Come check out the new space and new wine releases at our cellar door. During the winter break we got busy and made a few changes to freshen up the space for you.
For those who remember when music came on those round things called records, it will be a nostalgic visit, as Mark & Pip have resurrected their ‘vinyl’ collection. There’ll always be something playing on the turntable inside the cellar door. (Hint: it’s a bit of a trip back to the 80’s with some early 90s and classics thrown in.)
The most important change is that we would prefer you to book or make an appointment when coming to visit the cellar door. There are lots of ways you can do this:
We will still accept ‘walk-ins’ during opening hours, but booking ahead will ensure we can provide you with the best wine experience.
Why bookings – because we are keen to give you our undivided attention,
and make your visit, engaging and memorable.
Cellar Door Hours – Thursday to Monday – 10am to 5pm
Guided Tasting with Food Pairing
You can still just book a Guided Wine tasting, but we’ve also added a simple food pairing option for those times you just want a light snack whilst tasting our wines. Choose 6 wines from the Vineyard 28 range and we will pair them with a sample plate for you to enjoy.
’28’ Wine and Grazing Experience
We’ve also upgraded the ‘28’ Wine and Grazing experience – its even more sumptuous than before, with some extra cheese, dips, local relishes and breads added to the board. It’s a great way to enjoy the full range of Vineyard 28 wines. Gluten free options still available.
When the cellar door reopens in July we will no longer accept ‘walk-ins‘. Visiting the cellar door will be by appointment and bookings only.
Mark and Pippa are looking forward to being able to continue to share their wine with you. When you make an appointment for a guided wine tasting or a booking for one of our wine experiences, you will know you are going to be hosted by them.
Pippa and Mark love sharing their passion for their wines with visitors.
Cellar Door Hours (from Friday 7th July 2023)
Thursday to Monday for appointments and bookings
between – 10am to 5pm
How to Make an Appointment or Book
The more you plan your visit ahead, the better we can provide you with a great wine experience.
Our 21st Vintage got under way on Wednesday 8th February this year with the Muscat Petit a Grain Rouge, destined for Moscato. This is usually our first grape to be harvested, and it was again this year, only a few days later than in 2022. We thought the season was going to be slower than usual, due to the cooler spring, and milder summer temperatures, but it turned out to be almost on par. Both the Pignoletto and Arneis were harvested on the exact same dates as in 2022, the 16th and 17th February respectively. The second half of February was busy, with the Fiano, Dolcetto, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc all coming into the winery on consecutive days. This made for some long days for Mark and Kieran, and lots of sunrises for the harvest crew.
Then as per usual we had what we call the mid vintage break, well it is for those picking. As the Cabernet Sauvignon wasn’t harvested until the 15th March, and then finally the Nebbiolo on 7th April on the eve of the Easter weekend. In between we picked a small quantity of Barbera as well from the Wildwater Vineyard.
Harvesting the grapes is just the beginning of the winemaking process. From de-stemming, to spending time on skins, different fermentations, pressing, barrel time and filtration; these processes commence the day the grapes are harvested and will continue for many weeks after. Winemaker Mark and assistant Kieran will still be working away in the winery over the next few months, tasting, checking and working on the wines. Typically the Nebbiolo spends up to 6 weeks on its skins, so it can be the end of June before it is pressed off and transferred to barrel.
Thank you to our Vintage 2023 Harvest Crew
A huge thanks to our 2023 harvest crew, the regulars – Bruce, Carol, Julie, Phil and Fran who this year were assisted by some other locals, Vicki, Ken, young Xavier, and brother-in-law DJ. This crew make all the difference to the quality of our wines, as they diligently weed out any not so good fruit. Our wines are very much hand made from beginning to end.
Overall Vintage 2023 has brought us in some exceptional grapes, with great flavours and in the right quantity too. We had very little disease pressure this season, and minimal impact from the weather. It was a lovely ripening season from December through until Easter. Our biggest issue this year was the lack of Marri flowers locally, thus netting the vines was extremely important on all our vineyards, as the bird pressure was high. You can look forward to some exceptional wines in the future years. Check out the gallery below for a few snapshots from this vintage.
2023 is the year Vineyard 28 turns 25. It’s quite a milestone and one we feel is worthy of celebration. This year also happens to be our 30th Wedding Anniversary.
How did we get to 25 years?
It all started 34 years ago in Melbourne; the Kiwi girl met the West Aussie boy whilst working for the same company. There was a spark, a date and as it is often said, the rest is history.
We quickly discovered we both had a shared interest in travel and wine. Whilst living in Melbourne, you’d find us ‘up country’ chasing down some obscure winery or helping out our friends in their wineries. The search for different varieties and wine styles began all the way back then.
Travel was a big thing, and it was Mark’s dream to traverse Africa. So, in 1991 we quit our jobs and took off for the UK, embarking on an overland trip from Morocco, through Algeria, across the Sahara down into West Africa. Have to say there wasn’t much wine on that trip – mostly beer. 1992 was spent living and working in the UK and traveling as much as possible.
Upon returning to Australia in 1993, we announced we were getting married. A huge wedding party was thrown for all the friends and family back at ‘359’ -the Cumbers family home in Australind – over the Australia Day Long weekend. Wine was of course a feature of this event, a fine selection from Killerby’s and the Moss Brothers.
Settling back into working life in Melbourne a house was bought, our first child Bailey was born, and we still spent most weekends chasing wine. All through that time was the phrase “one day we’ll start our own vineyard”. This was the beginning of our dream.
In early 1997 city life and raising a child with no family support was fast losing its appeal, so we decided to move back West to where Mark’s family was. Mark would get a job, we’d buy some land, hopefully with a house on it, and we’d start our own vineyard. It was meant to be, as Mark had a job offer quickly, the house we owned sold within 2 weeks, and within a couple of months we found ourselves living temporarily in Mandurah looking for the dream property.
One should point out at this stage – we didn’t actually know that much about growing grapes or winemaking – we were just really good at sampling the final product.
270 Bagieau Road
Bagieau Road which became Vineyard 28 was found by accident one weekend, on the way down to visit the family in Australind. Back then there was a house, some paddocks, a few trees and horses roaming. A second visit was organised a few weeks later and soil samples were be taken to see if it was even remotely possible to grow grapes there. Everything lined up, and the position close to the highway was considered ideal, so bargaining hard, they took possession and moved in on Boxing Day, December 1997.
The Dream Begins
In Spring 1998 the first vines were planted at Vineyard 28. It started out with a small trial block just to get the hang of growing these things. Then each year it just kept expanding. Initially with the Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc and Nebbiolo blocks. We realised very early on that we needed a point of difference, and Nebbiolo provided that opportunity, thus the decision to travel the Italian path. With industry assistance we planted the first Arneis vines and then a few years later Dolcetto.
The cellar door has been in operation for 18 years this year and it has gone through many changes. Starting out just doing tastings, to now focusing on providing the ‘28’ Wine and Grazing Experience as well as tours. During that time the family grew up and Jasper the red cloud kelpie grew older too.
A few of our major milestones over the years include opening the Cellar Door in 2005, winning our first ever Gold medal in 2011 for the 2011 Arneis at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show. This was also the same year Mark took on the responsibility of making all our wines. A few years later in 2014 we leased Wildwater Vineyard and starting growing Pignoletto, Dolcetto, Barbera and Montepulciano up there. We were very proud in 2018 to receive a trophy for Best Red Italian Variety for the 2018 Dolcetto at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show. Then again in 2022 we were overjoyed with receiving the trophy for Best Geographe White Wine at the 2022 WA Alternative Varieties Wine Show for our Fiano.
There is always something exciting and new to explore in the wine industry. Pippa is currently studying her Diploma of Digital Technology(Wine) to better understand how to use IoT (Internet of things) in the vineyard. Mark is constantly looking for the next variety to pioneer and ways to keep raising the bar on the wines he’s already producing.
Each year the seasons are different and sometimes they bring us new challenges and adventures.
Over the next 12 months our emphasis is moving towards providing more wine experiences and events for our Cellar Club members. The cellar door itself will slowly move towards being open by appointment and bookings only.
We look forward to sharing our next adventures in wine with you all!
Remembered as the Chief Concierge at our Cellar Door, our beloved family wine dog Jasper passed away in May 2021, at the age of 15. Heading into the 2022 vintage, Mark and Pippa wanted to do something to commemorate Jasper and decided to make the 2022 Jasper Rose.
Jasper joined the family in April 2006 and grew up alongside our kids. He loved to go on walks in the bush and to visit the beach. Then at home, if he wasn’t following one of the family around, Jasper could be found on his beloved couch.
Many of you would have been able to meet Jasper over the years when visiting the Cellar Door and knew how much he loved meeting and greeting you all. Although, he would get a bit slack on his duties in summer, as it was much too hot some days and he would stay indoors with the airconditioning.
One of his favourite times of year was vintage when he could round up the harvest crew and snack on some grapes (when he really shouldn’t have). When it came to morning tea time, he would stare longingly at whoever he decided might give in and sneak him some of their muffin or biscuit.
This label, with Jasper wearing his usual kerchief, has been designed by local artist and friend of Vineyard 28, Yvonne Chapman.
Made from our Nebbiolo grapes, this rose is gorgeous salmon pink in colour with hints of strawberries on the palate. Luscious and refreshing, with a hint of spritz.
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.
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 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
Our daughter, Gabrielle shares her perspective on growing up on a Vineyard.
When 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.