Lakeside Vineyard, Knowsley
Shiraz planting of the early noughties. Just like the transition from lawyer to winemaker, I like to tend to my little plot of Shiraz the hard way. Hand weeded, hand mowed, hand pruned, hand netted, and hand-picked, this little plot is a labour of love. I transitioned from spur to cane pruning in 2018, it was a great move. I’ve also transitioned to organic practice, hence all the hand jobs. Loam on the fringes with a strip of red Cambrian soil running through the middle of the vineyard, I drip feed a little water from Lake Eppalock to keep things ticking over in the warmer and drier months. It’s all about balance here, the fruit has a deft, light touch with a delicacy that is not often found in Heathcote.
Mount Burrumboot Estate, Colbinabbin
Shiraz and Marsanne plantings of late 1990s. Andrew and Cathy Branson farm with a rugged, infectious spirit and their fruit is as full of life as they both are. The soils are a deep, deep red, proper Heathcote Cambrian loams with the vines benefiting from irrigation flowing in from the Warranga-Western Channel. Minimal intervention, these vines are farmed organically and this fruit is such beautiful quality, the defining character of this site is a ripeness and vivacity of flavour that is hard to beat.
Dead Horse Hill, Toolleen
Shiraz plantings of early 1990s, a unique and robust site planted and managed by the indefatigable Jencie & Russell McRobert. This site is pertinacious, unirrigated, dry, 203m above sea level on the crest of a hill once home to a plantation of tomatoes – hence the name. The soil is bright red Cambrian crush, drive by in the afternoon and you’d swear the soil glows. This site is all about drive: driving energy, driving tannins, driving life force. In a dry year you will never need for tannins; a year with some rainfall and this site makes wine that is life force in a bottle.
Coliban Glen Vineyard, Kimbolton
Mid 1990s plantings of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. The fervent Peter Raeburn tends these vines, planted on a generational property on the southwest corner of Lake Eppalock, where it’s a little cooler. Things ripen a little slower, typically 3-4 weeks behind their northern cousins, but elegantly. This site is all about balance, finesse, and acidity. Irrigated by the Coliban River, Peter’s passion and love for the art of growing is a pleasure to work with and makes for some compelling, clean fruit that I am privileged to work with.