Ep 45 | Amelia Nolan

In this episode Charlie chats to Amelia Nolan. Amelia Nolan represents a new breed of wine maker, one with no preconceived notion of ‘the right way to make wine’, willing to explore the artisanal craft of natural wine making, initiating regenerative farming practices in the vineyard and combining it all with cutting edge technologies to create wine truly expressive of the site specific terroir of the vineyard in the Barossa Valley.

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Episode Takeaways

Amelia has 30 years in the wine business | Amelia grew up on a farm at Naracoorte and her father was a 3rd generation sheep farmer | She studied at Roseworthy Agricultural College , worked at Hardys and moved to the UK with the company who then merged with Constellation Brands an American drinks producer and marketing company | She was diagnosed with a rare ovarian cancer at age 33 which changed her perspective on life significantly, and believes her illness was necessary to redirect her path in life | She currently is managing director at  Alkina Wine Estate in The Barossa valley for Argentinian Alejandro Bulgheroni | The Barossa Valley was settled in the 1830-50’s primarily by Germans | Alkina Wine Estate has a history with well known wine makers Peter Lehman and the Kalleske family- with links to both | Amelia has learnt that often it’s what one does less of that makes the difference | An example is utilizing wild yeasts in the wine making process | She had no previous experience in making wine so didn’t have paradigms to get over | She is experimenting with more natural winemaking techniques | Terroir – how soil and rock informs texture and taste | Her head wine advisor Alberto Antonini has introduced the use of electrical conductivity scanning of the whole farm and digging soil pits to identify specific layers of parental materials of rock, clay, sand and silt layers | Amelia is determined to create wines that truly represent the terroir of their vineyard and picking grapes and making wine as defined by the parental material in which the vines is growing enables this | The dryness of SA and Barossa has inspired Amelia and her team to increase the resilience of the vineyard | There are a number of habitat restoration programs in place, one specifically for the native blue banded bee | 11,500 specific insect species on the farm, which is a wonderful indicator of environmental health | David Paxton was their first viticulture advisor and Alkina has been certified Biodynamic since 2018 | Biodynamics is a big part of building soil health | The phrase ‘80% of something is better than 100% of nothing’ really resonates with Amelia | She recognises the potential of the indigenous landscape wisdom to help heal this vineyard and is creating a relationship with local elder Auntie Pat and others | If Amelia could put 2 words on a billboard beside a busy highway they would be:  ‘optimism’ and ‘gratitude’


Episode Links

Alkina Wine Estate – Barossa, South Australia

Alkina, Barossa – where history, wine & luxury meet – The  Weekend Australian ( 21.08.21)

Alejandro Bulgheroni – owner Alkina Wine Estate 

Alberto Antonini – wine maker & owner of Poggiotondo Wines, Italy

Hardys Wines 

Constellation Brands

The Polygons – Alkina wine range

David Paxton – Founder/ owner Paxton Wines

Native blue banded bee