After many years of working for international hotel corporations as Executive Chef, a great opportunity came up for Master Chef Daniel Hiltbrunner to work with this a well renowned winemaking family at Lark Hill Winery near Canberra. Lark Hill was established in 1978 by Sue and Dave Carpenter high on the escarpment above Bungendore, 30km north east of Canberra. Lark Hill is a cold vineyard and at 860m elevation it is one of the highest plantings in the Canberra District.
Daniel took over the Vineyard Restaurant in June, 2019 which sits on top of the hill overlooking the vines.
Biodynamics are at the heart of everything at Lark Hill. The first step to this is using organic farming standards to eliminate artificial, toxic inputs into the vineyard. Beyond this, biodynamic farming uses a collection of natural methods to increase crop health by re-establishing and supporting positive microbiology in the soil and in the crop itself.
The same philosophy is used by Chef Daniel with his food in the restaurant. The menu changes with the seasons and product availability from the local market, farms in the neighbourhood and Chef Daniel’s own produce. Food scraps go into the compost for the garden and some also go to the chickens which in return produce the most wonderful eggs.
In the winery the organic limitations are also observed (with regards to chemical inputs) and the elimination of toxic sprays from the vineyard results in healthy natural yeast ferments producing unique and diverse wines. There is a limit of 100mg/L of sulphur dioxide (preservative) under the vineyard’s certification – and the resulting wines are often lower than this level. As a result they will age predictably and safely, but may be more suitable for people with sulphur sensitivities.
In the short time D&K Kitchen @Lark Hill has been operating it has made a good name for its sustainable approach, seasonal menu, service and, of course, the wines throughout the Canberra region and beyond.