Mark & Pip’s Fabulous Holiday

June 2021 – Mark & Pip’s Holiday Adventure

Mark & Pip HelicopterSouth 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.

The Cube
The Cube
Mark at Deviation Road
Mark tasting Sparkling at Deviation Road

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.

ArtWine Sculpture
ArtWine Sculpture
Bellwether Winery
Inside the Glen Roy Shed at Bellwether

Best Wine of the trip

Mark’ pick was the WangolinaGruner Veltliner

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.

Pip’s pick was the Lino RambleArinto.

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.

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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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Vintage Leap 2020

Winemaker Mark with visitors on a vineyard walk.

This is going to be a great opportunity to celebrate the 2020 Leap year, with our Vintage Leap Experience.

Saturday 29th February 2020

Come for a walk in the Vineyard with our winemaker, Mark. Sample the grapes and gain an understanding of how we decide when to pick and why. 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 should all be happening. A peek into the world of a winemaker amidst the season we refer to as “vintage” or in Italian – “la vendemmia

By this time we will have some wines in tank and at different stages of the wine-making process. Get to have a sneak peek and early taste of 2020 vintage wines. Mark might even tempt you with some barrel tastings of the 2019 reds.

This will be a small group experience. (Limited to 8 persons per session)

When: Saturday 29 February 2020 between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM

Cost – $25.00 per person (for Non Cellar Club Members)

Bookings are essential.

After your Vintage Leap 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.

Note: Cellar Club Members please check your emails as there will be a promotional code provided for you to book with to obtain a discount.

BOOK HERE

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Wine Show Season

September through to November each year is often known in our industry as the Wine Show season. The time when we send our wines off to be benchmarked against others. We hope to receive back a few awards, some medals and lots of constructive feedback on the wines we have entered.

Here at Vineyard 28 we are quite selective of which wine shows we enter. Not all wine shows are equal and suitable for our lesser known Italian Varieties. One show we always support though is our own local show, the Geographe and WA Alternative Wine Show held in September each year. This year we came home with a swag of Bronze medals for our wines, so although not an award or trophy, we got some great feedback.

Another great show we send our wines away to is the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show. This show has been going for 20 years now and is not only a forum for wines that fall outside the mainstream. It encourages cutting-edge judging procedures and provides a host of social and educational events that promote knowledge sharing and the ferment of ideas around lesser known grape varietals.

Mark Cumbers with the 2019 Dolcetto

Mark is very pleased to have received a Gold Medal, for the 2019 Dolcetto (dry) at this years Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show. It makes it two years in a row for this wine. (The 2018 Dolcetto winning Gold last year and then going onto to win the Best Italian Red Varietal Trophy) The 2019 Dolcetto would have been in the running for the trophy again, but this year a Sangiovese from De Bortoli came up tops.

Wine shows are a fickle thing, and sometimes you don’t get the results you hoped for, but it doesn’t mean the wine isn’t good enough. Consistently achieving medals indicates excellent quality wine with no faults. It provides us with an opportunity to see how we are going with our peers. But at the end of the day it really comes down to the individual, which wines you like to drink, and the characteristics and flavours you like in your wine.

As well known Spanish American Chef, Jose Andres states, “Every time I open a bottle of wine it is an amazing trip somewhere.

At Vineyard 28 we want our wines to take you on an amazing trip as well, hopefully on a little journey to experience something of Italy here in the Geographe Wine Region.

Wine Show Results 2019

Gold Medal at the 2019 Australian Alternative Wine Show for:

Bronze Medal at the 2019 Australian Alternative Wine Show and 2019 Geographe & WA Alternative Wine Show for:

  • 2018 Nebbiolo (not released yet)

Bronze Medals at the 2019 Geographe & WA Alternative Wine Show for :

Bronze Medal at the 2019 Wine Show of Western Australia, held in Mt Barker WA each year for:

  • 2019 Moscato Rosa (not released yet)
Medal Certificates
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Discover Italian Vino

Saturday 16th November 1.00pm to 4.00pm

at the Vineyard 28 Cellar Door.

Booking Essential – $30.00 per person BOOK HERE

Spend an afternoon with our winemaker Mark, on a journey to discover Italian Vino. Be the first to try some of the new releases. Tempt your taste buds with samples of the new grape varieties we will be introducing in the future.

Begin your afternoon with an introduction to an Italian Sparkling wine from the Emilio Romagna region of Italy. Take a short trip to southern Italy to Campania as you are introduced to the Fiano grape. Vineyard 28 is looking forward to producing their first vintage of this in 2020.

You will be amongst the first to try new vintages of Arneis, Dolcetto and Nebbiolo. Compare with their predecessors. Which will be your favourite? Finish up your afternoon on a sweet note with our new release 2019 Moscato Rosa and 2019 Dolcetto Freddo.

All of this Italian Vino will be accompanied by grazing table of local fresh produce – fruits, cheeses, olives, charcuterie and Lou’s awesome artisan crackers.

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Perth Good Food and Wine Show 2019

Friday 23rd August – Sunday 25th August 2019

at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre

Vineyard 28 will again be attending the Perth Good Food and Wine Show, along with fellow wineries from the Geographe Wine Region.

We are looking forward to sharing our new release wines with you all. In particular the 2019 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, the 2019 Dolcetto (dry) and the 2019 Dolcetto Freddo. Mark & Pippa will be there most days, so it is a great opportunity to catch up on all their news and discuss the latest wines.

The show will also be showcasing the ‘who’s who’ of local and international top-name chefs and foodie experts. From pastries to paella, seafood to sweets, our special guests will be whipping up the tastiest creations for your inspiration. You even have the option of dining with your favourite chef in an intimate and much-loved Chef’s Lunch. Heaps more information is available at their website – click here.

Need tickets – https://goodfoodshow.com.au/perth/tickets/

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New Wine Releases

It might be the middle of winter here at Vineyard 28 but we’ve got some of our exceptional 2019 grapes transformed into wine, into bottle and ready for you to enjoy. Available at the cellar door now and online. We’ll also be bringing them to the Perth Good Food and Wine Show in August.

2019 SBS - Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon

A fresh and vibrant, new release of our easy drinking blend of the Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

Dolcetto Freddo Label

Our gorgeous cherry pie, sweet chilled Dolcetto Freddo, which is a great accompaniment to a warming winter curry or even a Thai Beef Salad.

2019 Dolcetto

The one everyone has been waiting for, the 2019 dry Dolcetto. Rich dark cherries, mouth filling dusty tannins, a great winter warmer to enjoy now or over the next few years.

The wines are available to order online now. Free freight within Western Australia and $15.00 per case for our interstate friends.

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Vintage 2019

Vintage 2019 has finally come to an end. It has seemed a long season this year, commencing back in early February, a few weeks later than usual, with the last harvest being the Nebbiolo undertaken on the 6th April. In fact the Nebbiolo was only pressed off a little over a week ago. Recent tastings across the range by winemaker Mark are indicating we are going to have some awesome drops of wine this year. It could well be a year to remember. The first of our Pignoletto grapes were picked on Saturday 16th February, and the resultant juice will soon continue its journey onto becoming our first Sparkling style. But don’t all rush out to come try, it won’t be available until later in 2020. Good things take time to create.

During the winter months we had good rain filling our soil profiles and a cool but quite dry spring. This and the continued cooler summer temperatures through December and January delayed ripening, but resulted in our grape canopies maintaining excellent conditions through to harvest. Of note this year has been the bird pressure. It is the highest we’ve seen in many years with almost no blossom on the local Marri trees until virtually the end of the season.

The season commenced on the 12th February with our Muscat fruit here at the Vineyard 28 site. For the first few weeks it was a little hectic in the winery with the white varieties and our first Dolcetto fruit all coming in before the end of February. Then the cooler March temperatures slowed things a little and spread the harvests out with the Cabernet Sauvignon being harvested on 20th March, with then another few weeks before we finished with the Nebbiolo. Mark has had a very full winery, and at times it’s been an interesting juggle, but it’s all in safely with the 2019 white styles almost ready for bottling later in June.

Our regular crew of retired farming folk were back this year to help bring the fruit in, ably assisted by a few local students commencing gap years, supplemented along the way by a few international backpackers. It made for some great morning tea conversations after each pick.

Check out the gallery of images below from across the season.

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Best Italian Red Wine Variety Trophy

Vineyard 28 is awarded the Best Italian Red Wine Variety Trophy at the

2018 Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show.

The 2018 Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show is held during the first week of November each year in Mildura, Victoria. The 2018 Show saw 805 entries received from 207 exhibitors, from 62 wine regions across Australia, and encompassed 101 unique grape varieties. The show is more than a forum for wines that fall outside the mainstream. It encourages cutting-edge judging procedures and provides a host of social and educational events that promote the sharing of knowledge and ideas of the lesser known grapes.

Vineyard 28 is very please to announce that they were awarded the

Best Italian Red Wine Variety Trophy, sponsored by CHR Hansen,

for the 2018 Dolcetto.

This is the first vintage of this wine for Vineyard 28. Dolcetto is a black Italian grape variety, known for its low levels of acidity and tendency to be ready for an early harvest. This fruit is grown at the Wildwater Vineyard site in the hills behind Harvey. Full of flavours and vibrant with red berry fruit, sarsparilla, hints of rosewater, grainy herbs, cedar and spices, a wine that is drinking well whilst young and fresh.

 

Meg Kopke receiving award on behalf of Vineyard 28
Meg Kopke receiving the award on behalf of Vineyard 28, from sponsor CHR Hansen.

Winemaker, Mark Cumbers was ‘over the moon‘ when he received the call to advise he’d received a Trophy for the Dolcetto. Thank you to our colleague Meg Kopke who was attending the Awards Long Lunch this year, and accepted the trophy on our behalf.  Receiving this Trophy is great recognition for being one of the Geographe Wine Region’s pioneers of the lesser known grape varieties.

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Unwined Subiaco – Wine Festival

unwined subiaco logoUNWINED SUBIACO

WA Wine on show…

Sat 27th and Sun 28th October

Market Square Park, Subiaco

1130am to 530pm each day

Come along and catch up with Pippa at one of Western Australia’s finest festivals in October. Vineyard 28 will be there with all our new releases, including the Gold Medal  winning 2018 Dolcetto.

It’s a great day out providing an opportunity to not only catch up with us, but to also sample other WA wine, craft beer, cider and spirits. With 70+ companies from regions across our extraordinary state joining us, you have the chance to talk to winemakers and producers and taste our beautiful states produce you may not normally have access to.

Why not pack a picnic, or buy some food from one of the local Perth foodies that will be there. Find a patch of grass or make use of the many picnic blankets available and grab a glass of your favourite Vineyard 28 wine to enjoy.

Throughout the day you can listen to live music, sit in on a wine pairing session or wine appreciation seminar and buy some local produce and delicious tapas from Perth’s best foodies. No matter what you do, it all adds up to a delightful day where you can discover new and unusual wines, taste great food and enjoy indi tunes in a relaxing park setting in the heart of Subiaco.

Wine Theatre at Unwined Subiaco

Would you like to learn more about wine, then the daily activities at the Wine Theatre are for you.

At 12.00pm and 2.45pm wine and food pairings will be presented with the support of a local chef and sommelier at a cost of $20. The sessions will match the states fresh local produce with amazing WA wine.
At 1.30pm and 4.00pm hosted wine appreciation seminars are held with tastings and education of four wines at a cost of $10.

NOTE: Tickets for these classes are pre-purchase only.

More information about the event is available – HERE
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