Duxton’s Euston vineyard is part of a 4000 hectare property situated on the banks of the Murray River in south-western New South Wales.  The vineyard was established by one of Australia’s best known viticultural families, the Chalmers family, in the 1980s and over the last thirty years has grown to a total of 803 hectares under vine encompassing nine different classic and Mediterranean varieties.  The terroir is classic red sandy-loam soils overlaying an ancient limestone bedrock.

The techniques employed at the Euston vineyard to ensure the quality of the grapes are extensive.  Plantings are higher than the average in the district, with more vines per hectare. This reduces the crop load per vine and creates a more shaded micro-climate, protecting the fruit from sun damage and reducing evapo-transpiration of the vines.  A remote solar powered weather station radios back readings of temperature, wind speed and direction while remote solar moisture probes throughout the vineyard send readings of moisture at varying depths back to a central computer every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day.  This ensures that not a drop of extra water is used than is necessary to produce quality wine grapes. State-of-the-art computerised drip irrigation systems have been designed to enable all irrigation to be applied only during the lowest evaporation periods of the day and night.  Liberal application of organically certified, composted cow manure not only encourages natural aeration of the soil, by encouraging earthworm populations, but also increases organic carbon content in the soil reducing water requirements.  The vineyard uses considerably less water than the regional average.  All this adds up to a high-tech vineyard employing only the finest techniques to produce the highest quality and most expressive fruit achievable while leaving the smallest ecological footprint possible.

It’s not only the vineyards at Euston that are astonishing. The property has 14km of frontage to the epic Murray River and encompasses about 1000 hectares of river flat forrest including red gum trees, home to individual trees which have stood for up to 1000 years. There are flood flats with an abundance of black and the rare yellow box flanking these red gum forests. In the northern corner of the property is the bed of an ancient extinct lake, a part of the Willandra lakes chain which includes the World Heritage Lake Mungo area. All over the property, from the Lake to Paiko creek, in the Mallee country and on River banks can be found evidence of the traditional owners of the land. Middens, canoe trees and skinning knives are all reminders of a time past, reminders of the importance of the Duxton Vineyard’s stewardship and duty of care for the cultural history and physical health of the land.

When this vineyard was originally established, trees were never removed to plant vines, only areas of arable land which had already been sensitively and wisely cleared in the 60s were utilised. Every paddock still has retained habitat for native flora and fauna, every hill top has a stand of ancient remnant vegetation acting as a wind break, ensuring no erosion of topsoil, and every tree or shrub which is even marginally rare has been saved and nurtured within the scheme of the impressive vineyard developments.

Because of the rich biodiversity in the vineyard and the wealth of native bird life, vineyard pests such as light brown apple moth are managed naturally which means there are no insecticides used at Duxton Vineyards’ Euston operations. Duxton Vineyards are 100% committed to continuing these sustainable practices, placing utmost value on environmental preservation for future generations.

Native fauna is in abundance through a self-imposed ban on hunting native animals. Predators are kept at bay through the active control of feral animals implemented as a part of the care regime. With all interior fences removed, kangaroos, emus and echidnas roam freely – and that’s not to mention the hundreds of species of birds, some considered highly endangered, that inhabit the many and varied woodlands.

One highly colourful parrot species, the Regent Parrot, has been on the endangered species list in Australia for some years and in the mid-nineties scientists believed there to be only 200 breeding pairs left. The ancient Red Gum forests along the river at Duxton Vineyards provide one of the last breeding grounds for these stunning creatures. Due to the protection of their territory they are making a great recovery with current numbers the greatest in decades.