Callum and Sarah Linklater are second generation organic producers. They established Windrush Organic with the release of Empire Chardonnay in November 2018. Windrush Organic currently produces three wines, Empire Chardonnay, Windrush Pinot Noir and Windrush Sauvignon Blanc – both the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes were planted and established organically
OWNZ's Marketing Manager Stephanie McIntyre recently caught up with Sarah on all things Windrush. Meet the dynamic Linklater family and discover their commitment to premium wine and organic viticulture.
Few wine brands have actually established themselves organically. What gave yourself and Callum the confidence to do this?
We’ve only been growing grapes for 10 years but our family have been organic growers since the late ‘90’s. First farming sheep and beef and now viticulture in Marlborough. Our family's organic journey started when Bill (Callum’s Dad) started to question why chemicals were prescribed to fix problems on the farm that didn’t exist when he was younger.
Our brand is our family story. Windrush is where we live and organic viticulture what we do. The Windrush Vineyard property houses not just our family but the business name and our organic certifications. Transparency is important to us - so Windrush Organic was the obvious name for us.
Our focus is and will always be growing premium certified organic grapes. There are no synthetic fertilisers, pesticides or hidden ‘nasty’s’ in our soil management. We believe consumers want to know their grower and we want them to be able to source wine from the gate.
We are not winemaker driven. We’ve made our wine in the style we like to drink – it’s honest, it’s real and it’s thoughtful. It tastes as good as the grapes, and there is no hiding from the vintage.
I can’t think of another New Zealand wine brand that has chosen to feature their organic status so prominently on their label. What was behind your decision to do this?
Our style, ethos and purpose is to keep it transparent. Honest, clear and simple. The first sentence of our story is that we grow organic grapes - so the organic certification seal reiterates that message very proudly on our bottles. We grow organically because it is makes common sense for us, and we feature our organic status prominently because certification also matters to us. We are inspired by brands from all industries that cut through the noise with simple messages.
I understand that Windrush Organic began with Chardonnay?
Yes. Our Chardonnay grapes inspired us to create a brand. We planted three clones organically in 2016 on possibly the smallest vineyard site in Marlborough. We planted Chardonnay because Callum and I aren’t gardeners, and Chardonnay is a wine we love but didn’t grow in the family. We asked a good friend to make our first vintage because the grapes were too special to us to sell. This first vintage sold out within a few months but we are hoping to release our 2019 shortly.
Our first wine, from our own vineyard in Renwick, was certainly auspicious and we felt it deserved a name to itself. The naming of Empire Vineyard and subsequently our Empire Chardonnay marks the start of something new. Putting a stake in the ground for our family, our beliefs... and one day a new family home.
Quick Fire Round:
Who is Windrush Organic?
The Linklater family. We took the plunge to produce our own wine as we have the skills within the family – we grow the fruit, we designed the packaging, we built the website and we pedal the places we like to shop and eat.
What is the vision for Windrush Organic?
It will always be growing premium certified organic grapes.
What varieties do you grow?
Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and a few rows of Syrah.
What wines are currently available?
Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. And our new release Empire Chardonnay 2019 very soon.
For a taste of Windrush Organic visit their website's on-line store HERE.