Our vineyard is planted on rich clay loam soil at Wahgunyah, in North East Victoria. We believe the Rutherglen region is well suited to grape varieties from the Rhone Valley in France, with both regions having very similar climates. Hence, we have focused on Shiraz and Durif in our vineyard with total plantings of 6.2 acres and work very closely with local growers to source our Marsanne, Grenache, Mourvedre and Viognier.
The vineyard development has been a slow process. Our first plantings into our vine nursery were in 2001 from local cuttings. These were then transplanted out to the vineyard in 2002. We then slowly expanded our plantings over the last 4 years so we now have 6.2 acres under vine.
The first harvest from the Shiraz block was in 2005 producing a small quantity of high quality grapes, with the first Durif harvest taking place in 2007. We have been very fortunate to be able to source quality parcels of grapes from some excellent vineyards throughout the Rutherglen region. We work with specialist growers who have a similar philosophy to us in regards to care of the land and the fruit their vineyards produce. Our growers use a variety of methods including integrated pest management systems, minimal chemical use, right through to biodynamic preparations.
In the vineyard, we use natural farming methods including cover crops of oats and lupins between the rows, under-vine straw mulching to reduce weeds and retain moisture, fish & kelp emulsions, compost and free ranging geese to promote biodiversity and increase overall vineyard health. We are in the process of using less and less inputs in the winery with only one herbicide spray per year under the vines and sulphur and copper only on the foliage. All skins, stalks and residual grape pulp are composted on site and returned to the vineyard the following spring. To reduce energy usage we keep the tractor and ute in the shed as much as possible with most vineyard work done with a four wheel bike or on foot.
Drip irrigation from a bore is used as a supplemental water source as we encourage our vines to search deep to find their nutrients and water. Decisions regarding watering are done using MEA moisture monitoring at 600mm and 900mm as well as by shovel and by physically watching of vine condition.