Michael is farming with organic practices and principles at both estate vineyards, whilst working with other local growers who focus on sustainable techniques and a low-impact approach. He has a soil-first approach to growing grapes and encourages biodiversity in and around the vineyard for increased vitality.
Sheep, alpacas, ducks and chickens all make up an important part of the ecosystem, keeping weeds and snails in check, while naturally building organic matter as they graze. Pruning and picking are done by hand. The winery utilises solar power, with an elevated crusher making the most of gravity during the vintage period by not requiring a must pump, and a small basket press feeding off a low energy demand. Water, steam and chemicals used for cleaning tanks and barrels is used carefully.
Main & Cherry is a story of friendships; of families forging their own paths, getting their hands dirty and creating wines that they love. The original Main & Cherry vineyard was planted in 1996 by the Sexton family, at Main Road in Cherry Gardens, nestled amidst the rolling foothills of Adelaide. Winemaker Michael Sexton produces small batches of distinctive wines, favouring Indian Runner ducks over pesticides, and working gently by hand, shovel and a small basket-press instead of high-tech machines.
Michael grew up tending the family vineyard, made his first batch of wine in the family’s underground cellar at Cherry Gardens, and went on to years of studying and making wines throughout McLaren Vale. Now, Michael and his partner Kirstie own and live on another vineyard above the Clarendon township. The family grow their own fruit, as well as sourcing grapes from other independent vineyards throughout the Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale: an honest, down to earth community built on handshake agreements and a commitment to quality.
Michael believes in the philosophy of being hands-on in the vineyard but a light-touch in the winery. He is aiming for a different type of perfection: vibrant, bright and expressive wines, with plenty of personality and nothing to mask the honest flavour of the fruit.