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Huon Hooke - Three of a Kind

Mike Brown recently took part in Wine Square’s Biodynamic tasting event and masterclass with Huon Hooke, the renowned wine reviewer, . Following the event, Huon wrote about his experience at the tasting as well as his views on the growing popularity of biodynamic viticulture. What stood out most for him however, was the strength and calibre of the husband/wife-winemaker/viticulturist partnership of Mike and Melissa Brown, along with Stephen and Prue Henschke and Dudley Brown and Dr Irina Santiago-Brown, who were also featured at the tasting event. Below is an excerpt of his article as it appeared on his website The Real Review.

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“At my recent class on new-wave wines at Wine Square, Camperdown, three husband-and-wife winemaker-and-viticulturalist partnerships were represented, purely by coincidence.

Mike Brown and Melissa Buttery-Brown are winemaker and viticulturalist at Gemtree in McLaren Vale; Dudley Brown and Dr Irina Santiago-Brown are winemaker and viticulturalist at Inkwell, also in McLaren Vale, and Stephen and Prue Henschke are winemaker and viticulturalist at Henschke in Eden Valley.

I wonder how many more there are around the country. No doubt there are many family enterprises where the family is the work-force, but partnerships of this calibre are rarer. In each case, the female partner is a trained and highly-experienced viticulturalist. These partnerships produce top-level wines, and I suspect it’s because of shared philosophies and good communication.

At Wine Square, we were tasting ‘rootstocky’ wines: organic and biodynamic wines, skin-fermented whites, ‘natural’ wines, low-sulfur and no-sulfur wines, wines produced with low-input viticulture and winemaking.

Mike Brown was there to talk about Gemtree Wines, which is one of several biodynamic viticulture practitioners in McLaren Vale. We tasted Gemtree’s 2014 Luna Roja Tempranillo. The name means ’red moon’ and refers to way biodynamics is based on phases of the moon. Mike and Melissa Brown are also ‘old hands’, having been involved in Gemtree for the last 23 years. They have gradually shifted Gemtree’s focus to higher quality and less extractive, less-heavy red wines. Melissa’s father Paul Buttery was a prominent McLaren Vale viticulturalist before her, and Melissa has tertiary qualifications in both business and viticulture.”

For the full article, visit The Real Review.