About “us”? Adrian and Robert, son and father, are part of a family which has roots on a piece of enchanting land over five generations, over seventy-five years. This land has been home to many rural enterprises in that time: dairy, pigs, sheep, fodder, vegetables, beef; now, with Riverhouse Wine and Truffles, we have added a specialty crop of truffles that is relatively new to Australia, and wine, one of the cultivated crops that has a long history in many regions in Australia since the early days of the Colony.
This direction started more than a couple of decades ago when Robert gave Adrian a beer-brewing kit for his 17th birthday and picked up a bit of wine-making equipment in the same shop. Dabbling with fermentations became an annual obsession. Adrian went on to do an agricultural science degree, incorporating viticulture, and spent several years working in top Yarra Valley vineyards, with vintage experience also in Champagne. For more than twelve years he has been an agronomist and technical sales consultant with leading agricultural supplier EE Muir &Sons, advising grape-growers as well as horticulturalists who grow tomatoes, cherries, vegetables, flowers, lemons, etc. in Victoria. He is the national viticulture lead for Muirs, which work takes him to vineyards in Tasmania, South Australia, etc. His clients admire his technical knowledge and advice, his practical skills and canny experience, which help them produce consistently good results and avoid failures (primary production always has risk).
Robert also loves growing things, but learned very quickly through a dabble with a small “organic” market garden in the 1970s that more certainty (and more reward) lay in a corporate career, using weekends and holidays for farming pursuits. He has now left the corporate world to concentrate further on the farm enterprises. The small-scale beef cattle operation on a portion of the family farm has expanded with Adrian to grow Perigord truffles and to expand the original 'trial' vineyard to commercial acreage.
We have built it all; there is a certain satisfaction in that, which splashing money around cannot deliver. We pounded in the posts, strung the wires, installed irrigation infrastructure, cultivated the soil, adjusted soil characteristics, grew green manure crops, planted and trained the vines, plucked and tucked as they grew, put up deer and kangaroo deterrents, watered and sprayed the vines, adjusted the crop yield by fruit thinning, crushed and fermented the grapes in the winery that we constructed. Failed and spoiled batches of wine litter the sides of this pathway. Successes spurred us on.
We now achieve gratifying results. We hope you agree.