Hyper-locality is the star of the show at Margan in the NSW Hunter Valley. The brand’s ‘estate grown, estate made’ ethos means that just about everything on offer, from the wines poured into your tasting glass to the delicately arranged food on your plate, is produced on site. Founders Andrew and Lisa Margan have been focused on sustainable farming methods at their winery since they planted their first two-hectare block in Broke in 1989. With a background in agriculture and environmental health science, Andrew viewed himself as a custodian of the land, a philosophy that wife Lisa, a nutritionist with an interest in organic food, shared. The Margan estate now encompasses 100 hectares of vines in the Hunter Valley subregion of Broke Fordwich, as well as a huge market garden and restaurant, and a pioneering approach to sustainability that covers everything from the way the grapes are grown to the recycled glass that fills the driveway potholes.
Their commitment to low-impact practices meant Margan was the first winery in the Hunter to be certified by Sustainable Winegrowing Australia when the program launched in 2019.
“We practice what’s called regenerative agriculture,” explains Ollie Margan, who works alongside his parents in the family business as a winemaker. “Because grapevines are an introduced species, we try to establish an ecosystem with perennial native grasses in and around the vines so that we have groundcover 12 months of the year and no cultivation or herbicides. That enhances the microbial population in the soil and increases the organic matter so that year on year, we’re increasing the amount of carbon in our soil.”
This considered approach to viticulture informs their winemaking, too. “We don’t buy any grapes, it’s all estate fruit from Broke Fordwich, and everything is bottled as single-vineyard wines,” Ollie explains. The Broke Fordwich subregion sits on the ancient Fordwich Sill, a plug of red volcanic clay that releases moisture slowly, giving Margan’s wines their unique character. “The flavour profile is a little bit stronger, a little bit more generous in texture, aroma and flavour,” Ollie says. While the Hunter Valley classics of chardonnay, semillon and shiraz are Margan mainstays, Ollie adds that they’re preparing for the future with more climate change resilient varieties barbera and albariño.
A visit to Margan is likely to get your boots dirty as the family invites you to wander beyond the pretty rammed-earth cellar door and explore the farm. The Grape, Garden & Graze experience includes a tour of the kitchen garden and the Ceres Hill vineyard while you taste the brand’s Premium range, and finishes with a grazing platter of local cheeses and charcuterie.
If you have an afternoon to while away, it’s worth staying to enjoy a meal at the award-winning, one-hatted Margan Restaurant. Or book the Ultimate Margan Experience: a tour of the kitchen garden, orchard, vineyard and winery, teamed with the five-course Garden to Plate menu.
Look out for these classic Margan drops at your local Vintage Cellars.
Margan Shiraz Bright and elegant with fresh acidity, the Margan Shiraz is made with fruit from low-yielding vines that concentrate flavour in the berry. “It’s a really good reflection of what Broke Fordwich shiraz looks like,” says Ollie.
Margan Chardonnay Made in a modern style with fruit from historic vines, this wine breaks all the chardonnay rules. It’s bottled young and fresh, keeping it crisp and bright. It’s an ideal option for those looking for a textured, medium-bodied white wine for winter drinking.
Products featured are available from 28/06/23 to 1/08/23, while stocks last. Some products or varieties featured may not be available in all stores.