For the first time, the Hunter Valley wine community has hosted a smoking ceremony ahead of the year’s vintage.

The ceremony was conducted by Uncle Warren, Elder of the Wonnarua People, at the Audrey Wilkinson Cellar Door in Pokolbin.

Uncle Warren used smouldering native plants, including eucalyptus and emu bush to cleanse the area of bad energy. The smoke is also said to have antimicrobial effects which are passed onto the vines.

“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.”

Stuart Hordern, President of the Hunter Valley Wine & Tourism Association, thanked Uncle Warren for performing this 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. 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,” Hordern concluded.

Vintage 2023 has already begun, with drier weather prompting some producers to commence harvesting of their grapes.

This is unlikely to be the only time that this smoking ceremony is performed, with the Hunter Valley Wine & Tourism Association saying the event will become “an ongoing tradition within their industry.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *