CREATING IS IN THE VERY BLOOD of winemaker and biodynamic farmer, Pete Windrim, who works with his mother and father on Krinklewood vineyard. After several years working as an art director, his tenure split across various cities around the globe, Windrim now calls the Hunter Valley home. In collaboration with Luxe City Guides we caught up with Windrim to discuss country-living, working to the lunar calendar and why we should all be drinking biodynamic wines.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF /THE BUSINESS
My name is Peter Windrim and I am the second generation winemaker and biodynamic farmer at Krinklewood Vineyard. Before returning to the family farm to live and study winemaking I worked as an art director for 15 years in Sydney, London and Bombay. I don’t regret any of this work, but slowly over time the biodynamic work my father started on our farm reached out and grabbed me by the tail and dragged me hollering with delight back to the country. I’ve never looked back, and I’ve never been so energised. The future just seems so fertile.
WHAT DOES AN AVERAGE WORK DAY LOOK LIKE ON THE KIRNKLEWOOD VINEYARD?
My wife, Nina, and I wake with the birds in the dark, then I generally stand in the front yard for a short while with a cup of tea and listen to and watch everything come to life. With biodynamics you often hear people say things like “the farm should be one living breathing organism”. This is true, and one of the purest expressions of this is waking with the animals, then heading inside when it gets dark in the evening when they’re all heading to bed. It’s more of a rhythm thing.
My work varies from winemaking activities, to vineyard work, and gardening tasks. All of which are done in accordance with the lunar calendar. We also have a menagerie of livestock to care for including bees, ducks, geese, chickens, pigs, cows and horses. It’s a busy place, and every lifeform adds to the dynamic interplay of the farm.
WHAT SETS KRINKLEWOOD APART FROM OTHER VINEYARDS IN THE AREA?
Krinklewood is one of only two Biodynamic vineyards in the Hunter Valley. We are family owned and run, and we grow our own grapes without the help of chemicals. It sounds like a fairly obvious or common thing, but the game’s been changing and there’s so many virtual wine operations out there nowadays. People visit us for the story. A story they want to see firsthand and take a little part of away with them. My mum and dad started the business nearly 40 years ago and everything they did they did by “feel”, never for what they thought people might “want”. Dad built our cellar door too. He’s a tough man to live up to.
HOW DOES SCENT EXIST IN YOUR WORK?
I am fortunate enough to have my nose as a major instrument for my work. Scent is the beginning, the end, and everything in between. Unblinkingly I would say these scents are commonly of freshly crushed leaves, of warming compost, to fresh manure, to a vine canopy, to a fermenting wine, the first roses compared to the last roses of the season, olive leaves before and after they throw fruit, or simply to the air in general on a particularly warm or cool morning. My scent is my guide for the good, the band and the beautiful.
DOES SCENT REPRESENT A SPECIFIC TIME AND PLACE FOR YOU?
These scents all shift and meddle and throw up a new mood at any given time. When I was a kid I loved the smell of timber. Timber shavings reminded me of my carpenter father. Also as a kid I spent countless days in the ocean and if ever I’m feeling lost I get myself to the coast and drink in the sea-spray, which was always more potent on a cold August afternoon. Later as a winemaker I learnt a great deal about the relationship between temperature and aroma. One needs to hum so the other can sing. It’s similar to the way warm countries simply smell more enticing than cold ones. There’s an exotic spice to them yes, but it comes with an untapped energy. It’s all kind of carnal I guess.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR CITY?
Sydney was my hometown and will always be my hometown, and the thing I love most about it is that my family and friends are there. The icing on the cake for Sydney though is the food and the beaches. Two things that Sydney offers on a world-beating scale, as not often does one accompany the other so well. And living in the country nowadays you can imagine those two things become all the more exciting.
ANY UPCOMING TRAVEL PLANS?
I’m actually writing these answers from Mt Cook in New Zealand where I’m on a road trip with my wife Nina who is a travel writer. Such staggering beauty here. Shortly I’m off to California with my Dad to see a rock festival and explore some of the Yucca National Park. And a destination that I’m yearning for is Israel. What a heady tapestry of life. And it’s where wine was first made after all!
EAT // My weekends in Sydney generally revolve around dining, as in the country we have to prepare three meals per day which can get a little tiring when the weekend arrives. Favourites are brunch at Three Blue Ducks in Bronte.
DRINK // For drinks I love a Banana Whiskey at Gardel’s Bar, Surry Hills, or picking my way through the natural wine list at Mary’s, Newtown.
PLAY // A weekend in Sydney isn’t complete without a walk along the coast, and we generally start at Clovelly and head south towards Maroubra, stopping off at Wylie’s Baths for a swim.
SHOP // The only shopping I really do in Sydney is on organic groceries, something I really can’t do without. And I enjoy supporting all of the other Australian certified organic businesses out there. I know the hard yards they have been putting in to get their product on to that shelf.
Brought to you by Luxe City Guides in collaboration with Lumira.