Angel support needed to help Nina resurrect old neglected vineyards facing death by chainsaw
- Nina Stocker is a ridiculously talented young Aussie winemaker who's dedication to her wines knows no bounds. It's not just about the end product for Nina - she's there every step of the way, working side by side with the grape growers, the truck drivers and cellar hands to make stonking wines that are fair and sustainable for all involved. Is it any wonder she’s already achieved international recognition and critical acclaim?
- She's made wine for famous brands all over the shop – from the Rhône Valley to Yarra, McLaren Vale to Marlborough – Nina won the Sauvignon Blanc trophy at the prestigious Air New Zealand Wine Awards back in 2009. A feat even more astounding given it was her first year working with the grape.
- Now living in Central Victoria, Nina sources her grapes from like-minded growers and local vineyards who are down-to-earth (quite literally), and dig sustainable winemaking just as much as she does. Thanks to the support of Naked Angels, Nina and her husband John have been able to develop sustainable farming methods, growing outstanding grapes whilst giving back to the land that made them. It’s a win for nature and a win for wine lovers.
Map of the Vineyard
Nina Stocker's Story
"I was born and raised in a small town on the border of the Alsace wine region in Switzerland. It was my family’s involvement in the local village vineyard in those early days, which paved the way for my future career as a Winemaker.
I grew up in the city but would spend every weekend at our farm and vineyard. I loved helping dad with the vineyard and making wines in our tiny cellar, but had no idea there was such a thing as a job as a winemaker…until it all clicked. I was studying microbiology (which I loved), working in a wine bar (which I also loved!!), and craving a life of travel… so the penny dropped. My first vintage was so thrilling – I was a cellar hand in a big winery, spending a lot of time digging out grape skins from drains... and I LOVED it, so I realized this job was for me!
My career in wine started with a Bachelor of Science and Arts degrees at Monash University, followed by a post graduate degree in Winemaking at the University of Adelaide. I have since worked vintages in McLaren Vale, Yarra Valley, Barolo (Italy), Rhone Valley (France), Alentejo (Portugal), and New Zealand. My first appointment in a chief winemaking role was in New Zealand, making the Catalina Sounds, Crowded House and Nanny Goat wines for Endeavour Vineyards. After many varied – and eclectic - experiences in Australia and abroad, I am thrilled to be back making wine in Victoria, where the diversity of varieties, microclimates, and wine styles is a winemakers dream.
I love the mix of physical/outdoors, science, and art – the fact that every day is different, and challenging in a myriad of ways – from the vagaries of nature to the complexities of fermentations, and then of course the challenge of marketing and selling wine – there is NEVER a dull moment. I also love working in an industry that brings people together from all over the world, I’ve made some amazing friends in many different countries, and learnt so much from them both in terms of their cultures and their approaches to making wine.
I don’t ever follow a ‘recipe’ for making wines, although I have a science background I have always preferred to make wines in a more organic way – by taste and smell and feel. I like wines that are expressive of where they come from, wines that have balance, complexity and elegance, so that is what I strive to make.
Every wine I’ve ever made is a tale of joy and sorrow in some ways! From pruning through to harvest, challenges, stresses, and joys are an everyday rollercoaster – and that’s before we even get the fruit into the fermenters!
My first overseas vintage was in Barolo Piemonte, and when I arrived (feeling very intimidated) the owners sat me down to lunch with their extended family and poured me a glass of their wine…in a paper cup. It was so refreshing to see beautiful wines, from one of the greatest regions in the world, drunk with such a lack of pretention, the way I believe wine should be enjoyed (not necessarily in paper cups!) – the less intimidating and pretentious the better.
I now live on my family vineyard and cattle property in the foothills of the Tallarook ranges of Central Victoria with my husband, who is a farmer, builder, and vineyard manager – a very handy man to have around! Apart from our small vineyard, we also breed and grow premium grass-fed beef, and ultra fine merino wool. We have a 4 year-old daughter, and a new baby boy who is 2 months old – so life is beautifully busy!
Getting involved with Naked Wines is an exciting next step, and complements my current winemaking projects perfectly. One thing that my husband and I are really hoping to achieve in our little valley, is to resurrect some old vineyards that have been neglected and face the threat of being chain sawed. We live in a beautiful area in the foothills of the Tallarook Ranges that is home to many small farms. About 20-30 years ago, a few properties planted vines in this rough iron-stone ground, and successfully produced award winning and beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and Viognier wines. However, growing fruit in these low yielding soils means really hard work for super premium results, and in the last decade relatively meagre returns – quite certainly a labour of love. Another issue with these small plantings has been many of the land owners are city people, who eventually find their passion has become a burden. So as we drive past these formerly exceptional vineyards daily, it has long been our dream to resurrect the vines, and realise their full potential. Funding our ‘Stray Dogs’ or ‘Patchwork’ dream is all that stands in our way.
My husband and I are so excited to be working together on our naked wine journey. Having the opportunity to grow our little wine business, lease some more vineyards in our region, and create some great wines for the UK market is an amazing opportunity for us. Balancing a growing family, our cattle business, and our vineyard and winemaking enterprises is an incredibly rewarding job for us both.
My husband is an incredibly skilled, dedicated, meticulous, and tireless vineyard manager and worker, and I am determined to create and blend wines from these ‘lost souls’ that capture the unique microclimate and terroir of this special place. We hope that the Naked Angels might help us in this desire, and we in turn can share these treats with them!"
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