The vineyard is on an elevated position above the Moorabool Valley. It has red soil over limestone, reminiscent of the famed ‘terra rossa’, rather than excessively fertile river flats, and the added advantage of a regular breeze to reduce the risks of frosts, pests and diseases, and thereby significantly diminish the need for chemical sprays. Another big natural advantage is the pair of Wedge Tail eagles that have lived here for over 35 years, with their constant large moving shadows over the grapes making plump grape predators very nervous!
In 1995 approx 5 acres each of Cabernet Sauvignon clone G9V7 and Shiraz clone PT23 were planted at 1.8m spacings in rows 2.2m apart on VSP adjustable trellis in Nth-Sth orientation for maximum even light exposure. In 2000 a further approx 3.5 acres each of Pinot Noir clone MV6 and Pinot Grig clone D1V7 (which at the time was one of the largest private Gris plantings in OZ), were added.
The total vineyard has approx 40km of computer controlled drip irrigation feeding off an 8Mg plastic lined dam. Although we have access to this, as a cool climate site we do not always need it. Cropping at an average of less than 2 tonne an acre, local rainfall if often sufficient. Unlike vineyards further Nth-Wst of here in the ‘South Eastern Australian’ category of ‘industrial producers of fast moving consumer goods’ where even after they transition to new irrigation technologies, many seem to continue to pour huge volumes of water on to get bigger grapes and tonnages, often as a trade off to fruit and wine quality.
All our vines are pruned and harvested by hand, to ensure quality, prevent oxidation of fruit and guarantee no birds/caterpillars/spiders etc are falsely adding ‘body’ to your wine… Natural pasture is maintained between rows to aid Nature’s predator bugs that keep the ecosystem in balance and the soil profile intact. Sprays are only applied when a threat is proven – evidence based – rather than carelessly killing off everything in the local environment ‘just in case’. Vine specific nutrients are reapplied after each harvest at a ratio equal to the minerals depleted through the volume of grapes harvested.
It is commonplace to see all manner on local wildlife in the vineyard from kangaroos, wallabies, eagles, hawks, owls, finches, crows, magpies, ducks, plovers, brown and tiger snakes, echidnas, platypus on the river banks, plus the occasional lost koala. All contributing to the balanced environment and unique wines.