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Wine grape grower tastes success

Wine grape grower tastes success

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It’s official: organic grape and olive grower, Sam Statham, is a pioneer, SIMON WEBSTER reports.

Sam Statham, the man behind certified organic Rosnay wines, has won the inaugural NSW Organic Pioneers Award.

“Winning an award like this is very motivating,” Statham told Organic Gardener. “When you’re out there working away over the years, doing what you think is right, it can often get a bit isolating. You don’t realise people recognise what you’re doing. It’s fantastic to get that recognition.”

At the Rosnay farm, near Canowindra, in the state’s Central West, the Stathams grow grapes, olives and figs organically, and produce products such as fig preserve (on site) and olive oil (through a nearby olive oil maker).

Rosnay wine is made and bottled at a local winery, but the Statham family looks after the marketing, labelling and design (with Sam’s mum, Florence, responsible for the paintings on the labels).

Biodynamic preparations are used on the soil, and sheep graze between the vines to keep weeds down and improve fertility. It seems to be working. Rosnay’s 2008 Cabernet this week won a trophy for best wine from the Cowra region at the Cowra Wine Show.

John Newcombe of the Department of Primary Industries, which jointly sponsored the Organic Pioneers Award, presented Statham (pictured) with the award at the Sustain expo in Sydney last weekend.

“Sam is a trailblazer in the organics industry,” Newcombe said.

Statham receives a $6000 travel bursary to visit organic farms overseas.

The other finalists were TAFE teacher Rob Fenton from Albury, and Joyce Wilkie and Michael Plane, market gardeners from Gundaroo, near Canberra.

There’s a nice video about the Rosnay farm here, and you can read more about Rosnay in the September-October issue of Organic Gardener.