14/09/2004 - 22:00

Organic growth for Oranje Tractor

14/09/2004 - 22:00


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Murray Gomm has no problem with the idea of taking his work home with him. In fact, the two sides to his career complement each other perfectly.

Organic growth for Oranje Tractor

Murray Gomm has no problem with the idea of taking his work home with him.

In fact, the two sides to his career complement each other perfectly.

Mr Gomm’s full-time job is with the Department of Health in a role that aims to minimise the social harm from alcohol and drug consumption.

Mr Gomm’s other job is at his vineyard, Albany’s Oranje Tractor Wines, where he bottles the good stuff to sell to a growing market of wine enthusiasts in the Great Southern.

Mr Gomm says the values of wine appreciation and the health department’s focus on moderate drinking work well together.

“Maximising the enjoyment is the message we want to hook on to,” he says.

“Having wine in a standard drink in marked glasses will help do that.

“We’re going to work on serving drinks in the 100ml, or a standard size, so you can appreciate the wine and keep track of what you’re drinking.”

Mr Gomm operates Oranje Tractor with his wife, Pamela Lincoln, who is a trained dietician who has credentials in wine making.

The pair founded Oranje Tractor Wines in 1998, which produced its first vintage last year.

This year the vineyard produced 900 cases of wine. It has grown distribution through its mail order Tractor Seat Wine Club and some retail interest in Perth.

At the end of this year the winery will open a cellar door.

“Our first vintage went really well we got medals for our riesling and sauvignon blanc at the Qantas Mt Barker Wine Show,” Mr Gomm says. 

An organic vineyard, Oranje Tractor Wines also has a small farming operation that grows fresh produce and free-range chickens.

Oranje is the Dutch spelling for orange and pays homage to a 1964 orange tractor used on the vineyard and to the backpackers who turn up each vintage to pick grapes.

The travellers find out about the farming and grape picking opportunities through the organisation called Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOFers).

“We have a stream of international backpackers and it was one of our German WOOF-ers who suggested we use the Dutch spelling of orange,” Mr Gomm says.

“A lot of them come from the east coast and they’ve spent a lot of time in cities and getting drunk and they just want to see Australia and live with an Australian family.

“They want to see the nature and the open spaces so they look in the WWOOFing handbook and see us and come down.”

And it’s not just international backpackers who are discov-ering the beauty of the Great Southern.

Mr Gomm says the region has become increasingly popular for intrastate and interstate tourists.

“There’s really been a focus on the Great Southern in the past two to three years and the Great Southern Development Commi-ssion has been really good at pulling it together and marketing the region,” he says.

The development of the Albany farmers’ market has also helped promote the region as a producer of quality food and wine.

“It’s every Saturday and you can get so many products here. There’s fresh asparagus, free range pork, free range eggs, and lots of other fresh produce,” Mr Gomm says.

Oranje Tractor Wines has released a riesling, sauvignon blanc, cabernet merlot, late harvest, and a rose and is experi-menting with sparkling wines.

“Last week we bottled sparkling riesling. That’s a little bit different again, so we only have a small amount of it and we’ll make that available at the cellar door.”

Mr Gomm says he eventually wants to build up the Oranje Tractor Wines business into a provedore operation, offering good fresh produce along with a good drop of wine.

“I’d like to be working in the vineyard full time and having farm gate provedore where people can appreciate everything we do,” he says.

“I’ve got an out-of-control veggie garden and we’re looking at doing a red wine vinegar and having olives planted.”


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