Adelaide Hills’ Ochre Nation creates sustainable grower’s co-op


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By Megan Voo

While there’s no dispute that South Australian businesses in the wine and agricultural industry are constantly innovating, there’s one organisation with a strong focus of looking towards the future. Meet Ochre Nation.

Creative Director Brendan Carter and Production Director Laura Carter

Production Director Laura Carter and Creative Director Brendan Carter (plus dachshund)

The future means a number of things for Ochre Nation, not only in relation to the longevity of their own company, but looking out for the interests of growers as well as the sustainability of our land and climate.

Ochre Nation acts as an umbrella business for the company’s subsidiaries Applewood, Unico Zelo and Harvest. Applewood Distillery has been making its mark in the South Australian craft spirits space, and Unico Zelo is a wine label that focuses on minimal-intervention, land inspired products.

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Harvest has been making an impact in the Adelaide Hills winemaking community by being Australia’s only operating wine production co-op. Growers within a five kilometre radius are invited to join the Harvest Growers Co-Op by donating their excess grapes, which Harvest then works to create a product with, through winemaking, bottling, distribution, sales and marketing.

If the product is a success, then the profits are shared 50/50 with the grower. Harvest take their share to invest into re-planting alternative varieties that are sustainable for the future of wine production in the region, with the personality of the land and climate in mind.

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Brendan Carter, Creative Director at Ochre Nation shares his passion with wife and Production Director Laura.

“Being winemakers, we’re two people incredibly passionate about the soil and produce we have in Australia. It’s our contention to showcase products to the rest of the world that embrace Australian native ingredients and pay homage to the custodianship of the Indigenous people who maintained the land for thousands of years,” Brendan says.

“Sustainability through production within distillation and viticulture is our responsibility. For our winery, that’s choosing the right varieties that work well with our climate and suit our soils.”

The alternative varieties, such as Fiano or Nero d’Avola they have established in the Adelaide Hills and Clare Valley are rainfed crops. This leads to a lower level of intervention and use of water as a resource – to the benefit of the health of the landscape and environment.

Ochre Nation have also launched a cellar door in Gumeracha where you can sample their cocktails, wines or try a variety of flights. Give them a call to book in a visit and support the business forging its own way through the South Australian wine industry.

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