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Interview with Fred Strachan – Vineyard Manager, Oxford Landing Estates, South Australia

Fred StrachanThe day begins with a morning catch-up. For those first few minutes it’s just a bunch of people talking about life, the footy and anything else that comes to mind, like who caught the biggest yabbies on the weekend. Then on to work.

Unlike many vineyards, we don’t outsource. Our workforce is permanent and highly skilled, with everyone keeping fresh through regular training – even guys who haven’t set foot in a classroom for 40 years! This wealth of experience helps on so many levels as we map out our strategies to meet day-to-day challenges that are evolving all the time. For instance, we’re currently trialling a new fuel-efficient weed control unit that we’ve just built. It’s just one of the ways we’re striving to reduce our environmental impact and today I spent some time checking on this.

Oxford Landing EstatesLater on, I sat down with our technical officer Adam, our irrigation supervisor John, and winemaker Matt to discuss post-harvest fertilising. I’d noticed during the week that the vines looked to be heading into winter dormancy, with the leaves starting to turn autumnal and our soil moisture monitors showing the plants using less water.

Oxford Landing Estate vinesWith the white grapes already harvested, we could fertilise them and put them to sleep with the right levels of nutrition to grow well next spring. So we discussed how to treat each variety and to fertilise only the ones in which we want to see strong shoot growth, like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay.

Another busy day at Oxford Landing Estates. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Oxford Landing Estates Cabernet Shiraz 2010, South Australia
£6.99 £6.86 or £5.49 when you buy any 2 bottles
I love this wine’s body and tannin. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking it in favour of one of the others – it’s a good drop and a serious wine for its price.

Oxford Landing Estates Chardonnay 2010, South Australia
£6.99 £6.86 or £5.49 when you buy any 2 bottles
Chardonnay needs oak to work and we get the balance just right, subtly adding complexity to all that fruit. Wild ferment portions provide great texture too.

Oxford Landing Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2008, South Australia
£6.99 £6.86 or £5.49 when you buy any 2 bottles
This shows lots of lovely red fruit, but the spice is the key to making this wine work. It demands food to complete the experience.

Oxford Landing Estates Sauvignon Blanc 2010, South Australia
£6.99 £6.86 or £5.49 when you buy any 2 bottles
Why drink Kiwi when you can have OLE? This is one of our hero wines, with great body and flavour.

*Prices valid until 29 August 2011

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