Rosnay – The Organic Pioneers
Richard, Florence and Sam Statham planted the Cowra Wine Region’s first organic vineyard in 1997, and were among the first to grow organic vines in NSW. After a painstaking year of site selection and soil testing, the former wool producers took the bold step of establishing their vineyard organically from before planting. They carted in truckloads of compost and straw mulch and painstakingly hand weeded their new vines, whereas most of today’s organic vineyards were initially set up using herbicides. The also created a unique organic farming community scheme of which they and 7 other families are now part.
In recognition of their work, the Stathams were awarded the inaugural NSW Organic Pioneers’ Award by the NSW Government in 2012. They also won the NSW Landcare Award in 2015, and the Winestate Organic Wine of the Year award in 2016. But their story really begins in the early 1900's in a vineyard in Beaujolais France owned by Florence's grandfather, Alberic Dulong de Rosnay after whom the farm is named. Florence migrated to Australia in the 1970's to marry Richard Statham. Richards father Clive was also a pioneer of organic gardening and his enthusiasm for natural growing rubbed off onto Richard and then onto Richard and Florence’s own children.
The family’s business itself grew organically, from small beginnings selling grapes to organic wineries such as Botobolar and Cassegrain, and the earliest Rosnay wines being made as “contra” deals with those wineries. They planted olives and figs, and later they made larger batches of wine using contract winemaking from neighbouring wineries, and in 2014 they made their first “Garage” wines on site. In 2018 they built a dedicated strawbale winery on the property, with a new focus on hand picked grapes, small (half tonne) open red ferments, hand plunging, using wild yeast, minimal filtration and gentle gravity transfers. Look out for their new “natural” skin contact wine and preservative free wines in particular.
Visitors are welcome, with the old farm house now being offered as a genuine, down-to-earth Farmstay experience, and with a function menu being offered for groups at the winery and cellar door.