Walking away from a well-established family business is tough.
Moving away from your family and friends and setting up in a far flung part of the country is tough.
Setting up a winery is tough.
So why on earth did Stefano “Steve” Lubiana do all three at once? You’d have to be nuts!
Well, either nuts or driven by a vision. Vision. Yeah I said it, get over it! Cos as knobby as it sounds, some people do see a path for their future and go for it. So in 1990 Steve and his wife Monique moved away from his family’s thriving wine business in South Australia to go to the other side of the Bass Strait to Tasmania.
Now I’ve never been to Tassie, but Steve was at pains to point out that no matter what the main islanders say, it’s a top place to live, and has perfect climate for him to go nuts with his passion for Burgundy style wines.
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the main grapes in Burgundy, are Steve’s pride and are responding well to his move towards biodynamic winemaking in the past decade.
Biodynamic winemaking is kind of like an “organic plus”, meaning you’re actively trying to improve the vineyards and help the vines build up their own resistance to all the horrible things normal winemakers would spray to stop happening.
As much as winemakers who go biodynamic never go back, the quality increase in the wine is palpable, you’ve still got to have a reason to do it in the first place. It is more expensive, it does take 3 years to get certified. You’ve got to really want to do it. Especially in their situation, as everyone told them they’d fail.
For Monique and Steve it was the ethical reasons. It’s about looking after your land and your workers. Good on both of them for that attitude, and it was a pleasure meeting the pair of them.
Oh, and of course, the wines were ace. Keep your eye out for still wines from Tasmania, really starting to fly up in quality.