Their Story: Dr Tony Aitkenhead and his wife Jenny – a viticulturist (and former school teacher), and also a sport’s enthusiast. Her parents used to own a small hobby farm back home. Her love of nature/agriculture combined with her husband’s love of Shiraz and the Heathcote region sparked their interest to acquire a vineyard as a hobby, which has turned into a producer of Premium Shiraz. Their daughter Alice – a medical doctor, helps out when she can and finds working in the vineyard very relaxing, she also completed some viticulture subjects during her Biomedicine degree at University.
The Vines: The vineyard is managed using sustainable viticulture practices based on organic principles. The Shiraz is all estate grown from low yielding vines that produce less than 1 ton to the acre of high quality fruit. The vines are low in vigour and are pruned to yield small quantities of intensely flavored fruit which is hand-picked. And yes, they do take their Shiraz/product very seriously!
The Shiraz: Their Shiraz has relatively loose bunches, with small thick-skinned berries and is marked by its spicy (black spice) black fruit flavours (plum, blackberry, cherry) and white pepper with smooth and silky tannins. The wines can also have a higher alcohol content due to longer ripening on the vine before picking. These fruit driven wines are usually made in an easy drinking style and are good everyday wines but are able to age for many years.
The Property: Vine plantings date back to the mid 1990s and have been developed with little irrigation, possibly due to the vines growing in deep rocky Cambrian soils that preserves moisture and encourages deep root penetration. Their vineyard is situated in the middle of the lightly wooded eucalyptus Argyle Forest. Acknowledged as one of Australia’s wine icons, the region is famous for producing premium Shiraz. The region is at elevations between 160 and 380 metres (520 and 1,250 ft). The climate and soils are strongly influenced by the Mt Camel range. For the most part, the soil under vine is Cambrian – red and deep with excellent water holding capacity. The region’s rainfall is evenly distributed between the seasons and the temperature range is defined as temperate.