Vineyards

BRIDGEWATER-ON-LODDON, BENDIGO

Over twenty years ago, as then young fresh faced winemakers, we were granted permission to take cuttings from some of the Barossa and Clare valleys finest and most iconic Shiraz, Cabernet and Malbec vineyards. At the time, the vineyards ranged in age from 30 to 100 years old, which allowed us to collect a unique selection of original, non-clonal grape cultivars.

These cuttings were planted in 1996 on a 10 acre river-frontage block at Bridgewater on Loddon, a town 40km north-west of Bendigo in Central Victoria, forming the vineyard we now call our Old Clone vineyard. From the outset, the vineyard produced fruit of outstanding quality, complex flavours and incredible colours – factors unique to this vineyard and which we attribute to the vines parent stock. Wines we produced from this vineyard include our Special Release Shiraz, Old Clone Shiraz, Shiraz Viognier and Cabernet Malbec.

In 1997 we established a second vineyard at Bridgewater on Loddon, planting a 20 acre block to the best clones available of Shiraz, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Viognier. This block producers our MT Tempranillo, Shiraz and Vineyard Blend wines.

Both vineyards are hand pruned to 22 buds per vine, thereby encouraging low yields and greater concentration of fruit flavours. The open canopy created by this practice allows greater air flow through the vines and reduces the need for fungal sprays. The inherent dry growing conditions at Bridgewater during summer produce in a very low disease risk in the vineyards overall.

HEATHCOTE

We have built fantastic relationships with several growers in the Heathcote wine region, in particular from the subregions of Toolleen and Colbinabbin, over the past twenty years. From these growers we source fruit of outstanding quality for our Pinga wine label and, when the fruit is truly exceptional, also source Shiraz for our limited release Pondalowie Reserve Heathcote Shiraz. The 2015 Reserve Heathcote Shiraz was rated 96 points by James Halliday and its predecessor, the 2013,

vintage was rated 95 points highlighting the quality achieved by these growers in this iconic region.

BAMBRA

In the mid-90’s Dominic was so inspired by his time working vintage in Burgundy he made a promise that one day he would try to replicate the style of wines and familial atmosphere of a French wine harvest on a property of his own. The dream never diminished and, as I shared his vision, we made the brave decision to begin ‘stage two’ of our Pondalowie dream whilst our children were still young enough to benefit from growing up on a holistic farm environment, but old enough to allow us to juggle the management of three vineyard properties located in two very different environments.

A year-long search lead us to Bambra, in the Otways region near Geelong, where a 100-acre property was purchased in 2016. It offered ideal conditions for growing cool-climate wines – a sunny north-facing site, cooled by sea breezes from nearby Bass Strait in the evening and sheltered to the West by majestic gum and cypress trees. At 220 metres above sea level and with reliable Otways rainfall, we are excited for the future from this glorious site. Groundworks for the new vineyard has commenced with planting to be completed during 2018 and 2019 using 3 clones of Pinot Noir. 70% of the vineyard will be the ever dependable MV6 clone, widely regarded as the best standalone clone. It arrived in Australia from Clos Vougeot in 1831 with James Busby, the father of Australian viticulture. The remaining 30% will be split equally between the Pommard clone, known for its complexity, and the new and exciting Abel clone, arriving in Australia via New Zealand from the Legendary Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

The new Bambra vineyard, winery and cellar door is nestled in the beautiful Otway ranges, within an hour and half from Melbourne and is on the hinterland route to the Great Ocean Road. We will open a new cellar door, housed within the custom built winery, during summer of 2018/2019.

We look forward to sharing this new chapter in our story with you soon.