In early 1996, Mark and Pippa resided in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, both holding down professional jobs. Mark as a research chemist and Pippa for Hewlett Packard. They’d travelled the world prior to that, exploring the African continent, living and working in the UK, and holidaying in Europe. Throughout this time – we always enjoyed wine wherever we went. From Rutherglen in Victoria to the Languedoc in France. Somewhere in the back of our minds was a dream to one day own a vineyard, raise our family and make wine.
By mid 1997, our son Bailey was on the scene, and we were struggling with the idea of raising him away from family in this big city, when we had both grown up and known the freedoms of much smaller communities. Pippa being from regional New Zealand and Mark being born and raised in Capel, Western Australia. So the Melbourne house was put on the market and sold within 2 weeks, Mark found a job in the west near Pinjarra to support us initially, the 10acres of land and a house was found in the Shire of Harvey, and in 40 degree heat on Boxing Day 1997, Bagieau Road became our home and eventually home to our business – Vineyard 28.
In the spring of 1998, the first vines were planted, so that by the Summer of 1999/2000 we were underway. During this time there was an addition to the family – Gabrielle.
Our early vines were – Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc Chenin Blanc and Semillon. Quite a different mix from where we have ended up today. As time went on and we understood more about the market place, we decided we needed to be a little different. We fell in love with Nebbiolo courtesy of Earl Happ and his Three Hills label, a few discussions ensued, some planning and the Italian concept was born. Muscat Rouge a Petit Grains was introduced for a Moscato, Arneis soon followed, and the Dolcetto took over from the Chenin. In recent years we’ve also taken on the lease of another vineyard up in the Harvey hills near the Stirling Dam, Wildwater, where we grow more Muscat, Dolcetto and the most recent graft – Pignoletto – which will be the basis of our future sparkling wine.
In 2004 we made a start on the cellar door. It was finished and opened late in January 2005. Constructed from local limestone blocks to reflect our landscape it has become home to our wine sales for the past 13 years, as well as promting and selling lots of local art and quilts. Then in 2010 we added the winery building behind, and Mark commenced winemaking on site.
During all of this our children have grown to adults and are spreading their wings on the eastern shore of Australia;we said goodbye to our first dog Garvin who moved here with us in 1997, and welcomed Jasper our red cloud into the family. (He’s now approaching 12 this April.) In 2018 we continue to explore new ideas and grow, with two vineyard sites to manage, Bagieau Road and Wildwater, and are looking forward to the production of our Pignoletto sparkling in the next couple of years. We look forward to sharing this journey with our many customers.