Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Industry conducts Inaugural Smoking Ceremony ahead of 2023 growing season

Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Industry conducts Inaugural Smoking Ceremony ahead of 2023 growing season

More than a hundred local winemakers, grape growers and tourism industry representatives gathered recently to take part in the Hunter Valley’s inaugural Vintage Smoking Ceremony, conducted by Uncle Warren, Elder of the Wonnarua People.

Held at the Audrey Wilkinson Cellar Door in Pokolbin, guests welcomed the opportunity to connect with each other and with the land, at such an important time for the local wine industry.

The ancient method of cleansing negative energy, both physically and spiritually, uses smouldering native plants, such as eucalyptus or emu bush, to produce a smoke with antimicrobial effects that are passed on to the vines and soil.

Commenting on the ceremony, Uncle Warren said this ritual sets to protect and nurture the growing process and provide peace and hope to local winemakers.

“This ceremony will help local wine producers and growers to connect with the land by having mother nature and the spirits of Baiame and Kawal on their side to provide protection to the vineyards and their roots over this Vintage,” Uncle Warren said.

“This protection will help provide the right amount of rain, the right amount of sun and everything from Mother Nature to provide a successful harvest of the vines upon this land.”

Hunter Valley Wine & Tourism Association President, Stuart Hordern, opened the ceremony.

“This has been a challenging growing season for all and we are grateful to Uncle Warren for his time and positive energy ahead of our 23 Vintage,” Stuart said.

“We understand this is the first time any wine region has undertaken a smoking ceremony ahead of a vintage and it is fitting that it should be in the birthplace of the Australian wine industry.

“The wines we make in the Hunter Valley are internationally renowned for having a unique regional character about them and acknowledging the country and its indigenous connection to it is a uniquely Australian extension to the concept of terroir.”

Producers have already commenced harvesting given the drier weather the region has benefitted from recently, and the majority of white grapes will start to be harvested in the next couple of weeks.

IMAGE | HVWTA President, Stuart Hordern, James Agnew from Audrey Wilkinson and Uncle Warren.

Hunter Valley Wine & Tourism Association

The Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association (HVWTA) is a not-for-profit membership based incorporated body, responsible for destination and wine marketing, advocacy as well as technical and business support for all facets of the Hunter Valley wine and tourism industries from viticulture through to winemaking and tourism/wine promotion.

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