We love to notice and mark the changing of seasons, the sighting of a new birds' nest, or our unceasing wonder at the seamless enrichment that biodynamic viticulture provides our pristine environment. Working in rhythm with nature ensures we're vigilant in the vineyard, and follow that attention to detail through to the winery and the table. As fifth and sixth generation winegrowers, we value family, tradition and progression, and we hope our stories strike a chord with you – hopefully so much that we're lucky enough to one day hear yours.
Steve and Monique Lubiana.
Stefano Lubiana Back Vintage Biodynamic Riesling biodynamic
Our first plot of Riesling was planted in 1995. Located on the right hand side of the entrance to our vineyard just past our ‘Monet’ pond. Here we have .2 of a hectare, with a second planting opposite the winery of .6 of a hectare, which was planted in 2006.
Of the 60 different Riesling clones available to plant our vineyards are a mixture of about 10 different clones developed by the Geisenheim Institute, based in Germany.
Steve’s father, Mario, was a very keen connoisseur of Riesling. Under his Lubiana Wines brand, he made ‘Rhine’ Riesling for decades in South Australia’s Riverland. Of course ‘Rhine’ is a Geographical Indicator so only winemakers in the Rhine Valley, Germany are now only allowed to use the word ‘Rhine’ on their labels.
Stefano Lubiana Wines is set on a hillside, 100-150m above sea level, with rows planted to a North/South orientation. Our site can be very windy, more so around the equinoxes. Given the exposed site and its elevation, the decision to plant Riesling rested with its reputation for handling the wind and for setting fruit even in difficult, drizzly years. We now know how to reduce climatic impact in our vineyard. Since we implement organics/biodynamic systems. Our use of manures, composts to the exclusion of the use of synthetic (artificial) fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides on our soils. The vines have strengthened their immunity and built resilience. This fortifies the vines in difficult climatic conditions.
Two standout Rieslings at that time, pre 1995, were Moorilla & Meadowbank both grown in the Derwent Valley. Based on those wines Steve took an educated risk believing Riesling would make a very good fit for our site and the rest, as they say, is history.
There are many famous Riesling growing regions around the world. Tasmania produces Rieslings of equal, if not higher quality. We produce Rieslings that are highly perfumed with unmatched balanced natural acid. Our style shows tons of middleweight texture and they finish with an ultra soft, refreshing mouth-feel.
Riesling made at Stefano Lubiana is always hand picked, sometimes whole-bunch pressed, sometimes crushed first, depending on the season. Chilled overnight and then racked before inoculation, with a cold long ferment ensuing. These days a portion is matured in seasoned foudres on extended lees before bottling 9 months after harvest.
Here is the vertical tasting notes by Steve & Christopher 26/8/21
2017 Riesling Biodynamic - Field flowers on the nose. Think chamomile, daisies, Iris. The pallet has a mix of lemon and oranges topped with a little syrup/icing sugar and long dry refreshing finish.
2015 Riesling Biodynamic - Lemon rind bounces from the glass, sherbet melon with a creamy texture lime citrus finish.
2013 Riesling Biodynamic - Honey, ice tea and lanolin on the nose. The texture is glossy and the palate features honey straw and musk finishing with racy acid and great palate length.
Oysters is an excellent food pairing for these perfectly aged Rieslings.
How picturesque is the Huon Valley?? Exquisite to say the least! Reminiscent of a fairy tale landscape, the reason why so many people fall in love with the Huon region. The hills roll on forever, the grass is a deeper shade of green, thicker and longer. The trees are that much taller and more majestic. There are ponds and dams everywhere you look and in the late afternoon, the water glistens in the sun. The air is full of moisture and particles dance through the air in the haze of summer. In winter the Huon River flows at around 9000ml/day producing a strong current almost bursting its banks. In summer, the gorgeous, clean, fresh water still flows at an astonishing rate. Anything and everything is happily growing in the Huon Valley.
Nestled in the little village of Cradoc is the Lucille vineyard. Here is where 9 hectares of pinot noir and one hectare of chardonnay fruit are grown. Originally planted on sloping ground with a north south orientation in 1973 by Steve Ferenze. The land at the edge of the vineyard continues for about another 500 metres until it hits ‘California bay’ an inlet of the Huon River.
The composition of the soil is grey clay; containing oblong riverbed stones mostly the size of quail’s eggs and slightly larger, covered by sandy loam topsoil. This site’s soil is much poorer than the surrounding plots that are mainly planted to apples.
The soil’s hard crust forces the vines to struggle, developing slow growth and tough foliage. The vineyard is mostly dry grown with 1-2 irrigations per year. The skins of the berries are tough and the berries are small. Small berries produce juice that is highly concentrated due to the skin to juice ratio.
The winery and vineyard have recently been renovated and the vineyard is now producing extremely high quality fruit at very low yields. In 2018 Steve decided to make a Huon Valley Estate Pinot Noir from this fruit as it too has the depth and quality that is produced at our Granton vineyard in the Derwent Valley.
The 2018 Estate Pinot Noir Huon Valley is a wine that is starting to emerge from its cocoon. The colour is deep crimson, very much like black cherry juice, and the nose is very elegant, floral and sweet. The palate offers more of the same with vanilla, bright cherry and spice. The tannins are plentiful but balanced. They are long and lean but dry, balancing the abundance of sweet cherries.
This wine will cellar well for many years to come. It is only now, after 2 years in the bottle, that it’s shy but impressive personality has appeared. Enjoy this wine for years to come. Hopefully it will be one of the wines that will cement Tasmania’s reputation as Australia’s most highly prized and celebrated Pinot Noir Capital.
Recently we have noticed hype and market visibility of ‘natural wine’ mainly through social media. Any one would think it’s a new trend. While the term ‘natural’ may be a relatively new description, the wine making process is distinctly older. Natural, like ‘raw’, ‘naked’ or ‘minimal intervention’ are terms used to describe fermented grape juices, generally free of all preservatives and synthetics both in the vineyard and in the winery but not always unfortunately.
We produce two unique natural wine styles. The first is our Pinot Noir dominate Terramadre and the second is our Amphora ‘Amber’ in colour wine. These wine styles are not widely ‘covered’ by winemakers because they are time consuming to make and require more of a conscientious effort by the winemaker especially when it comes to hygiene to prevent winemaking faults. There is a lot of chat about natural wine but in general they are not widely distributed in the Australian mainstream marketplace.
The winemaking method for our Terramadre starts with hand picking of the certified biodynamic grapes. We destem the fruit (remove the stalk) and ferment the grapes in a small vat that can hold up to 4 tonnes. The grapes ferment naturally with their own yeast (found on their skins), which is indigenous to our vineyard. The wine is foot stomped daily as this is a much gentler way of extracting flavour without unpacking too much skin phenolics. The wine is deep crimson in colour with plenty of flavours of red fruits with structure built from vibrant tannins & fruit acid. This wine is a blend of 62% Pinot Noir, 30% Syrah/Shiraz and 8% Malbec. Terramadre has no added sulphur; we use inert gas to prevent oxidation, whereas all our other wines have a low addition usually no more than 40% of the allowable amount. This wine is truly natural and consists of only fermented grapes.
Our skin contact Amber wine is currently a blend of 84% Chardonnay and 16% Sauvignon Blanc. It is hand picked before being de-stemmed into the Amphora for co-fermentation. The Amphora we use is a ceramic egg shaped vessel. Biodynamic philosophy says the egg shape is one of life-force and these types of vessels were often used by ancient civilisations to store liquids and grains, these vessels are not new technology but equipment that has stood the test of time. We use our Amphora to make a skin contact white wine, imparting more tannin than wine that is pressed off skins before fermentation. The vessel also allows for a larger surface area of wine to come into contact with the lees, imparting more complexity and preservation properties as well as life force through its shape. The Amphora wine spends 20 days prior to pressing in the ceramic egg, the end result being beautiful deep amber coloured, flavoursome textured wine. We have been making Amphora wine since 2013 and this style is a great match with cheese.
As a ‘grower’ winemaker we firmly believe that to produce a high quality wine our vineyards must be in optimal health, free of all synthetics and diseases. Premium grapes permit Steve to focus on the basics, ensuring the quality of the fruit is not diminished or compromised during the winemaking process.
Despite the extraordinary world wide situation, Vintage 2020 will go down as a harmonious, enjoyable and insightful harvest, where everyone conscientiously pulled together and got the job done.
All the hard work throughout the growing season was done predominantly by the vineyard staff led by Jarod, our Vineyard Manager, with assistance from Jamie & Joshua. As per previous years Steve, Monique & Jorja (our Permaculturist) hopped in the tractors when the support of a second shift was required. This joint effort paid off with correct tonnes per hectare harvested with no bird damage and no disease detected.
The 2020 winery crew roll call included Steve Lubiana, Chief winemaker, assisted by Lauren Hodgeman & Marco Lubiana. Both Lauren and Marco are qualified winemakers, this being Lauren’s first and Marco’s third vintage with us at Stefano Lubiana Wines. Interns were Leo Messe from Germany, Baptiste Delmas from France and Tasmanian local Justin Folloso. Monique Lubiana, the glue of the operation, was a crucial member of the team keeping the wheels turning and everything running smoothly… while doing the goffering when required.
All in all, an excellent year for sparkling wines with lots of brilliant natural acid present. Usually we start processing the sparkling fruit at the end of February/early March and 2020 was no different with our first press load of sparkling fruit arriving on the 4th of March 2020. The low tonnes per hectare fruit that makes our Sasso & Single block Pinot Noirs arrived next followed by the rest of our ultra premium table wines including Chardonnay. The Merlot, Blaufrankish, Shiraz, Anise, Malvasia, Barbara, Dolcetto, Graciano Nebiollo and Sangiovese all very small volumes (for example 2 buckets of Sangiovese) were the last grapes picked on Thursday the 16th of April 2020. These varieties are sometimes made into ‘groovy’ alternative styles or stand alone small batch wines for our Buon Gusto Club.
Our predominant variety is Pinot Noir and have been growing and making it in Tasmania for 27 vintages. Stefano Lubiana was established in 1990 part of the entrepreneurial wave of winemakers who helped take Tasmania from a ‘cottage industry' to a world-class formidable force in Australian Wine. Our success is recognised in the many local, national & international accolades, securing our place in this country’s who's who of winemakers.
As we continue to celebrate our milestone of 30 years in Tasmania we are offering a one off Pinot Noir ‘extravaganza’ so that you can celebrate our anniversary with us in your own home or office, during Covid-19. We know and trust that you will enjoy this special occasion with us and we look forward to enjoying our next exciting milestone with you in the future.
Our Pinot Noir Extravaganza is a collection of a 6 pack of Pinot Noirs for $417 plus a complimentary limited release Pinot Noir Magnum (valued at $160.00) *please note no further discounts offered on this fantastic collection
At the heart of everything we do here at Stefano Lubiana Wines is the pursuit of excellence. To us that includes ensuring our vineyard and environment is in optimal health, producing chemical/synthetic free grapes.
Steve and Monique moved from the mainland in 1990 with the vision to not only produce exceptional wines but to also, make wines with a minimal environmental footprint. With that in mind they started their journey into Biodynamics. Biodynamic Agriculture, a philosophy documented by Rudolph Steiner in 1924, can be considered one of the earliest forms of organic farming. Like Organic farming it excludes the use of any synthetics and chemicals and champions the use composts and the natural rhythms of the earth… yes that means moon cycles. (astro calendar) Biodynamic agriculture is a holistic approach that we take physically in the vineyard and ethically within our business model.
Steve and Monique stopped using chemical fertilisers in 2001, and from winter 2008 they stopped using synthetic herbicides and fungicides on a third of their vineyard. In 2008 they also started applying the biodynamic soil spray, Preparation 500. Achieving Biodynamic certification through ACO in 2013 was a significant accomplishment for Steve, Monique and the Tasmanian wine dynamic. Currently, although some vineyards practice elements of Biodynamic agriculture, both in Australia and abroad, Stefano Lubiana Wines remains the first and only Biodynamic certified vineyard and winery in Tasmania.
Steve and Monique Lubiana view the Biodynamic philosophy as a step back to traditional farming, before conventional farming started to manipulate the environment. We believe putting the health of our environment at the forefront of everything we do in the vineyard will undoubtedly produce superior fruit that expresses more concentration, clarity and flavour.
We carry this approach through the entirety of our business not excluding our Osteria, which has its own Biodynamic market garden, chickens and beehives. Our Derwent Valley Winery is supplemented by solar power and every item of green waste is recycled through composting, as is all green winery waste.