RIP – Jasper the Cellar Door Concierge

Jasper 2020It is with much sadness that we share the news that Jasper, our beloved Cellar Door Concierge has passed away. The time has come for us to farewell our fabulous furry family member, known to our many customers and their dogs.

Jasper’s Story – 01 April 2006 to 31 May 2021

The Christmas of 2005 Pippa received a gift card stating that her present from the family that year wouldn’t be available until April. When April arrived, Pip got a phone call to say she could come and choose her present. So off to Lake Clifton, Pip and Gab trotted to choose the newest addition to our family.

Jasper was born to champion red cloud kelpies, and he was one of only two in the litter. Gab was keen to cuddle the puppies of course, and we’ll never really know why, but Jasper stood out from his brother and came home with them that day. We often reckon Jasper was very lucky, as his brother went off to live in Tom Price. Those who knew Jasper will remember, he never ever liked really hot days, air conditioning was invented for him, so just as well he was chosen to come live with us.

Jasper commenced life in the family, under the direction of 2 kids, parents and the senior family dog, Garvin. (A black kelpie/border collie cross). Garvin was our first family dog, having made the move back to the west with us, and he was the inaugural vineyard dog. He transitioned very well from being a Melbourne dog to a country one.

Sadly, in June 2006, Garvin at just over the age of 13 had a stroke and commenced his forever sleep that same day.  We had hoped he would be around longer to knock the new dog into shape. Instead, those duties fell to our neighbours’ dog, Bundie, also a black kelpie. Bundie would visit regularly to make sure this new puppy in the neighborhood knew his place.

Jasper grew up alongside our kids, the development of the cellar door, and of course all the visitors who came as well. He loved walking in the bush around where we live, and he loved the beach. Visiting Preston Beach when the kids were swimming was great fun, especially barking at the waves. When the family took holidays, he mostly stayed at home with his favorite dog sitter, Steve, who he loved due to the sharing of vegemite toast each morning.

The first winter, when he was only a puppy, Jasper thought he’d help out with the pruning in the vineyard. That was until it rained. What was this wet stuff falling on him? Not liking it at all he positioned himself between Steve’s legs, ensuring the big raincoat covered him so he wouldn’t get wet!

Jasper worked 14 vintages with the crew, and every winter pruning session. In the last few years, he shortened his working day considerably and would often only visit in the vineyard for a short time before retiring to his beloved couch at the house. All our workers knew when they had reached the end of a row, because Jasper would always bark at them, as if to say you’re done now, we can go in. Morning tea and lunchtime were his favoured times of the day, as well as breakfast and dinner, well basically anything to do with food ranked very highly with Jasper!

Many of you will know Jasper as the brown furry dog, with a dodgy nose who greeted you when you first came to the cellar door. Jasper would sit on the lawn waiting for customers. When COVID-19 came along he was very confused as no-one visited for 3 months. Jasper loved other dogs visiting, and throughout his 15 years as concierge, welcomed and befriended many.

His first best doggy friend was Bundie, who being older was in charge. Then of course Kipper, who often came to stay when her family were on holidays. Jasper was much photographed and filmed.  A memorable day was when a bus load of Scottie dogs and their owners came to visit the cellar door. Jasper even starred in his own movie, ‘Jasper’s View of the Day’ made by our son, Bailey. Then again in 2019 in a short piece called ‘Jasper’s Holiday.Jasper with the Westies

 

These last few years have been quieter for Jasper and slower. Arthritis in his back legs and a trapped nerve in his lower back restricted his movement and ability to go for long walks. Instead, a slow stroll around the vineyard each morning became his thing before retiring to his couch for a long nap. Some days he would miss all the action at the cellar door, and other days he’d be there meeting and greeting.

Jasper gave unconditional love to us all. He was a much-loved family member, and brought much laughter and joy into our home, and the occasional frustration when he rolled in something ‘dead’. He loved meeting new people at the cellar door and will be forever known to many as the Vineyard 28 Concierge.

Jasper Vintage Time

Jasper – we will miss your presence in our lives. RIP – our dear ‘furritable’. Sleep peacefully xxJasper Asleep

Jasper ConciergeJasper - Vineyard 28 own 'concierge'

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Open That Bottle Night

Vineyard 28 WinesSaturday 27th February 2021 is ‘Open That Bottle Night’

What is all this about you ask?

Back in the year 2000, ‘Tastings‘ columnists, Dorothy J Gaiter and John Brecher created Open That Bottle Night to encourage their readers to open a significant bottle and share their stories about the wine. They decreed it would be the last Saturday in February each year. It has become a day to celebrate your cherished bottle of wine, that you may have been given or are saving for a special occasion.

Don’t wait for that rainy day, ‘Open That Bottle Night’ is here2004 Vineyard 28 Wines

I think we’d all agree great wine is made to be shared. It doesn’t have to necessarily be about the oldest bottle of wine you have in your cellar. It could be a bottle that takes you back to a special moment in time, or the latest release wine you’ve been meaning to open. One of the great things about wines are the stories attached to them, whether it be about how you first discovered it, where you tried it or maybe the company you were keeping at the time.

Get involved in ‘Open That Bottle Night’

  • Unearth that wine you’ve been saving, gather friends and family and make an occasion of it. If it’s an Italian variety from us here at Vineyard 28, why not have an Italian theme dinner. Ask everyone to bring a dish to share in keeping with the theme.
  • Share with your guests all you know about the wine and why it is special. Did you meet the winemaker ? Purchase it on a special weekend away? or just pop down to your local for something new and different?
  • If it is an older red wine we suggest you consider decanting it.
  • Share on social media or send us an email of how it all went. We’d love to hear your review if its an older Vineyard 28 wine, but equally we are interested to hear about all wine.  (Use the hashtag #OTBN to engage with this)
  • There’s even a FaceBook page you can connect to – https://www.facebook.com/Openthatbottlenight

Start planning now for ‘Open That Bottle Night’.

 

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Growing up on a Vineyard

What is it like to grow up on a Vineyard ?

Our daughter, Gabrielle shares her perspective on growing up on a Vineyard.

Early family photoWhen I tell people that my parents own a winery and that I grew up on vineyard, they usually think that it was a glamorous upbringing, with idyllic scenes of vineyard. At points it was like that, but the majority of the time it was just growing up on a farm – at this farm we grew grapes – and the 10 acres where the cellar door, winery and main vineyard are, was my playground.

I was recently cleaning up an old hard drive and stumbled across a collection of photos from my childhood of the vineyard which prompted me to think about some of my favourite memories of growing up and I will share a few.

One thing I used to love was going out on the tractor with Dad. I’m sure there are photos of me sitting on his lap on the old blue tractor. He used to let me ‘steer’ and do a loop around the vineyard. Things have changed now though, as last time I was home I drove the tractor when we were putting the nets out in the vineyard.

Making Wine

Gab & Mark making Semillon
Dad & Daughter

When I was in school, I used to get the occasional day off at the start of the year to stay home and help with picking grapes and helping dad in the winery. Then during school holidays Mum and Dad gave me jobs to do in the vineyard to earn a little extra pocket money. In fact, one vintage Dad let me help make the Semillon, so I got a few days off to be there for all the important bits of the wine making process and would go down to the winery after school each day to check on my wine. Other jobs I did in the vineyard included leaf plucking, pulling out the canes after pruning and tying down the baby vines to the wires.

Gab making Semillon
Making Semillon

The No. 1 rule from Dad when we were young was that we weren’t allowed to wear thongs out in the vineyard. This was to keep us safe as sometimes snakes and lizards were hiding in the longer grass. This rule is still something I follow when I go home and when I’m in long grass or a paddock where I can’t quite see everything on the ground, I’m extra cautious about where I’m stepping.

You’d think that growing up on a farm, I would have a decent tolerance for spiders and not be scared of snakes or lizards. I don’t. I’m still scared of spiders, especially after seeing some creepy ones – or as Mum would say ‘beautiful’ – in the vineyard. Snakes and lizards also still make me jumpy. There were a few times where I was walking from the cellar door across to the house and there was a snake on the driveway, laying in the sun. I immediately ran back to the cellar door to get Mum or Dad to deal with it.

 

 

and Now…

A side effect of growing up on a vineyard and having a winemaker as a Dad has been that I’ve seemingly always had knowledge about grape varieties, the characteristics of wine and been able to explain the process of making wine as well as what would be happening in the vineyard at certain times of the year.  It’s a skill that has come in handy as I’ve grown older and gotten into drinking wine and now get to have more in depth discussions with Dad about the world of wine.

Gab in Yarra Valley
Gabrielle in the Yarra Valley

At the time of writing this, I’m living in Melbourne, where I have lived for the past 3 years while I completed my first degree at the University of Melbourne and worked part time in the wine industry. I unfortunately haven’t been able to travel home to WA for over a year due to Covid-19 but look forward to the chance to see my family and the vineyard again.

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Vintage Experience 2021 – Walk & Talk

 Vintage 2021

Immerse yourself in a Vintage Experience 2021 – Walk & Talk

Take a walk in the Vineyard with our winemaker, Mark. Sample the grapes and gain an understanding of how we decide when to pick them. Learn what the words “baume” and “brix” mean. Taste the flavours of the grape before they become wine.

Mark will then take you into the winery where it will all be happening. A peek into the world of a winemaker amidst the season we refer to as ‘vintage’ or in Italian, ‘la vendemmia‘.

There will be wines in tank and at different stages of the wine-making process. Get to have a sneak peek and early taste of 2021 vintage wines. Mark might even tempt you with some barrel tastings of the 2020 reds.

This will be a small group experience, lasting about 1.5 hours. (Limited to 10 persons per session)

When

Saturday 27th February 2021 – Starts at 11am

Sunday 28th February 2021 – Starts at 11am

Cost – $30.00 per person

Bookings are essential.

After your Vintage  Experience you are then welcome to taste wines at the Cellar Door and restock on some favourites.

You are also invited to order a grazing plate or bring your own picnic to enjoy with a bottle of your favourite wine outdoors in our lawn area.

BOOK HERE

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The Wine Dogs of Vineyard 28

Dogs are often the first to greet you at the cellar door here in Australia, and we thought we’d tell you a little more about the wine dogs of Vineyard 28.

In the beginning

In New Zealand, Pippa grew up with a Boxer dog named Bruno. He was the babysitter, making sure she didn’t get up to mischief as a small child. Apparently, they were often caught sharing a biscuit or two. Mark was never a dog person until he met Pippa and him being allergic to cats meant they were ruled out as a family pet option. So, when Mark & Pippa bought their first house, like many, they started out with dog before they got to the kids.

Garvin as a puppyPip and GarvinMark and GarvinGarvin, a border collie/kelpie cross, commenced life as a pup in suburban Box Hill, Melbourne, having left all his family back in country Swan Hill. He was named for Willie Garvin, the trusty side kick to Modesty Blaise.  Modesty Blaise was a British featuring a fictional character of the same name, created by author Peter O’Donnell and illustrator Jim Holdaway in 1963. The strip followed Modesty Blaise, an exceptional young woman with many talents and a criminal past, and her trusty sidekick, the aforementioned Willie Garvin, and their adventures.

 

Mark has a collection of these comics in his library. Garvin took to city life reasonably well as he had a huge quarter acre block and was walked every day. Garvin and Mark went to dog obedience school, where he was ranking as top dog of class until his last day when something got the better of him and he missed a command in his final test.Garvin

Garvin was a well-traveled dog, spending many weekends on the road, back and forth between Melbourne and the Victorian wine regions. He also flew West on holidays with the family, traveling in a cage in cargo, and then settling in for the long drive to Australind. Never once needing a toilet stop until he reached his final destination and the backyard at Mark’s folk’s place.In 1997 he moved with us to Western Australia to become our number one wine dog. He took to country life very easily and learnt very quickly not to tangle with the local reptiles. However he still got up to mischief in the house as one evening he ate a whole chocolate cake off the kitchen bench! Pip had made a cake for the kids to take to a school cake stall the next day, and left it to cool before icing. When she returned to the kitchen, it was to a floor decorated with chocolate cake crumbs and a guilty dog.

Along came Jasper

Gab, Jasper and BaileyMoving forward to 2006 there was a family decision  that it would be good to add another dog to the mix (and the kids wanted a puppy) The idea was that Garvin could mentor and knock the new dog into shape, making sure he understood life on a vineyard and how to work a cellar door. Jasper arrived in the April of 2006, a locally bred Red Cloud Kelpie (just like Red Dog). There was only the two of them in the litter, and we often say he was very fortunate that we chose him. His brother ended up in Tom Price, and to this day Jasper has never liked very hot weather.

Sadly, Garvin had a stroke later that same year at 13 years old. It was a sad day for us all to say goodbye. Especially for Mark, as Garvin had always been his best mate and shadow.

Jasper and 'Love Clancy'As many of you know, Jasper has gone on to have a great life here at the vineyard. During his younger years, he hated the rain. He loved being in the vineyard with Pip when she was pruning, but if it rained, he’d dive between her legs to get the benefit of her raincoat. Vintage has always been a favorite time of year for him with a crew of workers to tag along behind and all those grapes to be stolen from the crates, and Jasper & Kipperof course morning tea.

He has always enjoyed the company of other dogs. It would be remiss of me not to mention our other honorary vineyard dog, Kippa, who often has sleep overs with us when her family are away. Many a customer has fallen into the trap of throwing a stick for Kippa at the cellar door, not realising that she can keep the game up all day!

Jasper has been the cellar door concierge all his working life, and in recent months has mostly retired from these duties, preferring to sleep his days away on his favorite couch. He is most definitely in his twilight years, but we still see glimpses of the puppy in him when he grabs his tug-toy out of the basket to play!

Jasper on the couch Jasper 2020

 

Jasper - Vineyard 28 own 'concierge'

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ABC – Anything but Chardonnay

 Why do we grow mostly Italian Varieties ?

Mark’s Answer: ABC – Anything But Chardonnay

Whenever Mark is asked why we grow Italians? His answer is often literally ‘ABC, anything but Chardonnay’ and not because he dislikes Chardonnay, far from it. There are some great Chardonnays out there to enjoy. Instead Mark enjoys the challenge of growing something different, producing unique wines and sharing them with those amongst you curious about wine.

There is something like 10,000 grape varieties in the world, 3,000 or so in Italy alone, and most people would only be able to name 5-6 at best.

30 years ago, you would find Mark & myself roaming the Victorian countryside looking for elusive, unique wines. This was a time when Brown Brothers and a few other smaller wineries were starting to experiment and beginning to plant lesser known varieties. It was these ventures that encouraged our curiosity about wine, beyond the world of Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet.

How did we stumble upon the Italians?

Early Vineyard
First Vine plantings

We were on holiday back visiting family in Western Australia 25 years ago, when we stumbled upon the Three Hills label produced by Erl Happ, and in particular a grape variety we’d never heard of – Nebbiolo. It was so different, sort of like Pinot to look at, but a different shade of red, and tannic and dry, with a rich palate. This led us on a journey to find out more about this grape and where it came from.

Move on a few years and we had decided to move back to the West from Melbourne, leaving behind the corporate world, and look to raise our then 18 month old Bailey with family around him. We had discussing the dream of having our own vineyard and making wine, and the move to the West made this a reality when we purchased our 10 acres on Bagieau Road, establishing Vineyard 28.

In all honesty, we didn’t know much about growing grapes. We knew lots about drinking wine and all the styles, and what it was like to be on the other side of the cellar door counter. In 1997 we started planning; we’d plant a vineyard first, sell fruit to make some money and then build a cellar door and make wine. The grape glut of the latter 90’s – early 2000’s squashed that idea fairly quickly. Selling grapes wasn’t going to be viable, so we revised our plans and dived in to winemaking and building a cellar door.

A few conversations with Erl on how Nebbiolo grew resulted in us planting our first block in 1999. From there on, as they say, it’s history. The love affair with Piedmontese varieties began and we  started investigating what other grapes we could grow from that region.

 

 

It was a lot of fun trying different wines, researching what could grow here and it still is today. Our vineyards doesn’t stand still. There are always new things to be learnt whether it is about the clone of a particular grape we are growing, the way we are making wine, or a shift to another variety that appeals more to the wine consumer. A great site we can recommend to learn more about lesser known grapes is Vinodiversity.

Present times

Vineyard 28 – today

Today we grow Arneis, Fiano, Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Muscat Petit a Grains Rouge, Brachetto and Cabernet Sauvignon on our coastal property at Vineyard 28. In the hills above Harvey at the Wildwater Vineyard we grow, Pignoletto, Barbera, Montepulciano, Dolcetto and Muscat Petit a Grains Rouge.

2021 is our 24th year in the wine industry, from a very small beginning in 1997 – 11 years of making wine onsite, and 16 years for our Cellar Door operation. Each year  is an adventure as we’re never quite sure what the climate and elements have in store for us. We are now preparing to embark on our 2021 vintage journey – from picking the grapes to crafting the wine- and look forward to seeing our wines enjoyed by our loyal customers.

 

 

 

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The man behind ‘Bagieau’ Road

Entrance to Bagieau Road
Entrance to Bagieau Road

Where did the name ‘Bagieau’ come from ?

Bagieau Road has been our home and the home of Vineyard 28 for 23 years now. However, it is only in the past few months that we’ve learned about the origin of how it probably got its name.

My name is Gabrielle, Mark and Pip’s daughter, and I’ve just finished my undergraduate degree in history at the Uni of Melbourne. As part of my final history subject I was tasked with completing a research project on a topic of my choosing. Having been separated from my family and home this year due to border restrictions, I wanted to research something to do with my home.  Mum suggested looking into how Bagieau Road got its name. All she knew was that it was likely to have been named for Alexander Bagieau whose name is inscribed on the Yarloop War Memorial.

Who was he?

Alexander Bagieau moved to the Yarloop area from the Eastern States in 1912-1913 and was living and working as a jarrah hewer near Hoffman Bush Landing. When World War One began, he was part of the first wave of enlistments in September 1914, along with many men from the South West. He was assigned to the ‘B’ Company of the 16th Battalion and trained at the Blackboy Hill Camp up in Perth.

From there, Bagieau’s battalion was moved to Melbourne and then onto Egypt to join up with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force for the Gallipoli campaign. The 16th Battalion suffered many losses during their time at Gallipoli, having held some of the most dangerous posts such as Pope’s Hill and Quinn’s post. During the August offenses, Bagieau was shot through the chest and transferred back to England to recover, where he met his future wife Celia James.

However, he didn’t recover fully from his injury, so was returned to Australia. During his time back home, he stayed with the Scott family in Yarloop and also attended the first ANZAC celebration. Having regained his strength, he returned to England in late 1916, received further training in bombing and married Celia. Bagieau was then involved in an accident at the bombing school where a grenade went off accidentally and wounded his face. He recovered quickly and a few months later found out he and Celia were expecting their first child.

Yarloop War Memorial

Having recovered from his injury, Bagieau was then transferred back to the 16th Battalion who were stationed in France in September 1917. He joined them in Ypres, Belgium and the Polygon Wood battle, where he was killed in action.

Despite consulting the historic geographic data held by Landgate and cancelled public plans held by the Western Australian State Records Office, no evidence has surfaced that proves the road was named after him. However, it is more likely the case that the road was known locally or informally by this name and when formalised, the origins were left out of the records.

 

So, next time you take a drive up Bagieau Road to Vineyard 28, you’ll know the story behind our unusual road name.

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Wildwater Sparkling Pignoletto

 Sparkling Pignoletto2019 Wildwater Sparkling PignolettoWildwater Pignoletto

On Saturday 14th November we proudly launched our first Sparkling wine, the 2019 Wildwater Sparkling Pignoletto, in the company of our lovely customers and family.

Winemaker Mark regaled our visitors with the tale of how he was first introduced to the world of Sparkling Wine or ‘Bubbly’ as he calls it. Way back in the 1970’s Mark worked his way through University as a kitchen hand at the old Parmelia. At the end of one evening’s work there was a bottle of Champagne not finished, and he was offered it to take home. It would have been either a Veuve Clicquot or possibly a Pol Roger he thinks, but whatever it was, he loved it, and from then on made sure he got the unfinished bottles after his shifts each weekend. And so, the love affair with ‘bubbles’ began.

It was a couple of years ago during a visit to the research block of vines at Wokalup that Mark discovered this grape called Pignoletto. After a bit more research, he found out that it originates from the Emilio Romagna area in Italy. It takes its name from ‘pigna’, the Italian for pine cone, on account of its small, tight grape clusters. When he learned the Italians used it to make a sparkling style wine, we were in. Another block at the Wildwater vineyard was prepared and grafted over to Pignoletto in 2018.

The 2019 Wildwater Sparkling Pignoletto takes its name from the vineyard where the grapes are grown. Our lovely friend and local artist Yvonne Chapman was commissioned to create the artwork for our label. It showcases the terroir of the Wildwater vineyard – its landmark towering gum tree which is in the middle of our Pignoletto block and the guinea fowl who live amongst the vines.

 Yvonne & Mark launching Pignoletto

How is the wine made?

Winemaker, Mark, used ‘methode traditionelle‘ for this wine. The grapes were harvested on the 16th February 2019, whole bunch pressed and fermented to dryness in stainless steel. The resultant base wine was bottled and underwent secondary ferment on lees for 14 months, before being disgorged and corked in July 2020.

The resultant wine is a crisp, bright sparkling – think granny smith apples and crunchy green pear slices – this is our Pignoletto.

How do you purchase the Wildwater Sparkling Pignoletto?

Head on over to our Buy Wine page or just click here and it will take you to the right page. But don’t wait too long. This vintage was our very first and there is only a limited supply with our Cellar Club members receiving preference.

 

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Sparkling Pignoletto Release

2019Wildwater Pignoletto Sparkling Pignoletto Release

Saturday 14th November 2020

at the Cellar Door

3.00pm to 5.00pm

Bookings essential – Click here to Book

 

The afternoon will commence with a glass of the 2019 Sparkling Pignoletto.

This is our first production of a sparkling wine using our Pignoletto grapes which are grown in the Harvey Hills at our Wildwater Vineyard.

The label has been created specially for us from a commissioned painting by local artist Yvonne Chapman and friend of Vineyard 28. It showcases the Wildwater vineyard, its landmark towering gum tree and the guinea fowl who live amongst the vines.

Pignoletto originates from the Emilio Romagna area in Italy. It takes its name from Pigna’, the Italian for pine cone, on account of its small, tight grape clusters.

Think crisp green apples and crunchy green pear slices – this is our Pignoletto.

Winemaker Mark, will chat to you about the wine, tell you the story of the label and encourage you to sample it alongside some canapes.

You will also be able to sample the 2020 releases of our Sauvignon Blanc, Arneis, Dolcetto and Dolcetto Freddo.

A grazing table laden with canapes, cheeses, olives, and our awesome locally made artisan crackers will be on hand to enjoy with your wine.

On Saturday 14 November 2020 at 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Bookings essential. BOOK HERE

 

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Bunbury Wine Wander

Bunbury Wine WanderVineyard 28 at Bayview Bar, Bunbury

Saturday 7th November – 12 noon to 4pm

Ready to wander?!  ⁠

We’re thrilled to announce that we’re a featured winery in the Bunbury Wine Wander, an exciting new event that sees eleven Geographe wineries paired with Bunbury CBD venues for the ultimate, self-guided tasting adventure!

You’ll find us at Bayview Bar, Bunbury, serving tastings of three different but equally delicious Vineyard 28 wines – you’ll also be able to purchase some delicious gourmet snacks and meals at the venue.

Happening on Saturday 7th of November, it’s designed for groups of friends to explore and enjoy together!

But you’d better grab your tickets soon because they’re selling fast – head to

@bunburywinewander or www.bunburywinewander.com

to secure your spot now.

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