Wilimee, Macedon Ranges Ben Ranken

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  • Wilimee, Macedon Ranges

    Wilimee is one of the oldest vineyards in the Macedon Ranges, originally planted in the early 1980s to pinot noir and chardonnay. A cool site at around 600 metres, sparkling wine production was a cornerstone for over two decades, before hard times stopped operations. In 2013, Ben Ranken and Sally Richardson bought the ramshackle vineyard and set about resurrecting it through regenerative agricultural practices. While the Wilimee brand has expanded, Ranken still cultivates much of the site to sell grapes to some of the region’s most respected makers, including Matt Harrop and Joshua Cooper.

  • Thousand Candles, Yarra Valley

    The Yarra Valley’s Thousand Candles – which was launched to much fanfare in the 2011 vintage – has settled into a long stride, with the benefits of a decade under the biological farming methods of Stuart Proud returning big dividends. The business is built on making their own wines as much as it is selling ultra-premium fruit to renowned local makers, including Levantine Hill, Coldstream Hills and Santolin. While the wine on launch was firmly pitched at the top end of the market, the focus for Proud, who both grows – alongside vineyard manager David Ammerlaan – and now makes, is to reflect fruit and vines in an unadorned, hype-free way, a reflection of place and the season.

  • The Wine Farm, Gippsland

    It’s all in the name really. The Wine Farm in Koonwarra, South Gippsland, is a vineyard-centric operation, where Neil and Anna Hawkins lovingly tend their 3 hectares of vines according to Demeter biodynamic methods (in conversion). Making varietal wines from pinot noir, shiraz, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot gris and gewürztraminer, as well as a rosé and pét-nat, the style is lithe and mineral forward, with a mission to reflect the land and how it’s farmed in the glass – a feature that is becoming ever clearer as the years pass.

  • Tellurian, Heathcote

    Ian Hopkins was drawn to Heathcote by a love for the style of shiraz that was being wrought there from the ancient Cambrian soils. A piece of red dirt on the Mount Camel Range was acquired, and the first vines – shiraz, of course – for his own venture were planted in 2002. That vineyard has now expanded to around 30 hectares, with drought-tolerant varieties like nero d’avola, fiano and carignan, and Rhône stars like grenache and mourvèdre, joining the roster, with some planted at high density and others as bush vines. Tobias Ansted holds both the winemaking and viticulture reins, with the farming certified organic but forever being pushed to exceed those standards.

  • Sorrenberg, Beechworth

    Barry and Jan Morey’s Sorrenberg, in an elevated cool site in Beechworth, is somewhat of a Victorian legend, a family enterprise with a low-key attitude that has steadily seen their wines attain cult-like status, rubbing shoulders with some of their more ostensibly glamorous neighbours. It may be the quality of the wines that has built their reputation – one of the region’s finest chardonnays, arguably Australia’s best gamay, an equally esteemed sauvignon blanc and semillon blend, and an exemplary cabernet blend – but behind the label, the impeccable biodynamic farming and focus on addressing local and global environmental issues deserves just as much attention.

  • Quealy, Mornington Peninsula

    Before selling to a major player, Kathleen Quealy and Kevin McCarthy made their mark at T’Gallant in the 1990s, and in the process generated a flurry of interest around pinot grigio/gris that has not abated. With a move to one of the Mornington Peninsula’s oldest Vineyards in Balnarring, the pair have continued with their exploration of that grape, along with the Peninsula standards of pinot noir and chardonnay, as well as delving into some key white grapes of north-eastern Italy. Today, the vineyard is managed by Lucas Blanck under organic certification to produce fruit for the overwhelmingly lo-fi Quealy wines.

  • Place of Changing Winds, Macedon Ranges

    Robert Walters is no stranger to great wine, being an importer and distributor of some of the most revered wines of the world. Walters’ passion for Burgundy runs particularly deep, with an exhaustive search for an ideal home site for pinot noir and chardonnay leading him to the Macedon ranges in 2012. There he planted a genuinely unique vineyard for this country, with some of the highest density plantings anywhere in the world. Organically certified and requiring exhaustive manual work – coordinated by manager Remi Jacquemain – the site is testing the possibilities of perfection while paying respect to the land and its bushland surrounds.

  • Oakridge – Estate, Yarra Valley

    While Oakridge has three Yarra Valley sites under its management, their Estate Vineyard, surrounding their winery and celebrated restaurant, is the centre of the operation. Planted in 1996, the vineyard consists of pinot noir, chardonnay, shiraz, cabernet, merlot and semillon across 9.8 hectares of vines. Viticulturist Steven Faulkner has been managing the Oakridge farming for the last two years, while he also runs a viticulture consultancy business that operates across three states.