Heres on the grapevine

Investment. It is Stafford Ives-Heres’ love for his hometown of Marrawah that has impelled him to etch his legacy into his community.

“I wake up each morning,” he said, “look out the window and the opportunities are there.”

Turning 21 this Christmas Day, the young local’s ambition, hard work and determination will culminate in a lifelong project for him: running and managing a vineyard.

Located at Green Point and situated above the bay, overlooking magnificent views of the west coast, Stafford has grand plans for the picturesque establishment.

“It all started when Dad was selling kelp to vineyards in Tassie,” Stafford said.

“I met a few people through that and got an idea of what was involved.”

Fascinated by the industry, the seed was planted in Stafford’s mind and inspiration began to grow.

“I saw a door . . . Circular Head has the cleanest air and best beef in the world, I thought that rather than increase what we have, expand and diversify into something else,” he said.

“With a beautiful view of Marrawah, it’s a possible tourist attraction to the area.”

Enlisting the support of his father – the owner of Tasmanian seaweed fertiliser producer Marrawah Gold – Stafford Heres Senior, Northern Vineyard Services’ Darren Huett and viticulturist with 35 years’ experience Bruce McCormack, Stafford was able to gain valuable knowledge and begin his venture.

“They were extremely helpful to talk to about an area that is all new to me,” he said.

Purchasing four hectares of land, 5000 vines (4000 pinot and 1000 chardonnay) were planted on one of those hectares in early December.

Guards 900 millimetres high will protect the plants during their initial growth period and wires will give the plants something to reach for and strengthen them over time.

“Grapes are a long-term investment,” Stafford said.

“It takes seven years until you reach full production and that’s generally when they get cropped. The way I am training the vines hopefully by the third year, there might be enough for a couple of bottles.”

While there is a risk that the location of the vineyard will affect growth, Stafford is optimistic.

“There is a risk with salt air . . . you can see how salt burns grass off. It’s all about management and I believe understanding how the sea environment works,” he said.

“Spraying with Marrawah Gold helps coat the plant by increasing the sugar level within the vine and increases tolerance of salt, which I will use. I will try to make it as organic as I can and become a certified organic wine in the next five to 10 years.”

Stafford says he knows “there will be good and bad years” but is going into the challenge wholeheartedly with a 10-year plan.

“Initially the first 12 months will be seeing how they will grow and whether they are as good as Tamar Valley,” he said.

“If all goes well down the track, I’d like to increase the size (of the vineyard), creating a cellar door.

“At the end of the day hopefully it will be a family-run business and passion, with my family and locals employed.”

Thankful for the help of his family and community, Stafford said it was important to support the local economy as much as possible.

“I shopped as local as I could when setting up. It’s important to do that, to keep and increase jobs within our community.”

He believes the winery will create another opportunity for tourism within the region.

“I hope to showcase Circular Head with what I’m doing. I’m extremely proud to live in and have grown up here.

“I’m very excited but also very nervous to see how it goes.

“I hope to think it’s a good investment and that I will be selling good quality wine in 30 years’ time.”

Photo: Marrawah’s Stafford Ives-Heres is developing a winery at Green Point with the hopes of it becoming a family business and prominent tourist destination within Circular Head.

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