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  • Your Hunter Valley Magazine

No Longer Odd-Bods & Hippies - Tamburlaine Organic Wines

Crafting organic wines is nothing new to Mark Davidson, Managing Director and Chief Winemaker at

Tamburlaine Organic Wines.


After all, he's been doing precisely that for too many years to count (without giving away his age), and it's been Mark's commitment to and passion for sustainability practices that has led to Tamburlaine becoming one of Australia's largest producers of award-winning organic wines.

This means that Tamburlaine adheres to strict rules regarding agricultural farming practices and production. Soil health is critical to maintaining organic standards. Mark is understandably proud to have vineyards in both the Hunter Valley and Orange wineries certified organic under the Southern Cross Certification.

"Sustainability and organics just make sense," says Mark.

"There’s plenty of evidence to prove the harmful effects of modern agricultural practices that aren’t organic in nature. We’ve proven that organic winemaking can be done, that it works, and I’m excited by the fact that consumers are now asking for it.”

Historically, before the development and use of agricultural chemicals, all winemaking was in effect organic. Many agricultural chemicals were developed during the world wars – Mustard Gas, Agent Orange and the like. Round-Up, so commonly used today, contains many of the active ingredients used in Agent Orange. The use of these chemicals makes sense from a business perspective because it makes the farms more productive, able to feed the 9 billion people on the planet. But the result is an accumulation of chemicals in the environment, the food chain and in humans that persists long after the initial application.

Mark Davidson and a group of friends and family purchased Tamburlaine in 1985. At the time, there were a few winemakers advocating organics, but they were considered ‘odd bods or ‘hippies’, and they didn’t have access to the technology or substitutes that are available to organic farmers today.

When Mark started the process toward organic practices, he did so cautiously and quietly because he didn’t want the brand to be negatively affected. He was told that it was impossible to do and that there was no prestige in the practice within Australia, unlike in Europe, where some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive wines are unashamedly organic. Through a long process of research, trial and error, Tamburlaine gradually moved into certified organic status.

With a background in psychology, Mark understood the impact of brand development and communications strategies on consumer behaviour and applied his broader life experience and perspective to the industry and to how Tamburlaine was run. Throughout the 90s, he built up a network of distribution for his organic wines.

Nowadays, Tamburlaine production has grown to be five times what it was in the 90s, and the market for his wines has also evolved, with consumers now wanting to know the provenance of their food and wine and details of the supply chain from which it comes. There is a growing demand for ethical, organic and sustainable products.

To cater to this growing demand, Tamburlaine has a well-developed Organic Rewards program that operates exactly as a frequent flyer system does – buy wine, earn points, redeem for cash off purchases. It is a highly successful e-commerce business model that rewards loyalty. There is also a membership program that rewards members with access to exclusive small production wines, member’s prices and member’s lunches and wine tastings.

Tamburlaine’s Case for a Cause is the perfect example of sophisticated brand marketing meeting Mark’s beliefs in positive action for the world. If consumers purchase a case of wine, $50 from the sale will be donated to the cause of their choice, with several options available to choose from.

“We want to affiliate our brand with community groups, people and causes that add positivity to the world. We want to work with people who are motivated toward positive action, and we actively seek them out to support them and affiliate our brand.

“Looking to the future, I see many opportunities to find new audiences and innovate like this.”

Mark's passion for the health and wellbeing of the environment and his fellow humans is a driving force behind the successful organic wineries, which he hopes to leave in the best possible condition for the generations to come. It’s award-winning wine and a positive experience for all.

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