Our vineyard was established in 1990. Having been a farming family for many years, we investigated alternative options to diversify our income and to protect us against drought and market fluctuations.
Grapes had been planted in the region, and the cool slopes of Mount Canobolas showed great potential for this new opportunity. The idea of growing grapes with a view to eventually value adding and producing wine was an idyllic dream.
The first vines to be planted were cabernet sauvignon, merlot and chardonnay. With time comes experience, and we have since removed the cabernet sauvignon as our vineyard is too cold to ripen this variety. Pinot noir was also planted.
Initially the grapes were sold to other winemakers, Our plan was to slowly mature the vineyard before we dipped our toe into winemaking.
After a decade of tending the vineyard we sought the winemaking expertise of Canberra winemaker Richard Parker to help us produce a small parcel of our own wine. It was a slow and steady glimpse into the potential of your high elevation vineyard.
Over time we continued to make small volumes of wine and labeled them under our ‘Bantry Grove’ name from 2004 through to 2012.
In 2013 young gun winemaker Will Rickard-Bell took over the winemaking. Will brought a new energy to the brand, making our pinot noir and chardonnay. Will spent a great deal of time in the vineyard, working with us to ensure the wines reflected the site. With this change in winemaking, we moved our branding to Slow Wine Co to better reflect our wine growing.
Our vineyard is located 50km south east of the Orange township, on the outskirts of the Orange Wine Region GI (Geographic Indicator), at an elevation of 960m.
The 14 hectare vineyard is one of the highest in the region and has an easterly aspect, making it one of the region’s coolest. We have 2050 vines per hectare with the rows 2.8m wide and the vines 1.75m apart.
The vines sit within volcanic Andesite and clay soils which have an age of approximately 450 million years.
Our vines are cane pruned wth vertical shoot positioning (VSP), apart from our merlot which we spur prune. We take time with our pruning. This is all done by hand, as is our harvesting. It is labour intensive, but by taking our time and working with each individual vine, the quality is maintained.
We are herbicide free and use minimal fungicides, with the idea of maintaining a sustainable, natural environment with good soil health.
Our yields are restricted to allow the fruit to fully ripen over the course of the long, cool season. 2kg to 2.5kg of grapes per vine for our pinot noir and up to 3.5kg for our other varieties, totally around 5 to 5.8 tonnes per hectare is a sustainable yield for our land. We have irrigation, but only use it sparingly.
Wine grape clones are best described by renowned Wine Journalist, Jancis Robinson as “a population of vines derived vegetatively from a single (mother) vine; initially genetically identical”. Selecting the right clone for your vineyard site is important as the clone dictates various grape characteristics such a berry size, growth habit and vigour. These have a direct correlation to the quality of the wine.
Pinot Noir: MV6 and 777, with MV6 mainly grown for sparkling wines and 777 used for our pinot noir table wine.
Chardonnay: 10V1 in Block A (primarily used in the Reserve Chardonnay) and 10V5.
Pinor Gris: D1V7
Sauvignon Blanc: F4V6
Riesling: McWilliams Clone