Our Vineyard & Winery

Our vineyards, nestled in a gently sloping valley, are framed by natural bushland and the rolling hills of the Darling Range. When the natural timber had been cut out for milling, the valley land was used for fruit production. Now it forms part of a mixture of small rural landscape living holdings where some, like ours, are devoted to small-scale agricultural and horticultural pursuits.

The combined area under vines presently totals about 1.5 ha and most of the vines are now over 14 years of age. The vineyard has a number of red and white varieties: Zinfandel (also known as Primitivo), Durif (also known as Petit Syrah), Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot, Tempranillo, Semillon and Orange Muscat. Some of these are only small areas and are primarily for blending purposes. For example, the Durif provides an important tannic structure to Zinfandel and Petit Verdot is a more regionally suited variety for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon. Similarly, we will use fruit from a small block of Graciano for blending with the Tempranillo.

The vineyard is drip irrigated under a monitored programme based on climatic data, soil analyses and measured soil moisture levels. This regime was developed in conjunction with officers of the Swan Catchment Council under the Waterwise scheme.

Total grape production is currently about 8 tonnes.

We prune and harvest by hand and all canopy management is also done by hand. We undertake both shoot and fruit thinning in order to improve fruit quality.

Our Vineyard Locations

The Home Block

Planted in 1999, this block comprises half an acre planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz as well as a small number of Durif more recently planted. The Durif is registered as a source block for the WA Vine Improvement Association.

Wines made from the Cabernet and Shiraz fruit in this early planting have exhibited well and the 2002 Cabernet took out the trophy for the best single red variety exhibited in the 2005 Perth Hills Wine Show. The wines have consistently won medals in regional showings. Wines made from selected grapes in this block in 2007 were vinified as a reserve, and released mid 2009. Judges awarded the 2007 blend a gold medal.

The Two Acre

In 2000 a two acre plot was made up of Shiraz, Cabernet and Merlot, and in 2004 a small plot of Zinfandel (or Primitivo) was added. The Zinfandel has proven an outstanding success, though a somewhat difficult vine to manage because of its habit of uneven ripening and susceptibility to bunch rot. Subsequently, the numbers of Zinfandel vines have been grafted to some of the Cabernet and Merlot.

The Merlot has been used principally as part of a Bordeaux blend with Cabernet Sauvignon. We have reduced the numbers of Merlot vines by grafting to Petit Verdot which is believed to be better suited to the warmer climate on the Hills and which also shows promise as a varietal in its own right. Since 2010 the Cabernet blends have comprised both Merlot and Petit Verdot.

In 2010 we grafted 300 vines – some Cabernet and a smaller number of Shiraz – to Tempranillo which is used for our Rosé.

The Semillon

The half acre of Semillon was planted in 2001. The wines from these vines have performed well in showing and some of the wine from this block is also blended with Chardonnay to produce our Lion Mill Classic White.

Minor Plantings

The 250 or so vines planted to variety Durif should produce intensely coloured red wines with high tannin levels and, thus, are well suited for cellaring. The fruit, commonly referred to in the US as Petit Syrah, can also be blended with varieties like Zinfandel or used in the production of quality fortified wine.

The juice of the Orange Muscat grape has a subtle aroma that gave rise to the French synonym Muscat Fleur d’Orange. It produces high quality white wines though the small quantity we plan to produce will be used for blending with other white varieties.