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winemaking

WINERY

Our wine is the product of traditional Burgundian viticultural and winemaking techniques.

The low-yielding, heavily pruned vines (clones 114, 115, 777 and MV6) are planted on a north-facing slope in the valley of the Jamieson River, 10km north of Mt Terrible in the Victorian Alps. We have the mountain to thank for the cool conditions which allow that slow ripening which makes for the most intense fruit, and also for the frosts and bushfires that are a constant threat to our vineyard’s continued existence.

Yields in the vineyard are kept below 1.5 tonnes to the acre. The grapes are picked by hand in late March or early April, on the basis primarily of flavour, at 13.5 – 14 degrees Baume. They are refrigerated on site within minutes of picking, then scrupulously sorted prior to crushing and de-stemming. A variable percentage of whole bunches and stalks are added to the must, and there follow 5 days of cold soaking prior to fermentation, which is actively initiated. Temperature during fermentation is controlled and there is a regime of strict four-hourly plunging.

Three quarters the way through primary fermentation, the wine is pressed off skins in a basket press and on completion of primary fermentation transferred without pumping to barrel, where malo-lactic fermentation takes place. Aging takes place in Sirugue and Francois Freres barriques, one third new, for sixteen to twenty months. The wine is racked approximately every six months and then bottled, unfiltered, on site. It is then held in the cellar for a minimum of twelve months prior to release. The object of the exercise is to produce a complex, well-integrated wine.

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In the autumn of 2019, deceiving myself about my age, I got talked into helping plant two new vineyards in our valley. Two well-drained north-facing sites with ample water. Irresistible. Now, three years on, we have been rewarded with our first home-grown Chardonnay vintage. Summer was cooler than usual and ripening was slow towards the end. We picked a bit under a tonne at 12.5% sugar, crushed whole bunches and cold settled the juice before fermenting with no malo in new Francois Freres barriques. All went well, though with new barrels I had to be careful not to over-do the oak and, after fining, settling and filtering, we bottled after only five months.

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