At the cellar door we get a lot of questions along the lines of ‘How did you end up making wine in Orange?’ Of course, there was a passion for wine which developed and intensified over time. The drive for a vineyard was there. But why Orange?
We just thought the Orange Region had fantastic potential. Most of Australia’s wine growing regions are relatively warm and consequently the wines they produce are quite high in alcohol and ‘big’. These wines don’t match food that well – they tend to overwhelm, rather than complement, all but the richest dishes. And, somewhat surprisingly, they don’t age that well, all that alcohol becoming too evident once the primary fruit starts to subside.
Orange looked like a different proposition altogether. To start with, the region was defined by altitude. Only local vineyards at elevations of 600 metres above sea level or higher could be included in the Orange Wine Region. And in the foothills of Mount Canobolas there were plenty of high- altitude sites available, some at over 1000 metres above sea level.
Of course, the higher you go, the cooler it gets and that makes all the difference. Grapes that grown in cooler climates ripen more slowly, finishing the ripening process in autumn, rather than the heat of summer. The result is bell clear varietal expression, moderate sugar levels and retention of the natural acidity in the grapes, leading to tasty, crisper, more elegant table wines that really complement food.
The early wines from Orange provided a glimpse of a glorious future and we wanted to be part of that. And each step we take the more excited we get.