Old, granite and gravely sandy loam, overlaying lateritic subsoils. The vines are dry farmed, helping to ensure maximum fruit quality, and are both pruned and harvested by hand. Low yields enable the flavours of the grapes to develop fully.
The Estate Vineyards.
The Cullen Vineyard is 70 acres and is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Chenin Blanc. The Mangan vineyard is 52 acres and is planted to Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
The Varietals & Trellising.
The Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon due to their higher vigour are on a Lyre trellis. This gives a greater area for the leaves and fruit to grow on, thereby enabling the fruit to reach proper physiological ripeness. The Chardonnay has been put on vertical shoot positioned trellis. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc have been converted to Scott Henry Trellis.
Cullen embraces a philosophy combining the maintenance of sustainable soil fertility and the recognition of the link between plant growth and the rhythms of the cosmos. Moon rhythms strongly influence life on earth life. As tides rise and fall in a pulsing rhythm, so does the sap of plants and all other liquids including those within the earth’s mantle. Viticultural practices are conducted according to these moon rhythms. Cullen claim this method of farming treats the vineyard as a living system, which interacts with the environment to build a healthy living soil that helps to nourish the vines and general environment. Biodynamics relies on a series of preparations based in mineral, plant and animal substances rather than the traditional chemicals and sprays. In the Cullen Vineyards, this involves firstly the enhancement of the soil structure through the addition of homeopathic preparations, specially prepared composts and various fish and other emulsions and also the use of nitrogen-enhancing cover crops. The resulting increase in humus in the soil leads to greater microbial activity and improved aeration and retention of moisture around the roots of the vines.
The role of the winemaker is to act as caretaker to the fruit with little or no intervention. This means indigenous yeast, no additions of any kind, minimal oak use and fining.
Thanks to Trevor KENT for showing us through the vineyard and winery.