Comprising of 330 acres on the eastern foothills near the Mclaren Flat in Australia you’ll find a family owned and operated biodynamic winery that is producing truly exceptional organic wines made from the heart. The winery produces not only outstanding Shiraz for which the McLaren Vale is so famed but varietals such as Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Petit Verdot, Savagnin and Verdelho. Welcome to Gemtree Vineyards, a winery that is passionately dedicated to sound environmental practices, sustainable agriculture and innovation from the vines to the wine.
With Paul and Jill Buttery stepping into the world of winemaking in 1980 their passion for viticulture and sustainable grape growing soon saw the Gemtree Vineyards become a full family affair. Andrew, the Buttery’s son manages and develops the brand on a global scale, while their daughter Melissa, a qualified viticulturist, works the vines. And, just to tie things up nicely, Melissa’s husband Mike Brown just happens to be Gemtree’s remarkable winemaker. Together they understand the importance of creating an environment conducive to exceptional grapegrowing and as such have been farming biodynamically since 2007. They now bring consumers 100% biodynamic Gemtree Wines.
While Andrew Buttery was visiting Hong Kong this November, we enjoyed the Gemtree Wines together at the HKJC during the Australian Association of Hong Kong’s Melbourne Cup Event and talked Gemtree, family and our mutual love for Hong Kong.
McLaren Vale is known worldwide for producing outstanding Shiraz. Can you tell us why?
Our climate is perfect for growing shiraz. The coastal influence helps our wines to retain natural acidity and we generally have ideal ripening conditions for natural flavour development. We have some of the oldest soils in the world and there is great variation in soil type across the region which gives us many different flavour profiles which add to the complexity of what goes into the bottle. 50% of the region is planted to shiraz and there is good reason for this. It works!!
Gemtree is a certified organic vineyard. Why organic and what makes this important to us as consumers?
Our family is committed to ensuring the land is left in better condition than how we found it. We firmly believe that organic and biodynamic grapegrowing will result in healthy soil and in turn healthier vines and more flavoursome grapes. The other significant factor is removal of herbicides and pesticides. Consumers are choosing organic because they want to feel that the food products they consume will not harm them in any way through chemical impact. I like to use the example of tomato grown organically in your backyard, does it taste better than conventionally farmed tomatoes? Absolutely it does!!
As third generation grape growers, to what do you attribute your success?
Passion for what we do, hard work and having a great team of people behind us working to achieve the best we can. We are also committed to demonstrating leadership in sustainable business management.
Do you have a particular favourite wine in the Gemtree portfolio?
Luna Roja Tempranillo. Natural, delicious and versatile!!
Having Gemtree Wines now available in Hong Kong, what is it about Hong Kong wine consumers that has you most excited?
Hong Kong consumers are sophisticated and understand wine. Hong Kong is also an affluent city with wine as an everyday part of peoples’ lives. We want to be part of that and want our brand and organic credentials recognised by Hong Kong wine consumers.
What do you love most about visiting Hong Kong?
The vibrancy and energy of the place is infectious. You can’t help but get caught up in it. The scenery is captivating and the restaurants and bars are some of the best in the world. It’s one of my favourite cities but I am always happy to leave so I can catch up on my sleep!!!
Which Hong Kong celebrity would you most like to share a bottle of Gemtree wine with and why?
Our brand ambassador is the actress Shu Qi (that’s her on the front cover of the magazine I am holding in the photo), she is gorgeous and I still haven’t met her so if you can set up a rendezvous that would be great!!
Have you tried to pair your wines with Asian cuisine? Any tips?
Up to this point we haven’t been asked to do much pairing. I think the Chinese are still waking up to the world of wine and food matching is still a relatively new concept. That said there are a few basic parameters.
Young wines and lighter styles such as Tempranillo and specific blends are more likely to match better with Asian cuisine. Also higher acidity wines won’t match up quite as well with spicy foods. Therefore the older wines (5 plus years) that have softer tannins and more mellow fruit will match up more easily across a range of Asian dishes.
The phenomenal Gemtree range will soon arrive in Hong Kong at Cellarmaster Wines. View the entire range HERE, take note and get ready to enjoy the simplicity of organic wines made from the heart.