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Food and beverage stories

World’s best – again

Edition 196_Lubiana

An incredible hat-trick for Tasmania’s Stefano Lubiana Winery which has just won world’s best bio-dynamic wine at a prestigious London show – for the third year in a row.

Stefano Lubiana has beaten off tough competition with one of its Pinot’s crowned top bio-dynamic wine at the 2018 International Wine Challenge in London, an award they also won in 2016 and last year.

The award winners were only announced last night (July 10) and speaking from London, Monique Lubiana told us she was “ecstatic”.

“To win the award twice was incredible enough, but three times in a row is really fantastic news,” Monique said.

“It vindicates our vision and hard work – and doing the right thing for the planet. It is also proof that Tasmania really does produce some of the best wines in the world.”

There was an impressive field vying for the title of champion bio-dynamic wine at the London awards with top wines from 12 countries competing for the trophy.

But leaving them all in its wake: the Lubiana Ruscello Pinot Noir 2016 which topped the field.

“It’s a wine that can compete on the world stage – and it has won,” Monique adds.

“The Ruscello is so successful because it’s such a simple wine that shows the expression of the terroir really well. It’s very easy to drink, very smooth, but has a lot of complexity and depth of flavour.”

Stefano Lubiana is a family-run estate that Monique and her husband Steve – a fifth generation wine-maker – established 28 years ago.

It straddles 25 hectares overlooking the Derwent Estuary at Granton, just north of Hobart, and is Tasmania’s bio-dynamic pioneer, producing wines – mostly pinots – that are natural and unadorned.

“A bio-dynamic wine is a wine that your great-grandfather would have drunk,” Steve explains.

“It’s a wine that was made before the industrial age, a wine without chemicals, without synthetic compounds, made in a very old-fashioned way with very few additives – if any at all – and it just shows the true flavour of its place.”

The bio-dynamic movement is one of the big trends sweeping the world of wine.

Put simply: it is organic but with even more stringent conditions, and where farming practices are based on a holistic approach. The vineyard is viewed as one solid organism where everything is interconnected and operates in a beautiful natural balance.

“It all begins in the vineyard where you must firstly grow bio-dynamic grapes,” Steve said.

“This is old school farming, with no herbicides or pesticides. We look after the soil and work really hard in the vineyard to make a clean natural product.

“Then when you reach the winery it’s very easy, because the grapes arrive in such perfect balance that the wine-maker has very little to do – the wine makes itself.”

However, the secret really lies in special bio-dynamic preparations – potent homeopathic mixtures – that are added to soils and compost to add nutrients and balance.

As Monique says, it's “about working with nature, not against it".

It is estimated that around 15 per cent of wines in Europe and 10 per cent in the USA are bio-dynamic, and those numbers are growing rapidly.

“All the top wines in Europe are now bio-dynamic and if you really want to compete on the world stage, you have no choice but to go bio-dynamic,” Monique said.

“These wines are the holy grail if you are serious about wine-making, they are the best of the best.”

It may be big news overseas but in Australia, the bio-dynamic movement is still very much in its infancy, with Steve estimating around 50 wineries using this method including top producers such as Cullen Wines.

However, in Tasmania Stefano Lubiana is the state’s only certified bio-dynamic winery, which means it operates under very strict guidelines and is audited every year.

So, while these natural wines are so much better for the earth, they are also clearly a winner in the glass!

“Bio-dynamic wines are beautiful clean wines that are healthy and natural. They are a pure expression of our vineyard,” Steve said.

It seems the only problem Monique and Steve now face is keeping up with demand.

As the international awards pile up, so too does Stefano Lubiana’s reputation as a producer of world class wines, and the orders are flowing in thick and fast.

They recently sent off their biggest overseas shipment: 500 dozen (7,200 bottles) of wine bound for Sweden, one of the countries at the forefront of the bio-dynamic wine movement.

A huge accolade for Stefano Lubiana but also for Tasmania which is increasingly loved around the world for its clean, green brand.

“You can’t get much cleaner – or much greener – than our wines,” Monique enthuses.

Image courtesy of Robert Heazlewood

View our video of Anna McMahon talking with Monique and Steve Lubiana about their award winning bio-dynamic wines.

Video still - World’s best bio-dynamic wine for the third year in a row
Watch video on YouTube

10 July 2018, Edition 196

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