Fashioned from recycled timber, the sustainably-built tasting room enjoys sweeping views over the winery’s organic vineyards, orchards and veggie garden. Built on stilts to avoid the need for a concrete slab, it uses recycled rainwater and is powered entirely by solar panels. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy Gemtree’s intriguing range of organic wines, which includes classic McLaren varietals, such as bold shiraz and fruity grenache, as well as more experimental drops like a crisp, zesty savagnin and creamy, barrel-fermented marsanne.
Venture into the vineyard and you can learn more about Steiner’s esoteric approach in the educational Biodynamic Hut. You can also stroll along a delightful one-kilometre-long eco-trail that was once an overgrown creek. With the help of Greening Australia, the Browns cleared the rubbish-strewn site and planted more than 50,000 trees. As a result, it’s now a thriving wetland and an important haven for native birds, plants and animals.
For the Browns, it’s all about leaving the land in a better condition than when they received it. It’s an admirable philosophy that has not only won them a mantelpiece full of awards (including the 2019 worldwide winner for Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices), but has also won over a multitude of sceptics. Most notably, Melissa’s dad.