Imagine tending vines on your knees because they're planted so close together squeezing between them is nigh on impossible. Imagine a lush wonderland where only 3.1 out of 33 hectares are planted with vines and the rest is left to flourish as untouched farm and native bush land. Imagine each hectare having between 12,000 and 33,000 vines planted. In case you didn't know, the ratio for conventional viticulture ratio is 1,500-3,000 per hectare so this is high density to the max. Imagine a place where every vine is carefully cultivated, 'visited' ten times a year and tended only by hand.
This is Warekilla land. Place of Changing Winds.
This no expense spared, labour of love is the brainchild of importer/distributor and vigneron Rob Walters and project manager Remi Jacquemain. Run organically since inception, nurtured by world-leading viticulture expertise, holistically farmed and composted to encourage soil health rather than vine growth, hand-tended at an extreme level. There is no room for compromise with this project. This is a veritable wonderland for growing perfect grapes. The vineyard itself is located at 500 metres above sea level in Macedon Ranges on a marginal site set amongst undulating, rocky hillocks and slopes – a cold place where winemaking is truly on the edge.
The common adage that ‘wines are made in the vineyard’ is taken to the next level here. In Walters words “we do not have a ‘winemaker’ in the sense that we use this term in Australia. We have calculated that our team spends over 90% of their time in the vines – we grow wine much more than we make it”. Throughout his wine-life, Walters has always been vocal about great wine being a product of site and that low-intervention but considered winemaking application was the ultimate veil for producing profound wine, and, importantly a portal to the place growing the stuff. Profound indeed. We have pinot noir done two ways with Tradition and Between Two Mountains, plus an incredibly pure, briny and delicious chardonnay. All the boxes are ticked, complete with new ones drawn. Place of Changing Winds is the seminal vineyard project in Australia’s modern history.