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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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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Winter – Pruning Season 2020

Winter is our pruning season

Autumn in the Vineyard
Autumn view of the vineyard

As the autumn months come to a close the vines transition from all their glorious amber colours to looking quite bleak as all the leaves fall to the ground. The next change for our vines comes with pruning season. From late June through to August is the time we give our vines a big haircut, setting them up ready to burst in Spring and start working on the next vintage of grapes.With tw o vineyards now comprising of almost 22 acres of vines it takes a little longer than it did a few years ago. The majority of our vines are spur pruned, but the Nebbiolo is always cane pruned. Our younger vines, those that we’ve just grafted in such as the Fiano, Montepulciano and Barbera are also cane pruned, as in these first few years of growth it is all about establishing good structure.

Why do we prune ?

Grapevines are perennials. They shoot away in Spring, grow and develop over the Summer, are harvested in the late Summer, then die back over autumn and winter, to begin the cycle again the following Spring. We prune the vines because if we didn’t we’d have naturally bushy trees, with a mess of leaves and branches. Pruning and training our vines, helps us keep them organised and focused on growing grapes.

As the saying goes, ‘Great wines are made in the vineyard‘.

Spur Pruning

Muscat - before pruning
Muscat Vine – before Pruning
Muscat Vine after pruning
Muscat Vine – Spur pruned

You’ll mostly look out at our vines in winter if you visit and see that they’ve been spur pruned., but what does this mean? The before and after photos of our Muscat vine  illustrate this or you. In simple terms we cut off all the current years fruiting canes back down to ‘two bud spurs’, keeping the original cordon and trunk structure in place. We count the number of spurs on each side of the vine, and this way we are able to control the amount of fruit each vine produces. Typically each, spur will grow two fruiting canes and each fruiting cane will produce up two bunches of grapes. Our many varieties produce different bunch weights. From there we do the math – number of vines x number of bunches x average bunch weight = estimate tonnage of fruit per grape variety.

Cane Pruning

Nebbiolo Vine - cane pruned
Nebbiolo -Cane Pruned

On the other hand our Nebbiolo is a little different. These vines get a big haircut each year, and are cane pruned. The cordons get removed each year and we reduce it back to two of the best fruiting canes to lay down for the next vintage. The canes are cut to a specific length determined by how many buds we believe the vine can cope with. Generally we work on 8-10 buds per cane, which equates to approx 16 to 24 bunches of fruit per vine. But as we focus on quality over quantity, approx 30% of this fruit is dropped just prior to veraison.

 

Pruning 2020 – Gallery

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Top 10 Wednesday Wine Facts

Jasper Wednesday Wine Fact

Top 10 Wine Facts as ranked by Jasper

For more than a year our trusty cellar door concierge Jasper has been sharing his knowledge of all things wine with his “Jasper’s Wednesday Wine Fact” on Facebook. Sometimes they are quirky pieces of information, and other times quite factual. We’ve reviewed the rankings and as determined by engagement from our Facebook followers,  here are the Top 10 Wednesday Wine Facts that you all enjoyed.

 

Here we go…

  1. The colour of wine is determined by how much contact the grape juice has with the grape skins.  This also impacts the amount of tannins in a finished wine. Rose for instance is mostly crafted by controlled and limited contact with the skins of red grape varieties.
  2.  Wine grapes are of the vitis vinifera family, and there are apparently over 10,000 different types.
  3. A  750ml bottle of wine contains the juice of approximately 600 to 800 grapes.
  4. There are 11 different bottle sizes. Wow! From the 187ml ‘Piccolo’ up to the ‘Nebuchadnezzar’ which holds the equivalent of 20 standard bottles. (A standard bottle being 750ml) Check out Wine Folly for all the detail.
  5. Not everyone likes wine. Some are even afraid of it. The condition is known as “Oenophobia“.
  6. There is a right way and wrong way to hold a wine glass. Wine glasses should be held by the stem, so that way the hand does not raise the temperature of the wine. The stem exists for a reason!
  7. The dark green wine bottle was an English invention. Sir Kenelm Digby (1603 to 1665) was responsible. Prior to this wine was kept in goat skin bags.
  8. The oldest wine cellar is located on the Titanic. When divers went down to the wreckage they surprisingly found most of the bottles intact.
  9. Grape varieties do not determine how sweet a wine is. Winemakers do. It all depends on whether they ferment all the sugar and convert it to alcohol. In the case of Moscato, they don’t, leaving what is known as residual sugar, giving it sweetness.
  10. How does a traditional sparkling wine get its bubbles? The wine is still when it’s bottled, but then yeast and sugar are added to the mix which create the carbon dioxide (the sparkle) as they interact over the next 12-15 months.

Jasper resting on the sandJasper - Vineyard 28 own 'concierge'Jasper during vintageOld Dog - Jasper sleeping

 

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Celebrate – Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and Arneis

SBS and Arneis

With all the happenings in the world we are focusing on the little things to celebrate. After a great 2020 vintage that was completed just as the Covid-19 crisis became fully understood, and a reality, we are pleased to release the first of our 2020 vintage wines – the 2020 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and the 2020 Arneis.

Available now at the cellar door and online.

December saw some of our hottest days ever, our warmest nights and driest times since 2008.  The season started considerably earlier than usual with our harvest starting in the last week of January, up to 3 weeks earlier than normal. Many of our white varieties were harvested in quick succession throughout February, without any drop in quality, making for a busy time for us. A slight cooling off in March and some sporadic rain events slowed down reds to ripen on a more usual schedule.

We encourage you to celebrate with us and enjoy our new wine releases. Pop over to the website to buy wine.

2020 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon

This follows on from previous vintages. It is passionfruit on the nose, with dry citrus and lime on the palate.

The Semillon adds length and texture. Drinking beautifully.

$20.00 per bottle

2020 Arneis

A soft and aromatic vintage, with a rich textured palate of nashi pears to hints of citrus, with a crisp finish.

Drinking young and fresh or will cellar for 2-3 years.

$28.00 per bottle

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Open Online for Business

22nd March 2020

These coming months are going to be some of the most challenging and strange times for many of us. The Corona Virus is impacting us all, and in particular small businesses like our own.

As of Monday 22nd March 2020, our cellar door is closed to visitors.

You can still order wine online or by giving us a call on the phone or by email. We will happily freight wine, whether it be 1 bottle or a case of 12.

As business people and winemakers, we, Mark and Pippa, appreciate the support we receive from our customers who enjoy our wines, and we look forward to this continuing.

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Autumn New Wine Releases

Just as the weather begins to cool and we head into the Autumn months, we are ready to share our new wine releases – the latest vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon and Nebbiolo.

Cabernet & Nebbiolo - new wine releases

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is our usual fruit driven style. Lots of great berry fruit on the palate, luscious with a dry finish. $25.00 per bottle

The 2018 Nebbiolo is quite special this year. A slight change in winemaking practise, with 30% of the fruit undergoing wild ferment has added great depth to this wine. It was recently awarded 4 stars in the Winestate Italian/Spanish Tasting, of which the results can be seen in the March/April edition of the magazine.

As per the notes in the Winestate Magazine – “A bright nose of tar and rose petals with a well focussed longer vibrant palate of dried herbs, oak spices ad rose petals.”

$28.00 per bottle

We are looking forward to sharing these new wine releases at our Cellar Door, via our grazing and tasting experience, and also out and about as the opportunity arises.

We are planning to take them along to the Toast to the Coast Event being held at the Mindarie Marina on Saturday 4th April 2020.

The wines can also be ordered online via our website.

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