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.
The Willoughby Bridge Vineyard at Colbinabbin has become an important source of Victorian Grenache, which is surprisingly hard to find. Grenache and Mourvedre were grafted there in 2009 and seem well suited to the warmer climate. Soils are red, Cambrian era and provide a nice blend of drainage and water holding capability. Steve Travers has held the tiller for many years there and loves that patch of dirt.