As we celebrate 20 years of wine making at Vineyard 28, and 25 years in business, we thought it would be a great opportunity to sit down with our Winemaker, Mark, and ask him some questions we’ve always wanted to know the answers to.
How did your wine drinking journey begin?
My first experience with wine was with Champagne, French champagne to be exact. In my Uni days I worked in the kitchen at the Parmelia Hotel in Perth, mostly washing glasses and occasionally at the end of a shift, late at night, the barman would say there’s half a bottle of Veuve or some other French Champagne left, would you like it? I’d say sure I’ll give it a go. I discovered I really liked it and my introduction to wine commenced from there. I was terrible, I used to go out and buy, $20 bottles of French Champagne, you know, I only earned $5 an hour. Remember this was back in the 70’s. Everyone used to be my friend when I’d come home with a bottle of bubbles.
What are your favourite styles of wine?
I tend to lean towards white wine styles over red because of their subtleties. To me they have a little bit more elegance about them as reds can be big and bold. I love trying lesser known varieties. I’m enjoying exploring the Austrian variety, Gruner Veltliner at the moment.
Do you have a memorable wine tasting experience?
There’s a couple with Granny and Grumpy Smith (family friends) in Euroa. We had some really nice reds. Tim Knappstein’s Cabernet was one that I always enjoyed, we’re talking here back in the late 80’s to early 90’s.
The most memorable was a Sauterne, that Pip and I had somewhere in France, near Lyon. It would have been in 1992, during a holiday in the south of France, whilst we were living in the UK. I still remember it. It was such an outstanding, sweet style wine, just breathtaking.
First harvest memories – what was your first vintage like?
The very first vintage was the 2002 Cabernet, because we only had Cabernet in the ground and we picked fruit from here and we also got a little bit of fruit from Ferguson Falls in the valley, and it was taken down to Flying Fish Cove who had only just started at that point in time because they were solely a contract winemaker back then. I think we only made 120 cases or something like that. We sold it for $10 a bottle.
My best memory was when I started making wine here at the vineyard in 2011, because prior to that either other people made it or I was working with other people to make it. Finally I was in total control of the process from beginning to end. Louis Simian a senior winemaker from over east had a hand in educating me, working with me during 2010.
What was the vineyard like?
We broke ground on the vineyard in 1998 when we planted an initial 4 rows. We were naive but thought instead of planting a whole vineyard let’s try and see what this game’s about and learn as we go. We planted a row of Shiraz, Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Of those four rows, the Cabernet is the only one that still exists today. I chose that Cabernet because it’s a good clone, so if we want to regraft Cabernet in the future, this is a clone we can use. The first thing I learned was that I didn’t want to grow Shiraz because on this soil it was like a creeper. It went absolutely everywhere, I hated it. So it was the first thing to come out of the ground.
First vintage as a winemaker on your own?
What stands out in my memories of that time is the equipment that I bought. I purchased a basket press and instead of having a stainless steel basket I had the traditional wood basket. I quickly learnt that you can’t press white grapes in a wooden frame basket easily. It was an absolute disaster, yields were low that year and because I lost so much that may have been what contributed to the success of the Arneis at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine show. Could’ve been serendipitous, who knows?
Is there a grape variety you have a love/hate relationship with?
Muscat Petit a Grains Rouge (Moscato). It’s a pain. It’s a slip skin; it’s impossible to press in a basket press without it going everywhere; it’s messy. I think in the 12-14 years of taking fruit off the vineyard, I’ve managed to bring it in when I wanted it to, probably 2 times. It’s like a moving beast sometimes, but at the same time, I think I produce some really fantastic Moscato’s. Making sweet wines are challenging, where as making dry wines we simply allow them to ferment to dryness with the added protection of carbon dioxide from the ferment. I can leave them there 3-4 days or a week and they will be alright. Whereas with Moscato, as you get towards the end, you are testing it at least twice a day to ensure you stop the ferment at the desired sugar level. It is then filtered and any last adjustments are made. You’re stopping something mid- process as opposed to letting it complete.
You’ve done 20 vintages now, what do you consider your best wine so far?
I’ve done 13 as sole winemaker, 1 as an assistant winemaker and the rest were made at contract facilities. The 2021 Fiano was a stand out for me as it was the first time I’d used oak in making a white wine. It was highly succesful, gaining the award for Best Geographe White Varietal at the 2021 Geographe & WA Alternative Varieties Wine Show.
The 2011 Moscato, is another memorable wine. It had a beautiful aroma, was really crisp, and was like a sherbet. It was absolutely stunning. That was one of the 2 years I got it dead right from my perspective.
The Nebbiolo is my life challenge. It is a wine that is made in the vineyard. Having an assistance winemaker in 2021 who hails from Piedmont was of enormous benefit. There were many discussions about how we grow it in the vineyard. The 2021 Nebbiolo will be a stand-out. Drinking that in another 10-15 years will be gobsmacking.
What do you love best about making wine?
It begins today. I was in the vineyard slashing and watching bud burst happen, thinking this is the year I’m going to make my best wine. It’s the old building a better mousetrap scenario all the time. Always wanting to do better than you did previously. For many years we’ve been consistent with our wines and have had some great standouts. I get very excited about Sparkling wines and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do over the next 5 years with Pignoletto and its derivatives. I’m experimenting to see where I can take it and focusing on getting the pick date and process spot on. One day I’d like to be able to do the tirage and secondary ferment here. I’m going back to my beginnings – a love of Sparkling wine.
What inspires you to keep making wine?
Wanting to make each wine better than the last. It’s always that challenge.
The first of our new release wines is the 2022 Wildwater Sparkling Pignoletto which was harvested on 16th February 2022 at our Wildwater Vineyard. At the winery, the grapes were whole bunch pressed and fermented to dryness in stainless steel. The wine was then bottled and began secondary ferment in May 2022. It then spent 14 months on lees, before being disgorged in August 2023.
With this wine, we use the ‘methode traditionelle’ to make the wine with minimal intervention to allow the Pignoletto grape to be the star. It reflects the Wildwater vineyard terroir, its landmark towering gum tree and the guinea fowl who live amongst the vines.
Our 2023 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon began its journey in late February with the Sauvignon Blanc from Kinglake harvested on the 2nd March and the Semillon from Wildwater harvested slightly earlier on the 23rd of February.
The winemaking process for the 2023 SBS involved a separate cold ferment using stainless steel. The two wines were blended to achieve optimum balance and flavours whilst maintaining a predominantly Sauvignon Blanc character.
This 2023 SBS is pale straw in colour, with fresh apple to lime notes and herbaceous overtones. A clean crisp wine best enjoyed with grilled fish or chicken, or a simple Caesar salad.
Harvested on 17th February again this year. The fruit was crushed and pressed within 2 hours of harvest. The juice was cooled to 10 degrees C, settled and racked after 36 hours. Fermentation was performed at 13-15 degrees C, using a wild yeast from the vineyard. It was fermented to dryness within 21 days. After this the wine was left on lees for 3 months before the wine was racked. Further fining and cold stabilisation took place prior to bottling in June.
A lovely fruity textured style this year, with lots of depth to the palate. Highly recommended to be enjoyed with seafood.
Our 2022 Dolcetto was harvested on the 23rd March at our Wildwater site before being crushed, destemmed and transferred to an open fermenter, where the juice was inoculated with yeast. Once the ferment had begun, the skins were plunged every 6 hours and kept under 30°C until dryness was achieved. Then, before the ferment was complete, the wine was inoculated with an MLF bacteria. The wine was then left for 7 days on skins, once fermentation was complete.
Our 2022 Dolcetto is a deep raspberry hue, with a palate of black cherries and liquorice. It is a dry and scrumptious red wine with mouth-filling savoury tannins. Enjoy this wine with pasta with a meat sauce, roasted poultry or a simple pizza.
The New Immigrants – Only available at the cellar door.
The following are the first releases of our small batches of new Italian red varietals, Montepulciano and Barbera. These grapes are grown at our Wildwater Vineyard in the Harvey hills. There is a small quantity available at the cellar door for those who get their quickly.
2022 Montepulciano (Mon-tae-pul-chee-AH-noh)
This is the 2nd most planted variety in Italy after sangiovese, and we grow it up at our Wildwater Vineyard.
Red plum, blackberry and thyme are all characters of the palate. It is juicy and delicious. Pairs well with a wide variety of foods due to having a natural elevated acidity.
Enjoy with aged cheddar, parmesan and relishes or a simple pizza.
$35.00 per bottle
2022 Barbera (Bah-beuh-ruh)
Originating in the Piedmonte region of North West Italy, this is the 3rd most planted grape variety after Sangiovese and Montepulciano.
Think tart cherry, black pepper and licorice with low tannins and high acidity.
A prefect match to mediterranean style foods rich in high fat, a traditional Spaghetti Bolognese and Ragu.
To celebrate 20 vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon at Vineyard 28 we are holding an afternoon tasting on Saturday 27th August, where you could have the exclusive opportunity to experience how our Cabernet has changed over 20 years.
Guided by our winemaker, Mark, you’ll get to taste a selection of 10 of our Cabernets including our newest release. You will even get to have a sneak peek at our 2021 vintage which is currently spending some time in bottle and our 2022 vintage, that after being harvested in March this year, is now in barrel.
You’ll stay warm on the day with a wonderful warming soup, either Oxtail or Tuscan Bean, from Thyme and Place, as you listen to Mark discuss how he has made Cabernet differently over the years and learn more about one of the world’s most recognised grape varieties.
If you’d like to join us in celebrating 20 years of Cabernet at Vineyard 28 click on the link below to book your ticket!
As the Summer holidays were ending here at Vineyard 28, we were gearing up for Vintage 2022. This year is a milestone for us, as our very first harvest was 20 years ago in 2002. We only made one wine that year, our very first Cabernet Sauvignon. Vintage 2022 is also the first year we harvested grapes without a dog present. Our Jasper was missed by the whole team, as he would follow us all up and down the vine rows as we harvested and was always ready for the morning tea crumbs at the end of the pick.
Vintage 2022 started a little slower than the previous few years and didn’t officially get underway until 4th February with the harvest of the Muscat Petit a Grain Rouge which makes our Moscato Rosa. Most years this is the grape we harvest first. It was almost 2 weeks later before we harvested grapes again, starting with the Pignoletto on the 16th of February and then over the next 2 weeks it was quite busy with the Arneis, more Muscat, Sauvignon Blanc, Dolcetto (for Freddo), Semillon and on 28th of February the Fiano, all coming in. February was quite warm, so we were pleased to get the grapes in as early as we could each morning, always starting at sunrise. Early March saw us head back up to the Wildwater Vineyard to bring in the Dolcetto and Barbera, and then back to Vineyard 28 for the 20th harvest of Cabernet Sauvignon on the 10th of March.
People often think that once the grapes are harvested the job is done, when in fact it is just beginning. From de-stemming, to spending time on skins, fermentations, pressing, barrel time and filtration; these processes commence the day the grapes are harvested and will continue for many weeks after. The winemaker, Mark will have wines at various stages throughout this time.
Mid-March the weather gods decided to throw us a curve ball with the threat of a large volume of rain courtesy of a cyclone tracking down the west coast of WA. We then started to experience cooler days and nights in the last few weeks of March and even a little rain, which fortunately didn’t cause us too much grief with either our Montepulciano or Nebbiolo, that were still trying to ripen. It then became a waiting game until the Wildwater Montepulciano was picked on the 5th of April and we finally closed out the season on the 13th of April, just before Easter with the Nebbiolo harvest.
Thank you to our Vintage Crew
A huge thanks to our 2022 harvest crew, the regulars – Bruce, Carol, Julie, Phil and Fran who this year were assisted by some other locals, Vicki, Ken, Kathy, Robyn and Dave. We can’t forget our younger crew, Jake and Seb who worked as cellar hands before university commitments took over their time. We hugely appreciate all of them and their willingness to get up early and come help bring the grapes in.
Overall Vintage 2022 has brought us in some exceptional grapes, a little down in volume on some varieties, but as Bruce said to us, it is one of the best years he’s seen. (He should know since 2022 was his 16th harvest!) Winemaker Mark is happy with all the wines and is excited to be working on our first production of Montepulciano and Barbera. Watch this space and stay connected to hear when these wines will be released.
2022 will be the 20th vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon harvested here at Vineyard 28. (In reality there were only 19 wines produced, but in 2003 we created two versions, our usual Cab Sauv and a second known as the Tuart Red, so I’m sticking with 20 Cab Sauv in 2022).
Back in 1998 when Vineyard 28 first commenced we planted an initial row of Cabernet Sauvignon as a trial. That row still exists today, and in 2022 the vines will be 24 years old. The Cabernet block expanded quite quickly growing to an area of approximately 0.5 hectare here on the coastal property.
The first ever vintage was the 2002, although we did experiment in 2001 to make a Cab Sauv just for ourselves and family.
20 Years of Cabernet Sauvignon in 2022
Planted at Vineyard 28 in 1998
First official vintage = 2002
Produced approx. 18,000 bottles over the last 19 years.
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world’s most recognised grape varieties, grown in nearly every major grape growing country. It came to prominence in France in the Bordeaux region where is usually blended with Merlot or Cabernet Franc. Despite this prominence, the grape is a relatively new variety, the product of a chance crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon blanc during the 17th century in south western France.
The Cabernet Sauvignon shows an amazing evolution of our wine label designs. From the very basic green in 2002 to the red version in 2003, to various forms of connecting to the 28 parrot to the current. I think we tried just about everything, but the wine inside has always been consistently delicious to drink.
Vintage Notes of Note
2002 was incredibly young, a much lighter style than more recent vintages. It spent 8 months in a combination of French and American oak prior to its bottling.
2003 was the year we received 70mm rain all in a 24 hour period. Miraculously the Cabernet survived this. This was the year we produced two versions, the Tuart Red which had been matured in Hungarian oak, and our traditional Vineyard 28 Cabernet Sauvignon.
2004 to 2009 were all produced offsite at various contract facilities. It wasn’t until 2010 that Mark took over control of the Cabernet destiny, and we begun producing it here at Vineyard 28.
2011 to 2018 – Consistently good wines, always with an emphasis on expression of fruit, with a light hand on the use of French oak.
In the early days winemaker, Mark, experimented with some American and even Hungarian oaks, but ultimately feels the fruit we produce is best suited to French Oak.
Harvest dates for Cabernet have varied somewhat over the 20 years. Some years it’s been the first week in March, but generally it is harvested mid March.
Cabernet Sauvignon today
The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is our current release, drinking superbly, and will continue to do so for another 3-5 years depending upon how you have stored it.
2020 is spending some time in bottle, before its release later this year.
2021 is still enjoying its time developing in barrel.
“Birds of a feather flock together” is an old English proverb referring to those with a common interest or personality that can often be found in a similar place. In this case it’s the many different type of birds who like to make their home here at Vineyard 28. We thought we’d take the time in this blog to introduce a few to you, so on your next visit you see who you can spy.
This is the colloquial name for the Port Lincoln Ringneck here in WA, apparently due to their contact call – a whistled “twen-ty-eight” which can be heard across the south-west forests. When planting the first vines these cheeky little parrots were a bit too helpful, snacking on new shoots. Dawn and dusk are the best times to see them here in the vineyard.
Who are some of our other feathered residents who ‘flock together’?
Galah – easily identified by its rose-pink head and usually seen in pairs. We often see them traveling in small groups around the vineyard. They love perching on the TV aerial of the house and chattering away to each other.
Magpie – the well-recognised black and white birds seen all over Australia sometimes frequent the vineyard, and often group together walking along Bagieau Road. They make an amazing array of sounds, and are also known to be territorial, although we never have issues with them here. We reckon they know who we are.
Blue Wren – Splendid Wren or here in the West ‘Blue Wren’. These cute little birds can sometimes be seen around the cellar door garden. Notable for their backward legs, and the male of the species being a vibrant bright blue whilst the females are a plain brown. You’ll usually see one bright gent surrounded by his harem of girls.
Kookaburra – known as terrestrial tree kingfishers, and although they are part of the Kingfisher family they are not associated with water. Here on Vineyard 28, they are best seen poised on a vineyard post early in the morning or at dusk keeping a beady eye on the ground, looking for a snack. Their loud laugh is often the first thing we hear in the mornings.
New Holland Honeyeater – these guys are seldom seen sitting still, loving the nectar from the flowers of the Banksias, Eucalypts and Grevilleas. They can often be seen near the grevillea or the bottle brush at the cellar door.
Willy Wagtail – the largest and most well-known of the Australian fantails. The name wagtail stems from the constant sideways wagging of the tail. They love to follow up in the vineyard.
Western Wattlebird – a medium large honey eater, often found around near the flowering Banksia. They have quite a rough, loud squawking call.
Silvereye – the ‘pest’ in the vineyard, as they love grapes. Pecking holes in them once they are ripe and leaving devastation behind them. They are the main reason we have nets that cover the grapes from December through to harvest. It is a small bird with a conspicuous ring of white feathers around the eye and belongs to a group of birds known as white-eyes.
Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo – When we first moved to the property we used to see these birds arrive in very large flocks, blackening the sky as there was so many. These days they travel in smaller flocks due to the loss and fragmentation of their habitats. They love the pine cones, and sometimes they will roost on as many vineyard posts as they can find. Other times they will cruise across the vineyard grounds nibbling away at seeds. The Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo is a large, dull-black cockatoo with a short erectile crest and a large bill. The bird is mostly grey-black, with narrow off-white fringes to the feathers, giving it a scaly appearance. This is relieved by a patch of cream-coloured feathers on the ear-coverts, and the tail has large white panels, especially noticeable when the bird is flying.
And not seen as often…
Scarlet Robin – we generally only see these little birds in Winter when the vines are bare. Generally, only as a single bird. The Scarlet Robin feeds mainly on insects and forages on or near the ground. It will sit on a perch and fly down to catch prey.
Elegant Parrot – Mark often encounters these flying past him when working in the vineyard. They are a slim parrot with golden-olive upper parts, yellow underparts and a two-tone blue patch on the wings (dark blue with a light-blue border). The face is yellow with a two-tone blue band that extends between the eyes, above the beak. The tail is blue with yellow outer feathers above, and wholly yellow below.
Wedge Tail Eagles – They have long wings (wingspan 2.3 m), a characteristic long, wedge-shaped tail, and legs that are feathered all the way to the base of the toes. The bill is pale pink to cream, the eye brown to dark brown, and the feet off-white. We always know when one of these chaps is in the area, as the vineyard goes very quiet, and all the other birdlife heads for security in the trees.
On your next visit ….
Be on the lookout for some of the regulars mentioned above. You can also support the Myalup Bird Observers by purchasing one or two of their gorgeous bookmarks. They feature birds found in the area, all from original paintings by local Harvey artists.
There are numerous more birds we haven’t identified yet. We haven’t even started on the water birds you can find down on the wetland. That will have be to the next story. In the meantime if you want to research more then we recommend the BirdLife website.
South Australia was awesome folks. We loved it. So much history, great little towns dotted all over the place with original stone buildings and interesting architecture.
Getting there wasn’t without adventure though. It seems 2021 wasn’t done with us quite yet. This holiday was meant to be a road trip, but an encounter with a large kangaroo just outside Salmon Gums ended that very quickly. The big buck jumped on the car and made confetti of the front drivers side of our Kluger.There wasn’t even a recognizable headlight left. The roo basically going at full speed and just ran into us!
Anyway, after some re-organising and much assistance from family we still got away to SA. This time via the flying kangaroo, Qantas into Adelaide where we picked up a hire car and carried on.
Highlights and Recommendations
Visit the National Wine Centre in Adelaide – an opportunity to taste and experience 52 different wine styles from across Australia. Head sommelier James Boden has created a great experience, and if you’re lucky you’ll spot a Vineyard 28 wine in the line up from time to time.
Robe – a gorgeous seaside village that we arrived in via travelling along the Coorong from Meningie, made famous by Heather Ewart in her ABC series ‘Backroads’. Robe had fabulous cliffside walks or cycle tracks if you like two wheels, and like many towns some fab old buildings. If you’re traveling with a caravan then head for the Beachport Caravan Park, all grass overlooking the beach. It would be superb in summer.
Flinders Ranges – definitely put this on the list. You can 4-wheel drive, haul a caravan in or just travel in a car. The most spectacular scenery. We stayed at Rawnsley Park Station and did some walks there and day trips. Absolute best thing was a helicopter flight over Wilpena Pound, gifted to us by our kids (they thought we needed cheering up after the car and kangaroo incident). Flinders is an amazing, ever changing landscape with just so much to see.
Wine and Food
In terms of wine regions, McLaren Vale was cool, we found lots of interesting alternative producers like ourselves there, Oliver’s Tarranga, Lino Ramble and Coriole were our faves. Of course we had to visit D’Arrenbergs – ‘The Cube’. Great views from up there, and if you like quirky weird art and creations then you’ll enjoy this place. We had one of our best lunches there with a great view out over the region.
In Adelaide Hills we also found a quirky cellar door with some interesting art and wines called ArtWine. We drove the Coonawarra strip, where there were grapevines for miles. Pip was happy that they weren’t hers to prune!
Bellwether was our favourite along here, housed in the 1868 Glen Roy shearing shed. So much atmosphere, and some delicious wines enjoyed beside the open fire.
Our last stop for a few days was in Tanunda, Barossa before flying home. Great little town to stay in with fabulous wine bars and food. You could almost wine taste and eat your way down the main street in the evening. We would recommend the 1918 restaurant, housed in a house dating back to 1918. Great wine list and delicious food. A great base to explore the Barossa in all directions.
Anita Goode is the winemaker a Wangolina. Her winery is in Mt Benson, about 15 to 20 mins from Robe. Like many of us Anita has a keen interest in the lesser known varieties. A bottle of her Lagrein found its way home with us.
Lino Ramble is in the Mclaren Vale. It is Two friends and a common thread: childhood adventures on the faithful treadlie, lino floors, vinyl records, and board games. Their grape varieties are chosen with a focus on sustainability, intrigue and above all else, drinkability.
Best Wine Experience – That’s a tough one, as we had some great wine tasting experiences.
One has to be Yalumba which surprised us. Sitting by an open fire, being led thru a tasting by a very knowledgeable guide in a building steeped in history. Having the opportunity to taste their flagship Cab Shiraz, “The Caley” and for Mark seeing the cooperage where they make their own barrels of course.
The other would have to Oliver’s Tarranga, a small stone cellar door. Getting to taste wines, again with a very knowledgeable guide, but accompanied by warm oven roasted almonds, lavosh bread and a soft sheep’s cheese.
We would highly recommend exploring South Australia, so diverse a countryside with so much history tucked away in it’s little towns. There was always something to see. Of course the wine and food was also pretty good too. In the spirit of business research of course, we tasted lots of Italians – Fiano, Dolcetto, Barbera, Montepulciano and Vermentino. There were some great examples of these, and occasionally some not so great. Different growing conditions, climate and wine making make for interesting tasting experiences. Quite a few have made their way home, so we’ll have to let you know how they go.
It might be wintry and cold at the moment, but we know there are many of you who are partial to your white wines. Prior to our June holiday we sold out of our 2020 vintages of the Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Arneis and Moscato Rosa. Fortunately for all, our 2021 vintages are all safely in bottle and are ready for you to enjoy.
Deliciously textured on the palate, think – stone fruits and better enjoyed at almost room temperature rather than too cold. 2021 was not a big vintage for Arneis this year, so will be in limited supply.
Our regular sweet spritzy style full of luscious stone fruit flavours on the palate, and a touch of pink in colour. We highly recommend it’s enjoyed with some soft cheese, and fresh pear, or traditional Turkish delight.
You can order them online or pop into the cellar door to taste and buy or give us a call on 08 9733-5605 to order over the phone.
It 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’.
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 – we will miss your presence in our lives. RIP – our dear ‘furritable’. Sleep peacefully xx
Licensee : Cumbers WA Pty Ltd Premises Name : Vineyard 28 License Number : 6180088658 Class of License: Producer’s License
Warning: Under the Liquor Control Act 1988, it is an offence to sell or supply liquor to a person under the age of 18 years on a licensed or regulated premises; or for a person under the age of 18 years to purchase or attempt to purchase liquor on a licensed or regulated premise. Cellar Door is open 10am to 5pm – Thursday to Monday. Bookings are required.Or Order wine online, via phone or email.