In 1997 Richard and Susan Buller bought 50 acres of soft sloping, granite-rich land just outside Rutherglen, with the dream of starting their own vineyard.
Following two years of planning and preparation, in the Winter of 1999 the first Shiraz vines were planted by the family. Twenty years on, 12 acres of land are planted under Shiraz with more vines planned for future planting.
Although not organic, the vineyard is run in the greenest way possible. Grass is kept down the centre rows, which helps with bug control – insects eat the weeds and grasses, rather than the vines and grapes. Pesticides are not used on or in the vineyard. During winter, sheep graze between the vine rows, keeping the weeds at bay, and providing a natural fertiliser. The vines are irrigated using underground bore water pumped directly from under the property.
The family have a small dam on the vineyard, teaming with wildlife, including frogs, fish, yabbies, turtles and ducks, while kangaroos, echidnas and many other types of birds come for a drink or swim to keep cool in Summer.
Future Vineyard Development
Future plantings of different varieties are planned, we are looking at Durif, more Shiraz and grapes for fortified wines.
The fifth generation of Bullers, Richard’s grandchildren, are now old enough to help with the Summer pruning, and they enjoy helping Grampy in the vineyard.
Companion farming involves having animals among the vines to help with control of weeds and pests. The animals also turn the ground over and help to fertilise the soil.