Margan Wines and Restaurant is situated in the picturesque wine region of Broke Fordwich, Hunter Valley. This valley is an ancient one and 230 million years ago it was a large sea. Over millennia it has been shaped into the unique landscape of mountains, valleys and rivers that you see today. The Wonnarua, our First Nation people of this region walked the land long before we were here and existed in perfect balance with the environment. Since the 1830’s colonial settlers have established a range of agriculture here including viticulture, dairy farming and mining. We bought our property in Broke in 1989 and established a small vineyard soon after. In 1996 we built a winery and established our wine business, Margan. In 2007 we built a restaurant and cellar door, expanded our vineyards to 100 hectares, established our one-hectare Restaurant garden and orchard and added chickens, lambs, olive groves and bees.
From the very start we have always believed that as farmers and current custodians of this land we have a responsibility to look after it so that future generations will also be able to enjoy it.
It is an ongoing process but one we are very committed to.
Lisa and Andrew Margan
OUR ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITMENT
In 2010 we decided to take a more structured and measurable approach to how we manage our land and developed an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to reduce our impact across all business operations. This has involved a clear and detailed strategy to measure and reduce our emissions via the four basic pillars of sustainability: reduction of greenhouse gases; energy efficiency; waste reduction and water management. Our entire team are involved in supporting and maintaining our EMP.
In 2013 we became certified under the Freshcare and Winemakers Federation Australia Entwine Program which benchmarks to the ISO14000 series for International best practice in environmental stewardship. We were the first in the Hunter to achieve this. This covers all business operations including vineyard, winery, restaurant and hospitality. Environmental and sustainability data is tracked and reported yearly through Entwine, as well as stringent auditing from Fresh Care every 3 years. Fresh Care certification takes in to account all business operations and the impact these have on the environment. Our EMP is certified by an external auditor.
In 2019 this accreditation was updated to Sustainable Winegrowing Australia and Freshcare (accredits Australian fresh produce industry) which is certified via independent on-site audits of our EMP.
Our next goal is to become carbon neutral and to offset the amount of emissions that can’t be reduced any further. We choose to not achieve this simply through purchasing carbon off-sets which would see us carbon neutral almost immediately. Many of these companies are not Australian and the money goes to offshore projects. We want the carbon benefit to stay close to where the emission was produced, so we have started planting native tree lots and regenerating our local riverbanks.
Currently we employ several organic and bio dynamic farming practices, but we are not certified.
In the vineyard we minimise sprays especially of pesticides and herbicides and we limit copper and Sulphur use as recommended by organic and bio dynamic farming practices. We focus on maximising vine and soil health by reducing disease, weeds and pests in the vineyard. Mulching and cover crops reduce weeds, keeps the soil moist as well as adding organic matter to enrich it.
The Margan Restaurant Kitchen Garden was established in 2007 and has always followed organic garden principals, although remains uncertified as it sits adjacent to the vineyard which is not certified.
As of 2020 we will start converting our entire Broke property to Organic. It is all a huge commitment and an ongoing journey, and we get better at it each year.
Our commitment to protecting the environmental values of our property for future generations ensures we integrate environmental responsibility and accountability into all aspects of our operations.
What this looks like
Across the Business:
• Margan products are Estate Grown – Estate Made as much as possible, including 100 hectares of vineyards and extensive Restaurant Kitchen Garden produce. This reduces our carbon footprint as no freight is required to source these products from beyond our property.
• We continuously monitor and improve our environmental performance by maintaining an environmental management system with objectives and targets that exceed regulatory obligations.
• Annual energy audit of all operations and upgrades for energy saving. 30Kw solar power system to reduce the use of coal fired electricity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Eco efficient lighting and off-peak electricity to reduce energy use by 40%.
• Irrigation water is taken from large dams on the property.
• Rainwater captured from all roofs is filtered and provides water to the winery and restaurant.
• All roof water is recycled through a grey water recycling system and used for gardens.
• Waste to landfill reduction across the business via a detailed recycling system where paper, cardboard, glass, green waste and plastics are all recycled.
• Planting native trees on the riverbanks of the property to better manage erosion and offset carbon emissions.
• The Margan restaurant, cellar door, barrel room and administration building is constructed from energy efficient rammed earth, sourcing limestone gravel locally from Broke.
The Vineyard & Winery
• The vineyard uses minimal synthetic sprays for weed, pest and disease maintenance.
• Mulching the vineyard to reduce herbicides use.
• Improving soil fertility by maintaining and building a fertile living soil through organic matter inputs such as green manures, composts and cover crops.
• Looking to be sustainable for generations to come, we have pioneered planting of varieties better suited to global warming such as Barbera, Tempranillo, Mourvedre and Albarino. These varieties are more drought resistant and are able to maintain their natural acidity when ripening under hot conditions. We can then take a ‘hands off’ approach in the winery.
• Winter crops planted mid row to put more carbon back into the soil and reduce soil erosion.
• All fruit is grown on Margan vineyards either adjacent to the winery or close by allowing a lower carbon footprint (fuel, freight etc.) compared to wineries that buy fruit from external vineyards.
• Cartons are all Australian made from recycled cardboard.
• 40% of Margan wine is bottled in OI “lean and green” range of light weight bottles, which is 45% lighter than the same product from their other ranges resulting in less greenhouse emissions during production, saving 234g of CO2 per bottle.
• To minimise the consumption of water for cleaning and pushing wine through, chemicals are recycled and reused, or low volume/high pressure is used.
• The winery roof is fully insulated, ensuring better energy efficient.
• We have adapted VDS (Variable speed drives) to our winery refrigeration plant to optimise the efficiency of the cooling system resulting in a lower consumption of energy during peak periods, approximate saving 40%. on energy.
• We bottle white wines soon after vintage enabling us to completely turn our fridge plant off for 9 months of the year, resulting in a reduction greenhouse gas emissions and reduction of energy costs by 50%.
• Use of crystal inhibitors for tartrate stabilisation rather than the traditional cold method allows us to achieve stabilisation without excessive cooling to minus temperatures, ability to run the brine at a higher temperature saving on energy consumption.
• Onsite warehousing facilities reduces the carbon footprint through the transportation of wines.
• As the pioneers of Agri-dining in the Hunter Valley we are continually expanding our range of estate grown produce. We craft our menus around the harvest from our one-hectare kitchen garden & orchard to maintain a hyper-local and truly seasonal focus. This includes fruit and vegetables from our one-hectare Restaurant Kitchen Garden which supplies close to 90% of the restaurants’ needs, including free range eggs, honey, olives and lambs from our flock of Suffolk sheep. This reduces our carbon footprint dramatically.
• We love to champion the quality produce of the region and so choose to collaborate with local farm gate producers for fruits and vegetables, olive oil, poultry, milk and biodynamically raised animals.
• We are firm believers in respectful animal husbandry and all the meat we serve has been raised humanely and sustainably. Our ‘nose to tail’ philosophy shows respect for the entire animal utilising prime cuts as well as secondary ones with our own charcuterie production including prosciutto, coppa and pancetta.
• The Hunter Valley used to be an ancient seabed millions of years ago but now we are an inland region. For seafood we source from the coast of Newcastle and Port Stephens and only use sustainable species.
• Colour coded bin systems in the kitchen to recycle all waste.
• Processing restaurant green waste via compost systems, chickens and worm farms.
• The garden is hand worked and managed using organic and bio dynamic farming principals with a minimum of synthetic pesticides, weedicides and fertilisers.
• Recycle kitchen oil for Bio diesel.
• Closed loop composter recycles all protein-based food waste into a composted material that is then returned to the soil as a nutrient source.
• Glass crusher recycles all glass bottles into a sand that it reused on the driveway at the estate.
• Grey water is treated and reused on the paddocks within the estate.