Traditional Owners: Djab Wurrung and Jardwadjali
Varieties: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier
Situated in the hills southeast of Great Western at Armstrong, on an east facing, undulating slope of red/brown sandy clay loam, with buckshot and some quartz, known as the ‘Concongella’ soil series. Planted in 1969 by the Dalkin family, and then extended in 1998. From 2011 the Morris family have taken custodianship of this great site. The vineyard is mainly the rare St. Ethel clone of Shiraz, but with a small trial clonal block on various rootstocks. In 2008 a small block of Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier was added, on the lightest, poorest soils in the vineyard.
The vineyard is usually one of the later, cooler ripening sites we harvest, with a harvest date in the first week of April. The older Shiraz vines in particular display effortless depth and fine, building tannins, the wines ageing superbly, retaining admirable acidity. Grapes from the 1969 plantings often rise to the quality mark needed for a single, Westgate Vineyard bottling, and the 1998 plantings are an important, fleshy component of our Grampians Shiraz each year. The Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier vines go to make our white blend, and have a very promising future. One of our favourite, and most important sites in the district.
Located southwest of Great Western and north of Moyston, in the granite dotted hills, is Hyde Park Vineyard, a large, warm, vineyard set on a large siltstone hill, which looks like shale or slate, and erupts out of the red ferrous earth. We take grapes from the top of the hill, where the red earth is higher in clay and stone and retains more moisture, and largely avoids the need for irrigation in all but the hottest periods. Down the slope the soil becomes lighter and more sandy as it approaches an old creek. The earliest of our Shiraz to ripen now, it produces juicy, tangy, jubey red berry flavours and nice high tones.
From 2013 it will form the bulk of our Grampians Blend. A parcel of 100% whole bunch fermented Shiraz from this block adds spice and lift to the blend. Expertly managed by Robin Kuchel.
Moyston Hills Organic Vineyard
Planted in 1999 at 300mASL and expertly managed by Bruce and Kaye Robinson, we will have more information to share about this vineyard soon.
Planted in 2014 at 280mASL and expertly managed by Paul Dakis we will have more information to share about this vineyard soon.
Rory at Westgate Vineyard with grower Tim Morris.
Traditional Owners: Gunditjmara
Varieties: Pinot Noir
Rowan's Lane Vineyard
Again, a small block isolated from others, this time planted on the banks of the Merri River outside Warrnambool, the most easterly part of the Henty region. It was planted in 1998 by the Rafferty family, to MV6 and 115 clones of Pinot Noir, P58 Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, a little Riesling and some Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyard is influenced by two major features. Firstly, the sea, which is within 2km or so, and the retreat of which revealed the sands and shells that compose the subsoils of the vineyard. Secondly, the Tower Hill volcano a few kilometres west, which dusted the area with black, friable, ashen topsoils. Even, cool ripening conditions and modest crops make for earthy, powerful Pinots, and as of 2012 we have made some lovely wine from the site.
Traditional Owners: Girai Wurrung
Varieties: Pinot Noir
Newton's Ridge Vineyard
Another isolated block, this time 15 minutes inland from Port Campbell, the home of the famous 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road. The vineyard was planted by the Newtons in 1998 to 10 acres of Pinot Noir MV6 clone, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Meunier and a little Shiraz. Soils are brown clay loams over limestone, and rainfall is high, eliminating the need for irrigation. This is a very cold site, northeast facing and needs intense management to ripen adequately, so leaf removal and crop-thinning are necessary, but it is beginning to produce impressive Pinot Noir fruit with delicacy and perfume, and a caclaire quality not often seen in Aussie Pinot.
Traditional Owners: Taungurung
Varieties: Riesling and Pinot Noir
The Croucher Vineyard was made known to me when I began putting out feelers for a new Riesling source after the unfortunate pull-out and retirement of the Barrett’s at Portland in the Henty region. I am convinced that the best Riesling comes from the coldest vineyards, and so if I couldn’t have latitude, I wanted altitude. I was told about an old Brown Brother’s contract site next door to their Whitlands vineyard that had some pretty smart Riesling, so went to investigate. The Croucher Vineyard is set at close spacing on red volcanic soils, up at around 800m above sea level, and was planted in the mid-1980s. It seemed to have the right credentials. Beginning in 2015, the Riesling is very delicate, limey and floral, and retains great acidity. The Croucher family tend it with an expert hand.
Traditional Owners: Taungurung
Box Grove Vineyard
Planted in 1995 at 100mASL and expertly managed by Sarah Gough, we will have more information to share about this vineyard soon.