Having cut his winemaking teeth on his father’s biodynamic vineyard in the Hunter Valley (Krinklewood), Peter Windrim has now moved on to a new natural wine adventure. And it’s proudly curated right here in Byron Bay.
Natural Order Wine (NOW) is an online wine store doing things differently, with a subscription service offering a unique selection of natural wines from independent labels and family businesses, each lovingly handpicked. You can also get a bottle of Natural Order’s own wine, along with Windrim’s quirky tasting notes that are informative and thoroughly entertaining (much like the man himself!).
We grabbed Peter to chat about his passion for natural wine, making the Northern Rivers home, and what he loves about life as a local.
First things first, introduce yourself — who are you, where do you live, and what do you do?
My name is Peter Windrim, and I am a wine guy with a background in art direction. I’ve been a winemaker in Australia and France, I opened Byron’s first wine bar, and now run a business called Natural Order Wine with two mates in Byron. I live between the river and the surf in South Golden Beach with my wife, Nina, and our Maremma dog, Milka, whom was a vineyard guardian for our chickens and sheep when we lived on a vineyard in the Hunter Valley. Milka now bodysurfs with us everyday so has had a radical sea change. I taste lots of delicious wine, but mostly I unpack boxes, pack boxes, flatten boxes, and recycle boxes. Ha.
Tell us a little more about Natural Order Wine — where did it all start for you in the natural wine world, and how has it evolved?
My two partners, James and Daniel, approached me about an online wine business when I owned my wine bar in Byron. It was a bit of a Covid shift I guess, as I put my bar up for sale the moment I heard that the hospitality scene in Hong Kong had shut down in less than one day when the virus kicked off, and leapt onto this idea with them. Natural Order is a virtual wine business. We began with subscriptions, but now we have an online bottle shop, plus our own brand, NOW wines, are offically releasing next month, and we are opening our first physical space in the new year. Plotting a vineyard site also.
I grew up on a vineyard in the Hunter Valley so grape juice has run in my veins forever. I didn’t however, return to the farm and become a winemaker until I was 35. My dad farmed biodynamically which is what drew me back initially, but it was the natural wine movement that further fanned the flames of excitement. It’s so creative, so expressive, and so honest. There’s no trickery, and it takes a lot more skill to get it right.
Sum up the Natural Order Wine ethos in three words:
Enthuse. Inspire. Share.
What are you inspired by in your local community, and how does this influence your work?
I’m enthused by our community’s passion for nature, equalled by a passion for a good time. There’s lots of beautiful talk of trees and trails and surfing, but I’ve never met so many entrepreneurs in one small area. People don’t move to Byron to drop out. They move here to breathe, but also to make and to motivate. This all influences your work by having an approachable and transparent business, and creating something that reflects not just our town, but a collective ethos around the globe. You can’t bluff people in a place like this. It’s like the country in that way.
What does ‘home’ mean to you?
Hugging my wife, and having her all to myself for at least one weekend a month where we make no plans and see nobody. And as much as I miss living on a vineyard, I’m at home with the sound of the surf in our house. I’ve had a pretty restless life, always chasing new adventures, new jobs, new countries to live in, so I’ve never felt more at home than this very moment.
Let us in on your go-to favourite places! When it’s time to unwind, where do you like to eat, play, drink, relax and have fun around the Northern Rivers?
We live a short bike ride from a river inlet called Christmas Beach. My wife and I cycle there for swims, but our extended friends gather there often for beach picnics and wines. Our favourite restaurant is a vegetarian joint called No Bones. I used to raise and slaughter animals on the farm, but after I watched Seaspiracy I flipped the other way. It’s a wildly good restaurant regardless though. We mostly drink at house parties, but the drinks and wine list at Oma is very good. It used to be a nightclub called Locura which we used to love dancing in, but covid forced them to shift the model. There’s loads of music here, the walks and hikes are amazing, the waterfalls are epic, and there are so many good places to surf.
What’s your weekend ritual?
I don’t have many. But most likely we cycle to Christmas Beach for a swim on Saturday morning, then go to a party or have street drinks with our neighbours (who weirdly are all our mates) that turns into a party at ours. Then on Sunday we turn our phones off, go for a hike or a nude swim (eek), cook something comforting, and watch an early film. Such a grandpa. Ha.
Which other local artists, designers or creatives are you most inspired by at the moment?
Craig Ruddy was a hero of mine 20 years ago and now is such a good friend. Pete “Waves” White painted the interiors for my bar. His first art job and it was incredible. It now hangs in our house. Also, Pan Pottery, Otis Carey, Worn Store, Ozzie Wright, Afends, Emma Gale, Marty Baptist, Sunnie Zuleta.
What’s up next for you? What should we be keeping an eye out for in the world of Natural Order Wine?
More of everything. Better at everything. And everything of more benefit and substance and contribution. Better for the planet in everyway we can.
Also, more parties, more music, and more fun. Also NOW wines hitting the streets very soon.