for energy to cool storage spaces. All sheds are insulated.
The vineyard and winery use ATVs in preference to tractors. Grapes are transported direct from the vineyard to the winery - therefore no need for many cranes, trucks etc.
Some staff members who work the same hours car-pool to work.
The winery has been a participating member of the Murray Darling Foundation for the past six years and has a purchase/contribution arrangement with the group. For every case of wine sold from the Murphy's Lore range, Trentham donates one dollar to the foundation. These contributions are made quarterly in a lump sum and go towards funding for various river conservation projects, in particular the vocational training program at the Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre for undergraduate students. As of February 2008 Trentham Estate reached the 'Principle donor - Gold' level of sponsorship, which is rewarded to members that reach a total of $25,000 in contributions. Trentham is very proud to be a part of this initiative.
We are involved in levy-paid fish research, donate much wine to local clubs and charities, take on several work-experience students every year, and ensure all of our staff have completed the appropriate Responsible Service of Alcohol training.
Our Chef, Dag, works with many local apprentice chefs at the local TAFE as part of development and mentoring programs.