Since 1996, Restdown’s custodians Don & Jo Hearn have worked passionately with nature, believing adamantly that farming and conservation can work together. Guided by strong principles of sustainability, with organic and biodynamic practices, they produce a stunning selection of European- influenced wines, and the tastiest, most nutritious beef imaginable, amongst the ancient wetland system of the Murray River Country.
We love our Cows! Here at Restdown we’re blessed with an abundance of native trees, vegetation and room to roam, creating a wonderful certified organic environment for our herd of happy and healthy Hereford cows.
Caring for our animals is our highest priority, with their well being firmly at the forefront of all our decision making here on our farm. The Hereford breed is famous for its calm nature and mothering ability. Allowing them to graze only on naturally occurring grasses and pastures full of nutrition and natural health-giving properties means the resulting meat is succulent, flavoursome and tender.
We currently sell our beef in 5kg and 10kg boxes, exclusively to customers who have registered on our “Beef Lovers” List. Our Beef Boxes include a range of mixed cuts providing options for both slow and speedy meals. From scotch fillet to roasts to premium mince and stewing cuts, our entire beef range is top quality, organically grown right here at Restdown and full of flavour. You won’t eat better! Please get in touch if you’d like more information or to enquire about joining our ‘Beef Lovers” List. In addition, you can also purchase individual cuts of organic beef from our cellar door (subject to availability) when you next visit.
Get in touch if you’d like to enquire about joining our Beef Lovers List
At the heart of our winemaking operation is minimal intervention. Let the wine make itself! We start with the grapes that nature gives us as a result of our care and attention to the soil and the vines throughout the year. We celebrate the seasons, knowing that Mother Nature will put her handprint on the grapes as a reflection of the conditions experienced. And then we bring our own ideas to the winery, our love of European traditions and simple techniques in winemaking - natural acidity, balanced with primary fruit flavours and very little else.
Our operation is small, using an old Italian basket press, French oak barrels and human hands to pick and nurture the grapes. Minimal sulphur is used to enhance freshness in the colour and flavours, fining agents are rarely used, and long bottle maturation is the rule. We do the cellaring for you! Whites, reds and rose are produced right here at Restdown in our quirky underground cellar.
Restdown is a Certified Organic Farm, meaning that everything grown on the property is free of artificial additives and chemical toxins.
No herbicides or pesticides have been used on the farm since Don & Jo took control of the property in 2012, Fortunately, the land had never been used for intensive, high input farming, as Don’s parents, who had control of the farm up until then, had always taken a gentle approach to land use anyway. They had retained natural tree belts wherever possible and believed strongly in conserving native habitats for the flora and fauna to thrive in a managed way. Greenies before their time!
But Certified Organic means more than just farming without chemicals. It means that everything our animals eat is certified organic too! Their health is paramount! It means farming with a conscience, ensuring the highest standards of animal welfare are maintained. It means protecting the natural environment and treading lightly on the Earth, for current and future generations to thrive, and it means farming with consumer health at the forefront of our decision making. After all, we eat what we grow on Restdown too!
It’s all about the dirt! Soil health is everything to regenerative farmers, that’s why Don has focussed so much attention on enhancing soil health on Restdown. Using his favourite toy, the aerator, to release compaction in heavily grazed areas of the past, planting trees to create windbreaks and fencing the land into smaller paddocks to allow rotational grazing, have been key strategies to increase water holding capacity, build up organic matter and allow plenty of resting time in between grazing.
The soils have shown massive improvements in friability and the volume of feed being grown on the property has increased, allowing us to feed and carry more animals in perfect health.
A recent addition to the regenerative practices being used on the farm has been the introduction of winter-active dung beetles onto Restdown. These little critters bury cattle dung deep down in the soil, boosting soil fertility, improving moisture retention, helping to control bush flies (yay!!!) and sequestering carbon!!! Wins all round!
Wetlands are the kidneys of the Earth. They filter the groundwater and provide a unique habitat of biodiversity for plant and animal species to thrive. A huge range of birds, frogs, reptiles, mammals and insects can be found on a visit to this natural, ephemeral wetland. Rehabilitated in 2003, during the worst drought in recorded history, the wetland has been restored to its natural state and through collaboration with the Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group, is able to be flooded with irrigation water in prolonged dry periods. The wetland is an integral part of the Restdown farm, showing that conservation and farming can work hand in hand.
Self-Guided and Fully Guided Walks are offered around the Wetland. Enquire here for more information.
Restdown was once home to the Barapa Barapa and Wamba Wamba people, and we acknowledge and pay our respects to this community and their elders, past, present and emerging.
The Restdown Wetland is blessed with cultural sites and evidence from the traditional owners, and Jo & Don continue to work hard to preserve and share this heritage with visitors to the property.
Over thousands of years, traditional owners created earth banks within the wetland channel to manipulate the flow and water levels, allowing different plants to be grown for different purposes - medicinal, ceremonial and food. An abundance of food was to be found in the wetland - fish, turtles, frogs, birds and mammals all thrived in and around the wetland, creating a permanent supply, as long as the wetland held water, sustaining a population that archaeologists estimate numbered 200 - 300 people. Evidence of their community remains in the earth mounds or hearths of ash from cooking fires used continually over millennia, scarred trees and stone relics discovered by the Hearn family, around the farm. Axe heads, digging and grinding stones tell of a highly efficient and organised community and trading network, operating across the land.