Set within the verduous hills of the Yarra Valley, one of the most exciting wine regions in Australia, Sunshine Creek is within an hour’s drive from Melbourne. With original plantings dating back to the 1980’s our vineyards varietal focus is Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
These varieties allow us to work in harmony with the Yarra Valley’s cool climate where particular attention is paid to our yield that is kept at a low to medium level, then tended to with precision by hand. Our dedication, respect for the land and extensive experience all help to develop our range of premium quality wines of distinction that are unique to Sunshine Creek.
The vineyards on the Sunshine Creek estate comprise of 7 varieties over 22 hectares of vineyard area. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Of these varieties we have several clones of each bringing a level of complexity to the wines. Yields are maintained at a low to moderate level to further aid flavor development. Viticulturally speaking we follow sustainable vineyard practices encouraging mid-row grass growth to support beneficial insects which is slashed and discharged under the vine mid-December to aid in water conservation. The vineyards have a southerly aspect which reduces heat build-up on the vineyard floor. Soil type is duplex clay loam typical of the valley floor and the vineyard lies in a slight rain shadow of the Christmas Hills receiving approximately 600mm annually. The vines are trained using VSP (Vertical Shoot Positioning) to maximize air flow around the bunch zone thereby reducing disease pressure.
The Yarra Valley is on the cusp of Melbourne located just one hour’s drive from the CBD and is Victoria’s most visited wine region, offering its famous restaurants and wine bars ample cuisine friendly wines. Having complex topography and steep slopes at altitudes of 160 – 1,540ft facing all directions, the uppermost slopes are cool and most of the valley enjoys cool nights. Rainfall varies from 600mm in the valley floor to over 1000mm in the upper Yarra with harvest starting in mid-late Feb for sparkling through to mid-April. The soils vary from grey sandy clay loam in the valley floor to vivid red volcanic earth in parts of the upper Yarra.
With a proud and rich history of grape growing and winemaking dating back to the first settlers in 1838 the Yarra Valley reached a moderately height of fame around 1881. Enjoying a rebirth through the 1960’s afforded by a small group of Doctor’s establishing their own individual vineyards, with production being on a small scale setting impeccable standards they built a reputation right throughout and into the 1980’s of silky, age worthy blends. Until the 1990’s the Yarra Valley was an exclusive region and home of the small winery, most of them producing wines in the super-premium category. Today the Yarra Valley enjoys national and international acceptance as one of Australia’s foremost fine-wine regions. By 2012 the number of wineries was over 140, and grape harvest sufficient to produce over 1,200,000 cases.
With around 62% red and 38% white, by 2012 the total of all varieties covered 2352ha. The principal grape varieties in the Yarra Valley are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot. Pinot Noir is distinctly one of the Yarra Valley’s best suited varieties, given today the Yarra Valley is even better known for its Chardonnays compliments of its naturally cool conditions in the elevated southern end and Cabernet enjoying the warmer valley floor.
Chris’ winemaking career began in the kitchen, working as a chef for over 13 years; he applied his trade in establishments all over Australia. His time in the restaurant industry forged a deep love of wine and an intrinsic understanding of the wine flavours, aromas, texture and balance.
Following his passion, Chris studied an applied science (oenology) degree with the University of Southern Queensland, and upon graduation was dux of his class. Chris honed his skills at Yering Station making premium Yarra Valley sparkling, chardonnay, pinot noir, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon. A vintage at Domaine Serene in the Willamette Valley Oregon, USA only deepened Chris’ love and understanding of premium cool climate wine. In 2014 Chris joined the team at Sunshine Creek to work alongside Mario Marson. Utilising the new world class winery facility and premium estate grown fruit, now Chief Winemaker Chris is taking Sunshine Creek's wines to a new standard of excellence.
Andrew’s involvement in the wine industry began in 1981 when he was given the opportunity to develop a vineyard’s on what was then his parents land just north of Lakes Entrance in Eastern Victoria. Over the ensuing years he worked at his neighbor’s vineyard and winery (Lulgra Winery) and studied Viticulture by correspondence at Wagga Agricultural College.
Andrew’s neighbor’s eventually retired from winemaking and he purchased half of their property, which included a small vineyard and well designed multi level winery. Over the following years Andrew expanded production and focused on exploiting the strong tourist market in the Gippsland Lakes. This involved building a restaurant and further increasing his holdings to include direct access to the Lakes so to enable cruises and private boats to visit.
After 19 vintages change beckoned and he moved to Melbourne with his wife and 2 year old twin boys. Looking to recharge his batteries Andrew worked for several years as a casual storeman before being offered a job as an assistant manager at a premium Yarra Valley vineyard. After one year Andrew was promoted to manager, where he stayed for almost 10 years and during that time they shifted from being a supplier of grapes to several premium labels and onto creating their very own much sought after range.
Eventually by happenstance a change was in the air and Andrew found himself making the move to Sunshine Creek where he and Mario Marson are developing the vineyard into one of the premium sites in the Yarra. They have grafted selected clonal material on the existing old vines enabling the craft of a fine Cabernet, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They have a singular purpose in creating the finest quality wine possible. After only a few vintages we are seeing the benefits of a personalized, site and variety specific approach to viticulture.
Having completed studies of Communications, Graphic Arts and Media in Subiaco, Benjamin moved to Melbourne where he was Business Development Manager for Expert Installs from 2003 – 2009 managing and growing their corporate and government accounts nationally. Pursuing his love of wine he then opened and managed Old & Rare Wine House in Southbank spearheading their corporate sales department. After 2 years there he moved to be store manager of Camberwell Cellars (formerly Cloud Wine) where the focus was e-Commerce selling over 350 boutique Australian wines online, whilst completing 3 years of Mandarin studies at the ACCS Institute Box Hill and Melbourne cbd and becoming a member of the Australian Chamber of International Trade.
In 2010 Benjamin was the export documentation and logistics assistant manager for S & N Wines with a portfolio consisting of Grant Burge, Mount Mary, Vinea Marson, Philip Shaw, Bannockburn, Del Rios, Craiglee, Geoff Hardy, Sunshine Creek and De Bortoli wines exporting and promoting these wines within mainland China and Hong Kong. In 2015 he became Marketing Manager of Sunshine Creek in the Yarra Valley promoting our high quality Estate wines within Australia and exporting to France, Hong Kong, Japan and China where he has visited all 23 provinces except inner Mongolia and Tibet. His zeal is providing a high level of customer service and growing our business, sharing amazing wines and stories and making long lasting relationships along the way.
Working closely over the years in partnership with Vinea Marson, Grant Burge, Philip Shaw and Philip Jones sharing in the experience learned from each other, James is now fulfilling his wish to grow and make wine in the Yarra Valley and to promote and build even more awareness of the Yarra Valley internationally. James works in union with neighbors and local Yarra Valley vineyards taking the Yarra Valley status internationally to even greater heights. In 2013 James was awarded Honours as Associate of Wine Protector - France Bordeaux Region.
Summer leads the team and has extensive experience in the wine industry having owned and operated her own wine clubs and retail shops for many years abroad and in Melbourne. She knows the ins and outs of the industry bringing a wealth of knowledge to the daily runnings of the operations at the vineyard and winery. Knowing full well you cannot make good wine without good fruit, encourages patience and a hands on approach to all staff.
At Sunshine Creek we regard our land as our most valuable resource. We believe our endeavors in protecting our natural resource is evident in the consistent high quality of the grapes coming out of our vineyards, this is mirrored in the quality of our wines, expressing a sense of place.
We encourage local provenance regrowth along riparian zones which gives us a healthy level of biodiversity. This in turn results in a vineyard full of beneficial insects offering us a natural form of pest control. The need for potentially dangerous pesticide use is reduced to virtually zero, with all the spiders, lace wings and lady birds to name but a few taking care of things for us.
In addition to the riparian zone we also encourage native grasses to grow and to seed along our mid rows, this provides an excellent food source and environment for insects. Over 30 years ago vineyards were often devoid of spiders, long grass and mulch, nowadays it would be surprising if you do not walk through a few golden orb spider webs.
Water use is minimized by the use of undervine mulch, in the form of the long native grasses being slashed and discharged under each vine row. At least 50mm of mulch is applied under vine in this way every year. Self-generated compost, comprising of grape marc, saw dust and chook manure is broadcast across the vineyard each winter after aerating the vineyard floor with a spiked roller. The waste water generated by wine production is used to irrigate our orchards, pastures and extensive rose gardens.
Where possible traffic in the vineyard is kept to minimum by the use of multi row equipment and rotation of the “drive rows”. This reduces soil compaction enhancing soil health by retention of structure as well as reducing diesel usage by up to 40%.
The Sunshine Creek winery is designed and built to conserve and save energy. The production hall has double skin panel walls totally separated from each other preventing any thermal connection between them. The production hall has also been lined with cool room panels, in effect it is a building within a building. The south facing wall of production has thermomass panels up to 3 metres high, this is a sandwich construction of two concrete panels with high performance extruded polystyrene in between. Above this is two skins of 16mm Danpalon polycarbonate sheeting that allows natural light into the building, but not the heat.
We have Industrial extraction fans through the ceiling to work in conjunction with automatically operating windows for natural ventilation when sensors are activated. Our barrel vaults are a concrete and steel structure buried under 500mm of earth over 200mm thick high performance extruded polystyrene. Both ends of the vaults have vents for crossflow when needed and all waste is treated and contained on site organically.
Gold 95 Points – Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion 2022 "This has come together well, with cassis and currant coated in savoury flavours of pepper, char and wild herbs. It’s full bodied but not unwieldly, as the tannins are fine, long and ripe. Incredibly fresh."
91/9% cabernet sauvignon/malbec, aged 18 months in 23% new French oak barriques, then blended and matured 6 months in foudre.
91 Points – Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion 2022 "Lovely perfume, all florals and cherry accents. Spiced morello and red cherries, a juicing of blood orange and zest plus a hint of poached rhubarb."
The two clones of Pinot Noir (MV6 and Pommard) were hand-picked, 70% whole berries/30% whole bunches, three days cold-soak, 100% wild ferment, five days extended maceration, matured in French oak barriques (31% new), receiving eight months élevage.
For a very warm year, 2018 delivered a delicate and elegant Pinot Noir. On the nose there are lovely herbal notes from the inclusion of some whole bunches; raspberry, red cherry, carnations and vanilla also leap from the glass.
The palate delivers flavours of sour cherry and cranberry, with firm, fine-grained tannins adding structure and focus.
93 Points – Andrew Graham, OzWineReview "For all the ripeness and flow, it’s all well contained and enjoyably big-boned. Nice traditional Chardonnay."
100% Estate grown chardonnay. Four different clones (mendoza, 76, 95 and 96) were all hand-picked, whole bunch pressed. Fermented and matured in French oak barriques (40% new), minimal battonage, with 8 months elevage. The nose displays aromas of white chocolate, peach, pear and spices. The palate is rich stonefruit, tangerine, spicy wood and firm acidity.
94 Points – Andrew Graham, OzWineReview "Really nice wine this, I almost caught myself drinking it on a tasting day."
92 Points – Gary Walsh, Winefront "Medium-bodied, a bit spicy. Supple flow of juicy dark berry flavour with guiding graphite tannin… Nice wine here."
2018 was a vintage of two halves a cool and relatively moist winter and spring, thereafter conditions were exceptionally dry through to the conclusion of vintage.
Sourced from the Thousand Candles vineyard in Gruyere, 35% whole-bunches and 65% whole berries. Fermented (100% wild) in large-format, oak fermenters, five days cold soak and gentle handling (pump overs only). 15 months élevage in French oak barriques (12% new), then a further six months in large-format foudré.
92 Points – Ralph Kyte-Powell "A deeply-coloured young cabernet blend with a succulent aroma of blackcurrant pastilles, briar and earth. It’s lush and seamless in the mouth, with berry and dark chocolatey flavour of good persistence, finishing with finely integrated tannins. A Yarra cabernet of generosity and elegant balance."
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (62%), Merlot (36%) and Malbec (2%). Fruit was destemmed, crushed and fermented separately. Five days cold soak and up to two weeks extended maceration. Matured in French oak barriques (23% new), receiving 18 months élevage in barrel before blending, then a further six months in large-format foudré.
92 Points – Huon Hooke "There's a lot of richness and volume here, the impact is high and the acidity and clean tannins carry the palate long and powerfully. It's very good and has a bright future."
This Shiraz was made with selected grapes from the renowned Heathcote region in Central Victoria. Hand-picked, destemmed and crushed and fermented in open top tanks with a mixture of wild and cultured yeasts. It has been matured in French oak barriques for 15 months of which 30% was new oak, then blended, lightly filtered and bottled.
The 2017 Shiraz is deep red in colour with blue tinges and displays rich aromas of dark fruits, blackberry, black currant, nutmeg and toasted clove spice on the nose. The palate exhibits intense fruit characters of blackberry and black currant with toasted clove spice and a long smooth tannin finish. It can be enjoyed now or cellared for ten to twenty years.
The Block X series of wines are expressions of exceptional fruit parcels identified from Sunshine Creek’s Estate and selected vineyards. Nurtured with versatility and drinkability in mind, these wines present beautifully on their own or will harmoniously pair with a vast array of cuisine.
The Block X series of wines are expressions of exceptional fruit parcels identified from Sunshine Creek’s Estate and selected vineyards. Nurtured with versatility and drinkability in mind, these wines present beautifully on their own or will harmoniously pair with a vast array of cuisine.
In June of 2015 Sunshine Creek held a large stand at one of the world’s biggest global wine and spirit events, Vinexpo in Bordeaux. Being in the mix of the major players, decision makers and estate owners in person our goal was to build stronger relationships with the overseas market and promote Australian wine to the vast number of international visitors attending. Over 5 days Vinexpo allowed us to keep up with the latest international market trends, attend seminars, conferences, tastings and food and wine pairings held by world renowned experts. The nightly networking events held within Bordeaux city center were also a great place to mingle and make new friends and contacts, and discover the odd bistrot (pub). The interest at our stand at Vinexpo drew large crowds, this was one of the benefits of being one of only a few Australian vineyard and winery stands. The genuine excitement for Australian wine and the reputation for quality we have was very apparent from specialist retailers, importers, major hotel and restaurant chains and E-commerce businesses as well as the international media that took a special interest in our stand. It was great to see adventurous local wine students as well as students that flew in from all over the world. Introducing them to our wares and the Australian wine regions was very rewarding. Our programme included food and wine pairing classes conducted by our own resident Kate McIntyre MW and our Gala dinner held at James’ Chateau Renon in Tabanac.
With us at our stand were Domaine A, Punch, Jasper Hill, Wild Duck Creek, Hentley Farm, Prancing Horse, Preveli, John Duval, Cullen, Goodman, Yeringberg, Castagna, Mount Mary, Moorooduc Estate, Philip Shaw, Vinea Marson, Craiglee, K1, Bannockburn and Del Rios.
In November of 2014 Sunshine Creek attended the premier wine event in Asia, the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair. Known as the consummate spring board into the Asian market the 2014 HKIWSF had 1007 exhibitors with a total of 19,926 buyers alone attending. For this wine show we invited our Yarra Valley friends to join us, goal being to promote the regional profile of the Yarra Valley in Asia as well as hang out together in Hong Kong for the week and have a great time, which karaoke afforded us! All together Mount Mary, Yeringberg, Yarra Yarra, Mac Forbe, Toolangi, Yarra Yering, Warramate, Punch, Bird on a Wire, Goodman Wines, Jamsheed, Thousand Candles, Medhurst, Hoddles Creek, Timo Meyer, Luke Lambert and Dominique Portet producers joined us. Also was Hargreaves Hill Brewery, Coldstream Brewery, and Four pillars Gin, food producers included Floridia Cheese, Crumbs Biscuits, Yarra Valley Gourmet Foods, and Yarra Valley Caviar. Kate McIntyre MW came with us upon invitation from James to assist in the promotion of our stands range of products as well as attend our Gala Dinner held at the Renaissance Hotel. Also attending in support of us and our aim to create more awareness of the Yarra Valley in Asia was Jeremy Oliver, Philippe Mouchel and Taliessen Reaburn the Australian Trade Commissioner for Hong Kong and Macau. Other producers with us were close friends from Craiglee, Del Rios, Grant Burge, K1 (Geoff Hardy wines), Maison Galhaud, Philip Shaw, Roc De Boisseaux and Vinea Marson.
Our stand was the largest wine stand at HKTDC 2014 and received much attention from the local and international media. Kate McIntyre is also the 2014 Sunshine Creek Karaoke Champion!
In October 2014 in preparation of the HKTDC Wine Fair we invited all the Yarra Valley vineyards attending the show over for a BBQ, we also had some regional media, Wine Styles magazine Chief Editor Mr Eddy Chiu and HKTDC Director Australia and New Zealand Ms Bonnie Shek. This was an opportunity to get together pre show and over lunch with some beverages we discussed the importance of working together to promote the Yarra Valley in Asia. After months of organizing this was the first time we had all come together in the one place and the Yarra turned on the perfect weather for us.
In March 2014, Chengdu in China’s Sichuan province welcomed its 90th China (Chengdu) Food and Drinks Fair (CFDF). The sheer scale of the event across Chengdu’s central business district is one you have to see to believe. For one week the city is a plethora of wine events turning into a wine fare mecca, from hotels to restaurants, exhibition centers and halls almost in every main area of the city you could find some sort of wine themed event. For three days we shared a stand at the Kempinski Hotel with our portfolio counterparts Grant Burge, Craiglee, Philip Shaw, Bannockburn, Del Rios, Maison Galhaud, K1 (Geoff Hardy) and Vinea Marson where the first 6 floors of the hotel were turned into a wine exhibition center. Then from the 28th – 31st moved to the Century City New International Convention and Exhibition Center. This fair is the largest exhibition and trade show in mainland China’s alcohol and food industry, a very influential exhibition seeing over 220’000 people come through the expo in just over 4 days and even for China these are massive figures. This was a great platform to exhibit our wines and showcase what the Yarra Valley has to offer stylistically. Meeting with our existing buyers from the Sichuan province was a very good experience for us, in an ever changing market understanding their needs more as well as understanding more how they place the product for sale and who the consumers are. It was at this wine fair you really comprehend how important it is to attend these events that bridge together producers and purchasers.
Besides all the work done on what is an extensive wine show everyone thoroughly enjoyed Chengdu, the people were extremely nice and courteous and their hospitality made us feel more than welcome. We definitely felt more relaxed in this city and Chengdu’s reputation for having a slower speed of life suited us well as this was a 6 day wine fair that did require some half time R and R, a day off to stroll the inner network of side streets with traditional tea houses and restaurants was the perfect way to re-energize. Though maybe next time when closing down the stand we won’t post we are giving away free Sunshine Creek kangaroo fluffy toys on our WeChat as it created a near chaos in our section of the exhibition, but it drew the crowd! Being the spicy hot pot capital of China our pepper and chilli tasting experience was taken to a whole new level we look forward to attending again next year!
In November 2013 Sunshine Creek attended the first Shanghai ProWine event held at the Shanghai New International Expo Center. The Shanghai ProWine show featured exhibitors from Argentina, Chile, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Austria and other countries, waving the Aussie flag and representing the Yarra Valley was ourselves. Together with our Australian export partners being Philip Shaw Wines, Bannockburn, Del Rios, K1 by Geoff Hardy, Grant Burge and Craiglee ProWine provided the perfect platform to negotiate face to face with retailers and distributors. ProWine targets mostly the specialist wine stores and the independent food retailers, interestingly 32% of visitors where from outside shanghai and 12% visiting from outside of China. The majority sector visiting where from retail backgrounds (42%) followed by distributors and wholesalers, then hospitality. 570 exhibitors from 30 countries attended and over 7600 trade visitors came through to sample wine. A standout for ProWine is the immense variety of wine from so many different regions on show making it a more unique exhibition, a Chardonnay from India, Hampi Hills won best chardonnay at the expo from a panel of judges whom flew in from all parts of the world and trying it ourselves thought it was well deserved!
In June of 2010 Sunshine Creek began its Asia wine show campaign alongside friend and fellow winemaker Philip Shaw at the Guangzhou China Import and Export Fair Complex. Guangzhou is one of China’s largest economic cities and has an almost incomparable advantage in the wine market. No surprise we discovered many famous Chateau’ and brands on display here with their latest product. The visitor breakdown for this event was 40% importers, distributors and agencies, 30% are wholesalers, 20% are wine lovers and public customers and 10% are from restaurants, hotels, bars, service and other media. After attending this exhibition many dealers showed interest in our product and a genuine interest in Australian product alone was very high. The great thing about the Guangzhou Import Export Fair is that it attracts buyers not only from the key cities of Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai but also from 2nd and 3rd tier cities as well as fast growing consumer local markets. Notably we appreciated the awareness of visitors that Australian wine has a reputation as a quality product, albeit most visitors were only familiar with the major wine regions of Australia we realize that to be successful in China our campaign into the market there will need be a long term plan to not only raise awareness of our brand but also raise the awareness of the Yarra Valley.
After aquiring the Marthas Vineyard which was established in the 1980's, in 2008 and 2009 we began to focus all our efforts to improve it, although challenges and difficulties went far beyond our original expectations. First of all we conducted a comprehensive inspection of around 50,000 grape vines over an area of 55 acres to ensure their basic health. Furthermore in order to achieve higher quality grapes, we adopted the trunk pruning method and VSP branches management method in a step by step project to support future development. In addition to other infrastructure projects we also reconstructed the pond to enlargen storage capacity and extended an irrigation system which laid the groundwork for future coordination.
After the devastating events of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, 2010 saw a return to a season of exceptionally high quality. Slightly warmer than ‘average’, with the timing of rainfall mitigating the need for additional irrigation. Excellent flowering conditions meant some additional fruit thinning was required to bring yields back down. We regard this as a critical activity which aids in flavour concentration. Excellent quality was achieved across all varieties.
A season of seemingly never ending rain events, adding significant disease pressure to all our blocks. Early flavour development, due to the cool season, enabled picking at slightly lower baumes than 2010, which can be seen in a lighter colour in our Pinot Noirs while still displaying wonderful aromatic qualities. Careful, selective handling of the Cabernet Sauvignon has created a wine of finer structure than the 2010.
Another wet start to the season, which certainly kept everyone on their toes with the possibility of a repeat season to 2011 looming. Once flowering was completed, the rain backed away leaving a mild, dry lead in to harvest. Its often the period from the start of January that can make or break a season, from a quality perspective, with the potential for heatwaves (2009) and floods (2011) ever present. 2012 was ideal, giving sublime Chardonnay, richly coloured Pinot Noir and complex, beautifully structured Cabernet Sauvignon.
Reasonable winter rainfall set the vineyard up for a good start with even budburst in all varieties. As the season progressed it became apparent that rainfall was likely to be scarce, and by flowering in December we had in place our “dry season” strategy. This is designed to keep the soil cool under the vines, there by reducing vine stress, and encouraging longer than normal grasses to grow midrow, reducing moisture loss.
As vintage approached I heard many comments about the “early season”, up to two weeks ahead in some vineyards, and was interested in the potential timing of our harvest. As it turned out, our Pinot (the first one to be picked) came in on exactly the same day as last year. It was close to the same for all other varieties, the exception being Cabernet Sauvignon, which just needed a bit of “hang time” to broaden its flavours.
A nice, even budburst saw the season off to a good start around late August for the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and mid September for the Cabernets. We experienced a particularly cool, windy and overcast Spring which coincided with the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay flowering, leading to a poor fruit set and low bunch weights. This effect was partially avoided by the later flowering Cabernets. Good early rains set the vines up for a good growing season through what can be a difficult time over the Xmas break in some years, thanks to the occasional passing thunderstorm. This season, however, was typically dry with warm days and cool nights. These climate characteristics help maintain good acid levels that aid flavour development in the wines.
As harvest approached our thoughts earlier in the season around the cool flowering conditions and the potential effect on yield came to fruition (Freudian slip?) with very low bunch weights recovered across all Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blocks. Flavours were, however, extremely good with lovely concentration, particularly in the Chardonnay. As expected, the later flowering Cabernets were effected with a slightly reduced yield but equally lovely flavours. So, in summary, there may not be a great deal of wine from 2014, but what there is should stand out.
Things started moving in late August, as usual, with the Chardonnay budswell, closely followed by the Pinot Noir, with the Cabernets bringing up the rear a few weeks later.
We were blessed with mild weather right through the season. A nice change from last years cool wet spring! Temperatures didn’t go beyond 35C, and over 30C only a handful of times. Daily maximums were between 25 – 30C for most of January and February. Although typically dry over summer, the moderate temperatures allowed the vines to ripen the crop at a steady rate, free of sunburn and other potentially stressful events.
Flavours developed nicely, with a typical “lag phase” between sugar ripeness and flavour ripeness, particularly with the Cabernets. (This is when the sugar reading is appropriate for harvest, but the flavours disappear for a few days, before re appearing with gusto. It is then that we pick)
This should be a great vintage for a few “keepers”.
Favourable conditions during Spring leading into flowering set the scene for the entire year, with all varieties flowering over an unusually short period.
Rainfall events were usually a few weeks apart, and often a reasonably significant amount around 15 – 20mm, before drying out in mid January. Our Summer period was nicely warm, proving once again the value of undervine mulch to help keep the soil temperature down.
Of particular interest this year was the compressed vintage, indicated earlier in the year by the short flowering period. Our harvest is usually spread over 6 – 7 weeks starting with the Pinot Noir and finishing with the Petit Verdot. This year, however, harvest was compressed to just 4 weeks, from late February to late March.
Quality was still outstanding with cool nights aiding in acid retention for a series of high grade wines expected for release over the next two years.
Reasonably good rains over winter and spring set the vines off to a good start with budburst just a fraction later than “usual”.
A cool, wet and windy flowering period resulted in a lower than average fruit set, which meant bunch thinning was reduced later in the season.
The cool flowering, coupled with a slightly later budburst, pushed the harvest back about 10 days or so. This meant we started in early March rather than late February, as has been the case for the last 10 years or so.
Vintage this year occurred over a fairly short time frame, around 4 weeks, with the last variety, Petit Verdot, being harvested on the 8th of April.
A fairly dry winter saw our dam reaching capacity quite late. This was followed by an unusually wet spring, with several high rainfall storms increasing disease pressure and encouraging me to adopt a slightly different management strategy in the vineyard.
Rather than allow mid row grasses to grow to flowering, thereby encouraging beneficial insects and overall vineyard biodiversity, I repeatedly slashed the mid row. This encouraged grass growth, thereby using more water than otherwise and had the effect of reducing disease pressure in a more natural way.
Of course, by December/January all the rain stopped and we reverted to a very dry season, which reduced disease pressure but increased water requirements. Many vineyards lost significant amounts of crop due to these conditions, however we managed to get through with only slight reductions across the board.
Generally cool nights retained good natural acid with flavours in all varieties coming in early, giving the wines a more delicate structure with nice palate length.
As usual, our Cabernet Sauvignon needed just that little bit longer to hang before picking to get the flavour “just right”.
A dry cold winter gave way to a dry mild spring with much needed rainfall in December nurturing the vines through January and over the early heat. The season was characterised by intermittent heat spikes that kept everyone on their toes followed by cool changes. The remainder of the vintage was perfect ripening weather with no rain or disease pressure, it may not go down as the best vintage from the Yarra Valley, but the wine quality looks well above average.
The Yarra Valley rejoiced with good August/September rainfall before wild variations in maximum temperatures. A very mild season following a very hot November, meaning slow ripening after a late bud burst. That said, nails were chewed to the quick by weeks of smoke from the Hunter Valley, replaced by smoke from Gippsland. Incredibly, smoke taint tests came back zero, leading to retest after retest: zero. Old smoke, you see. Yields were pathetically low, with tiny bunches, fruit quality high to very high.
With healthy yields in the Yarra Valley, ideally timed rainfall and ripening season temperatures tracking long-term averages, 2021 was an idyllic season for cool-climate varieties. Chardonnay was a highlight, gris the best in several years, and pinot noir perfumed, ethereal and outstanding. Higher yields and cooler conditions favoured growers who moderated yields in shiraz and cabernet, producing generous wines of immediate appeal.
T +613 8849 0257
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Sunshine Creek Vineyard
(not open to public)
350 Yarraview Road,
Yarra Glen, VIC 3775
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290 Glenview Road
Yarra Glen, Vic 3775
T +613 8750 4213
至2012年，总葡萄种植面积达到2352公顷，其中62% 种植红葡萄 38%为白葡萄。在亚拉谷主要的葡萄品种有黑比诺，沙当妮，赤霞珠，西拉，长相思和美乐。亚拉谷最适合种植的品种之一是黑比诺。同时，那里南面的高处因为气候寒冷很适合生产莎当妮而地势较低，较温暖的地方更适合赤霞珠的种植。