The vineyard is situated at 63 Merriworth Road, Tea Tree.
The current area is three hectares, with another two hectares in basic preparation and one extra hectare is available if the need arises. At this time, having “retired” in mid 2009 and having more time available, it is our intention to consolidate before moving on to the remainder.
Planting consists of 2.5 hectares of Pinot Noir and 0.5 of Riesling, with nine clones of the former and three of the latter. In the future we will expand the clonal range of Pinot and entertain the introduction of another variety, most probably Shiraz, which performs well in the local area.
Our hillside is on a base of fragmented dolerite with some very solid bits indeed! Soils are red and brown volcanic loams and some heavy black material in one corner where the site adjoins the flatland adjacent Strathallen Rivulet. It is rugged but well drained. We sparingly drip feed, and the vines struggle.
We aim for small crops, for example in the current 2010 vintage we picked on average 750 gms per vine. The 20 hectare property includes a small late 19th century house and the usual mix of rambling farm sheds. About 7 hectares are fertile river flats adjoining Strathallen Rivulet, the remainder being steep rocky hill face and exposed plateau. This is being left to revert to bushland.
After a long and extensive search of south east Tasmania we purchased the vineyard site, previously a farm, in early 2000. Our selection criteria were proximity to markets, tourist routes, other vineyards as well as aspect, microclimate and water supply.
Located in a valley off the hamlet of Tea Tree, just ten kilometres north-west of the historic town of Richmond, the vineyard is oriented north-south along the contours on a reasonably steep slope.
Establishment, including trellising, irrigation and planting, was very much hands on, except for major rock removal. All this was done in one year while we maintained full-time jobs.
Tea Tree is sufficiently inland to experience very cold winters but warm to hot summers, some two to five degrees warmer than Hobart. It is also a low rainfall area at 450 mm and subject to drought. In short, a tough site.
The first vines were planted in 2001 with a second stage 18 months later adding up to 3 hectares. The first vines were planted in 2001 with a second stage 18 months later adding up to 3 hectares.
A third stage of approximately .75 hectares is currently underway.
After a long and fruitless struggle to find a name, in desperation we passed the task over to our daughter Claire, who at that time was studying graphic design. “Easy”, she said after not much deliberation, “you’ve got two kids, and considering the huge amount of time and love you put in down at the vineyard, it’s your third child!”
Claire also designed the label, which we wanted to be clean, simple and easy to read.