At Fowles Wine we have an amazing personal and regional garden to draw food from. We have two vegetable gardens, at our Cellar Door Café and Killeen Station, and a bountiful region from which to source delicious food. But let’s start with the food that provided the inspiration for our Food Wines – wild game.
We define wild game as any meat from the wild from a species not normally domesticated, including seafood.
Wild game itself is quite different compared to farmed meat. Game from the wild forage on natural herbs and grasses and do not enjoy the high energy diets of their domesticated counterparts. As a result, game meat is naturally very lean, dense and can be texturally challenging to the palate.
It is these distinctive qualities that inspired Matt Fowles to develop Ladies who Shoot their Lunch – a wine specifically made to walk the fine line between complementing these qualities, whilst not overwhelming them. And it is Matt Fowles’ connection to the land while pursuing game and growing ingredients to go with it that inspired him to develop Are you Game? - wines designed to encourage adventurous food and wine matching.
Wild game such as rabbit and hare is delicious, nutritious and as introduced species in Australia readily available. We believe that reducing their numbers through responsible hunting, rather than poisoning (an alternative control method used), is an inherently more sustainable way to enjoy meat compared to procuring it through mainstream channels. While perhaps a little confronting, hunting offers a powerful insight into the reality of eating meat; something we believe those who choose to do so should acknowledge. Through direct experience, we believe people can gain a greater understanding about what is involved to enjoy meat and as a result be motivated to waste less of it – a critical issue given the increased pressure meat demand is placing on our environment and the wastage that exists in our food chain.
While we hunt our own wild meat, we also farm our own lamb or source meat from our regional food producing friends.
If you want to become a more mindful meat eater check out Sustainable Table's Guide to Ethical Meat Suppliers for stockists of wild and ethical meats here.
Fowles Wine Cellar Door Café herb and salad garden uses organic principles to manage the garden – utilising natural balances of companion planting and encouraging “friendly” bugs to control the wayward ones (pests) rather than using chemicals. The garden was designed and constructed to allow for easy gardening and composting. Most mornings our Head Chef Adele can be found, knife in hand, harvesting for the coming day.
We also have a larger vegetable garden at Fowles Farm in Longwood. Here we grow an abundance of vegetables, citrus and stone fruits, together with the more space-consuming plants such as cucumber, pumpkin and melon. We also grow our own grass fed lamb at Fowles Farm and this inspired us to create a range of wines called Farm to Table. Unlike wild game meat, farm raised meat has a more 'open' fibre, 'softer' texture and higher fat content so we crafted Farm to Table wines to have more generous fruit definition and a firmer tannin structure to complement these characters.
Casting the net even wider, our region is home to a smorgasbord of great local producers many of whom are just a stone’s throw from the Cellar Door Café. Where would we be without Scotty the Avenel Butcher’s legendary pork and fennel sausages and home smoked ham? Or Greg’s free range eggs? Lizette’s Belted Galloway Beef bresaola? Michelle’s silky Swiss brown mushrooms? Or Sarah’s single varietal olive oil?? Not to mention the nuts, honey and other goodies supplied by Fowles Wine friends and neighbours…Well happily we don’t have to answer that question because we’re committed to working with these and other wonderful regional producers.
While we can’t always source all of our veggies or ingredients from the region (we don’t have a flour mill in the region yet!) our aim is to source and serve the best from the region first so we can offer everyone who eats with us a real taste of place.
And if you want to track down meat and veggies with a face and sense of place near you check out the Australian Farmers Market Association here.