Steve Lubiana established Stefano Lubiana wines in Tasmania back in 1990, after growing up on a vineyard and in a winery owned by his parents, in the Riverland wine region of South Australia. Steve then studied winemaking at Roseworthy College, near Adelaide, and began to seek out places he could grow cool climate grapes. “I wanted to grow cool climate grapes, so I looked around South Australia, up in the Adelaide Hills and Eden Valley and then over to Margaret River before arriving in Tasmania, on my honeymoon,” explains Steve. “I then spent a year looking around Tasmania, and found this property just outside of Hobart. We moved here in 1990 and started growing grapes.” When Steve and his then new wife Monique took over the property in Granton, they sold most of their fruit to the likes of Yalumba, Hardys and Penfolds, in order to eek out a living, before embarking on their own winegrowing adventure. Stefano Lubiana is Tasmania’s first and only certified biodynamic wine estate. The 25 hectare vineyard, on their north facing property, is predominantly planted with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, plus a small amount of Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Merlot. The vineyard soils comprise silt and gravel loams over a hard clay base.“I was sold on biodynamics before we even arrived in Tasmania…” explains Steve, “and after watching a television program, it just made so much sense to me, and I thought ‘this is exactly right’. So, I started using the principals of BD to grow my tomatoes in the back yard.”
“For me, biodynamics is about commonsense, and having respect for the land and the farmer, and the product, and the consumer, and that way, everybody wins,” says Steve. The entire 25 hectares was converted to biodynamics in 2010 with certification following in 2013 (Australian Certified Organic). “The vineyard is much greener and healthier, rather than being brown and dusty and dry,” says Steve. “The soils are so much more fertile, there’s more humus and it has better water holding capacity, better porosity, which is definitely a sign that the soil is healthier.” According to Steve, the Stefano Lubiana vineyard is relatively free from pest and disease pressures, except during summer time when the fungal disease, powdery mildew, can strike. The vineyard has good air drainage, and benefits from the temperate, yet cool, climate of Tasmania.The biodynamic regime that Steve and Mark apply to the vineyard is carried over into Steve’s approach to winemaking. “You’ve got to get the fruit right first,” explains Steve, “and look for the balance between sugar and acid in the grapes. The winemaking, like all good wines, should be done in the vineyard, so the winemaker becomes more like a caretaker. Steve is starting to experiment more and more with wild yeast ferments and reducing the amount of fining and filtration he does to his wines, especially where Pinot Noir is concerned.