Two Birds Brewing’s tasting room ‘The Nest’ is in Spotswood.

Steve Faulkner has worked across many vineyards in Australia and has truly found his calling among the grapes. He’s a passionate advocate for our Australian viticulture industry and one of the many faces behind the Viticulture Australia initiative. The collective aims to shine the light on the work of the industry and the people who make it what it is. You can check the collective out via Instagram at @viticulture_australia

What do you love most about working in viticulture?
I really enjoy seeing the results of my work almost daily, whether it be pruning, shoot thinning, putting wires up and making the canopy stand straight. I also enjoy seeing the quality fruit that I helped to grow made into wine that can be shared and critiqued.

Tell me about Viticulture Australia.
Vineyard workers were never really seen as more than transient workers who wouldn’t hang around for a long time. Yet, there are workers who do stick around and make it their life’s work to do the best they can and enjoy the fruits of their labour. So Viticulture Australia came about due to this idea. A chat group was formed and I floated my idea about coming together, possibly making a hashtag for shining a light on viticulture, aimed at showing the everyday lives of normal vineyard workers. It was an opportunity to tell their stories. The group is united in its common cause to promote viticulture and the people in the vineyard, to raise our profiles and tell our stories. The group continually chats about viticulture, farming, soil, wine, and there’s everyday banter. It really is great.

Who are some of your favourite Australian wine producers at the moment?
Vignerons Schmölzer & Brown – every wine is superbly enjoyable. Owners Tessa and Jeremy have taken the plunge to buy land, build a vineyard and create their own wine label. Those kinds of family winemakers are the backbone of the Australian wine industry. Unfortunately, they lost their own vineyard to smoke taint in 2020 and had to source fruit from other places, and then Covid-19 hit. I really hope people can get on board and support this young wine family. The best part of the story is that Tessa started her career as a viticulturist – that’s probably why the wines are so good.

What Oakridge wine are you drinking at the moment and do you have a favourite pairing you enjoy with it?
The Oakridge Sparkling Meunier Rosé is a favourite at the moment for me, while my wife Julia really enjoys the 2019 Henk Chardonnay. Being the parents of three boys under eight years old during a pandemic and four lockdowns, the pairing we recommend with these wines is really just everyday life.