Growing up, Verity Cowley’s family always shared wine and food as a way to come together and celebrate, a tradition that still continues to this day.
This tradition first sparked Cowley’s interest in wine, and at the age of seventeen, she enrolled at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga to study winemaking. Here she had to get her parent’s consent to be able to taste the wine because of her being underage.
Though she had very little idea of what she was getting into, she quickly found her passion. Following her studies, she later landed herself a role as head winemaker at Temple Bruer, one of Australia’s oldest Certified Organic wineries.
“Our range of wines, sourced from South Australia, includes a specialisation in preservative-free varieties, which are prominently featured in our Core Collection,” Cowley explained.
Temple Bruer is led by owner David Bruer who is known to be a pioneer in the Australian organic wine movement and has been making organic wines since the 80's. The company has vineyards spanning all across South Australia, including Langhorne Creek, the Riverland and Eden Valley. Each vineyard has old plantings that give the wines richness, depth and complexity.
The core philosophies of this company lie under two fundamental principles, “less is more” and “good grapes make good wine.” Cowley believes that the less you have to manipulate the wine, the better.
“By giving the wine a chance to be itself, we can make wines that are expressive of place and time,” she said.
Winemaking practices have revolutionised in later years, which has allowed Temple Bruer to create expressive wines without the use of sulphur dioxide. Their award-winning preservative-free wines are a testament to this.
However, bottling presents many challenges for preservative-free wines. Cowley expressed that keeping dissolved oxygen at bay without any sulphur dioxide is particularly difficult. Although, their winery is equipped to handle these obstacles, especially by having a small team of cellar hands and staff in the winery who understand and care for the product.
“One area where we have seen significant success is automation, which reduces stress and saves time, allowing us to focus on getting the important things done.”
Cowley keeps up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in the wine industry by constantly reading, learning, and of course, tasting. What she hopes to see for future developments is a push for equal pay within the wine industry.
Her advice to aspiring winemakers is to listen to others and what they think, but don’t be swayed if you like something and others don’t. Form your own opinions. Try to know why you like or dislike something.