All our wines are made solely from grapes grown at Tarrahill – they are ‘estate’ wines. We currently make Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Our winemaking philosophy is simple: grow the best fruit in a healthy vineyard, pick the grapes at their best and minimise intervention in the winemaking process. The objective is to let the quality of the grapes be displayed in the wine.
The newsletter sent to those on our mailing list will contain details about the wines to be released, including information on the season, how the wines were made and commentary on them.
The vineyard is now approximately 16 acres. Our vineyard on the northern slope (5 acres) was destroyed in the 2009 bushfires. The vineyard is on the south slope and part of it is planted east-west. Despite these apparent contraventions of accepted norms for vineyards, it has an excellent microclimate and produces very high quality grapes almost regardless of the season.
The oldest vines are Shiraz and Cabernet (approximately 2 acres each) planted in 1990. The Shiraz in particular has a reputation for excellence, having been included in several reserve wines. To date the very good price for the Shiraz grapes has meant it has been sold to others to help pay vineyard expenses – this may change!
We also have Pinot Noir (MV6) and Chardonnay (French Mendoza clone). Just last year we planted about 2 acres of several clones of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot.
It will be exciting to see which varieties and clones work best on our site and what single varietal wines and blends can be made when these vines produce.
Jonathan has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Winescience from Charles Sturt University.
Once a lawyer, he bought Tarrahill in 1988 : just a large grass paddock: and planted a vineyard of 5 acres to supply grapes to his father-in-law, Ian Hanson, and then a further 20 acres to supply grapes to others in the Yarra Valley. So, for over 20 years, Jonathan has been in the wine industry but only recently has he made winemaking a full time activity.
Someone has to be in charge! Especially when it’s the quality of the grapes which is fundamental to the wines.
Doctor Andy now cares more about plants than the sick and is a strong advocate of permaculture and biodynamics. Under her supervision the vineyard is becoming healthier, more disease resistant and has better soils. We use no insecticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers and are working towards not having to use fungicides.
The Essential Ingredient
Geof has worked for no pay, except for a good feed, on most weekends for over 20 years at Tarrahill, including assisting at all harvests at Tarrahill and at Ian Hanson’s. Anyone who has worked alone knows the enormous difference it makes to have another person there to help, talk and to achieve. Without Geof’s help Tarrahill wouldn’t be.
Geof also did the CSU winescience course with Jonathan: neither would have made it to gain a degree if the two of them hadn’t done it together. Geof is wildly enthusiastic about wine, but just try asking him about Geology!