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Biodynamics

The foundation of biodynamic farming is soil health. This does not simply mean the adjustment of nutrient levels. Our farming aims to maintain a balanced and diverse population of soil biology. Compost applications initiate conditions favourable to soil micro-organisms which are active in making nutrients available to plants in a natural form. Vegetation and composts are broken down to form humus which improves soil structure and better holds water and nutrients. Irrigation inputs are thus reduced.

Synthetic fertilisers and pesticides which damage the soil biology are not used which allows the natural system to operate without interruption. Weeds are controlled by straw mulching or careful machine weeding. Increased soil activity has a flow on effect. The earthworm population increases rapidly and greater volumes of soil are aerated and made available for exploration by plant roots.

The farm is seen as a whole organism rather than a series of problems to be solved individually. It is the intention that PAXTON vineyards mimic the characteristics of a natural system. In this endeavour we seek to promote diversity and allow natural balance to counter the effects of pests or disease. New vineyards are propagated from our old, existing vines rather than using identical clonal material. This maintains the subtle differences between each vine and produces wines of greater individuality.

Between the vine rows we promote a variety of plant life, each providing different habitat and nutrient profiles. The incorporation of bee hives improves grape pollination and seed production of the mid-row plants.

The main biodynamic composts are produced primarily from cow manure. Manure tainted with chemical intestinal worm treatments makes poor compost and therefore, to ensure the integrity of our compost, we maintain our own small herd of non-drenched cattle for this purpose.

The necessity to focus on the smallest details is rewarded by great benefits. We now spend far more time digging amongst the weeds. Observing what is happening below the ground gets as much attention as what happens above.

The ultimate result, I hope, is a range of wines that highlight the individuality of the vineyard, vintage and the actions of the people who are the temporary custodians of the land.

David Paxton

Viticulturalist & Founder

Recent News

Reviews & Accolades

  • Deep garnet: there is a sappy complexity to the bouquet that is beguiling, with ripe red fruits, well-handled oak, and a hint of jasmine; the palate reveals more toasty oak notes, with fine-grained tannins and velvety texture a feature of the long finish: an elegant expression of the region. 95/100

    2009 Paxton EJ Shiraz
    James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion 2014 Edition
  • A dark and layered bouquet full of black fruits, red fruit highlight, hints of mocha and licorice; the palate is full-blooded, ample and generous, with ripe chewy tannins and fresh acidity lingering on the finish. 94/100

    2010 Paxton Jones Block Shiraz
    James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion, 2014 Edition
  • “The Paxtons of McLaren Vale have been using sustainable farming methods for several years but the 2010 vintage, including this single vineyard chardy, is one of the first wines produced since Paxton earned its stripes as a fully biodynamic producer. Bright and tight with clean citrus and melon fruit flavours, background French oak characters and a crisp finish."

    2010 Paxton Thomas Block Chardonnay
    Kerry Skinner, Illawara Mercury
  • 94pt- Dense purple-crimson, extraordinary for '11, and a triumph for biodynamic grape growing; it keeps its sense of place with a crown of dark chocolate, yet is no more than medium-bodied, the alcohol seeming much lower than 14.5%; spice and pepper lurk under the fine black fruits. Drink By: 2026 Price:$37.00 AU Date Tasted: 17 Feb 2014 Alcohol: 14.5%

    2011 Paxton Jones Block Shiraz
    James Halliday - Published on 27 Jul 2014
  • 94pt- Good depth to the colour; a great advertisement for McLaren Vale and biodynamics, full of varietal fruit flavour, tannins and dark chocolate. Drink By: 2021
    Date Tasted: 01 Sep 2013 Alc: 14% James Halliday - Published on 27 Jul 2014


    2011 Paxton The Vale Cabermet
    James Halliday - Published on 27 Jul 2014
  • 93pt-“Don’t see these wines anymore, so thank heavens I leave the house every now and then to taste stuff. Raspberry, blackberry, chocolate, Jersey Caramel, some cut flower stems and a little bit of reductive stink, though a nice stink it is. Medium bodied, grainy tannin,fresh, shapely, fruit richness but not confected. Even some ‘mineral feel’ here, along with ample length.Spot on. What a bargain.” RRP $20

    2012 Paxton AAA Shiraz Grenache
    Gary Walsh, The Wine Front Tasted: Jul-14 Alcohol: 14% Drink: 2014 - 2020
  • Low-ish alcohol, biodynamically grown, no yeast or acid added, all old oak, limited SO2. It sounds downright un-Australian.
    But it's a very interesting wine. Highly drinkable too. It feels good in the mouth, has good carry through the finish, has no lack of up-front flavour, shows no alcohol warmth and has a velvety grapeyness that is quite captivating. I'm sold on it. Dark cherries, violets, a hint of oxidation but in a positive sense. Beautifully formed tannin too. 91/100

    2012 Paxton Graciano
    Campbell Mattinson, Winefront, 3rd January 2014
  • Biodynamically-grown shiraz from McLaren Vale. Small proportion of whole bunches. Grapes come from four separate vineyards. Spends extended time on skins and is matured in both French and American oak.
    Excellent release. Tasty plus. Plums and blackberries, hay and sweet, roasted, milky coffee. Tannin through the finish is a case of Not Too Much, Not Too Little. Crowd-pleasing style but quality in its own right. Price isn't bad either. 92/100

    2012 Paxton MV Shiraz
    Campbell Mattinson, Winefront, 3rd January 2014
  • Single vineyard wine out of McLaren Vale. Biodynamically grown. Wild fermented.
    This is a lighter expression of McLaren Vale Shiraz. That's a good thing. It's high on aromatics and juicy, light-on-its-feet drinkability. It tastes of black cherry, blueberry, peppercorn and blackberry. More or less in that order of emphasis. There's a smoky, clovey, come-hither note to nose, though it's a sophisticated invitation rather than a sleazy one. Everything is dotted and crossed. It'll grow more complex with age, too.

    2012 Paxton Quandong Farm Shiraz
    Campbell Mattinson, Winefront, 3rd January 2014
  • 91pt- "Wow, there's plenty of fruit concentration in this McLaren Vale shiraz. It's powerful but a high degree of poise and elegance has contributed to a most stylish wine. Firm tannins thread seamlessly through the rich plummy fruit with a liberal toasty oak infusion adding complexity. Lots to like in this thoroughly drinkable offering"

    2013 MV Shiraz
    Ray Jordan- WA Oct 2014
  • 93pt-The grapes were whole bunch-pressed and the juice
    fermented in stainless steel, 60% with wild yeast,
    40% with cultured yeast; the lees were stirred for 3
    weeks post-fermentation. It has a distinct pink tinge
    to the colour, and is a pinot gris with bagfuls of
    attitude; the texture borders on the baroque, and the
    spiced pear and apple fruit is there for all to see.
    Drink by: 2015 Date tasted: 5/8/2013 Alcohol:13%

    2013 Paxton Pinot Gris
    James Hallidays Wine Compnaion 2014
  • Made from grapes specifically grown for this wine, and was given 24 hours' skin contact, then cool-fermented like a white wine - the secret weapon 5% fermented in new French oak. Bright fuschia-pink, it has red cherry/strawberry aromas, the palate building convincingly with seamless fruit in the same register, mouthfilling and pleasingly dry. 95/100

    2013 Paxton Rose
    James Halliday, Wine Companion Newsletter, 21st August 2013
  • 92pt- "Bargain quaffer but with bloody, meatiness, density, chewy tannins and a fresh finish-the wine feels almost joven in its sleek, vibrant way but there's that tannin tug that shows your palate a little more structure and spiciness of fruit offers intrigue. Nicely done here, 12.5% alc."

    2013 Paxton Tempranillo
    Mike Bennie WBM- Oct 2014