Inspired by early Margaret River Zinfandel pioneer David Hohnen Jamie & Lara chose the variety Zinfandel because of its’ luscious berry fruit characters. Zinfandel is widely planted in California and has been traced back to Puglia in Italy where it is known as Primitivo.
Soil sampling on the property revealed a patch of deep red gravelly loam with a north facing aspect, approximately an acre in size, an ideal site for grapes.
With three small boys and new plantings of avocados and olives to look after, the vineyard establishment was somehow achieved in a happy blur. Jamie and Lara’s three boys spent many days sleeping in their prams, or playing in the dirt while the vineyard was planted and tended. Being unirrigated, and organic from the start, meant many replants. The boys were invaluable helping as they got older. Now young men they are expert grape pickers, pruners and helpers in every aspect of the farm.
In 2011, keeping with the Italian theme, Lara & Jamie planted a white grape variety called Vermentino. It is grown in Sardinia, Italy and in France is known as Rolle. A small amount is planted in Australia. The wine is pale in colour, medium bodied and the palate is full of sumptious zesty lemon, stone fruit, pear and earthy minerality. It is an excellent food wine.
Like the Zinfandel the Vermentino was dry grown from the start. The vines have to search deep for water, encouraging strong, deep roots. Many cuttings don’t survive the dry summer and replants take place in Spring.
Lara studied winemaking at the Margaret River Education Campus and oversees the winemaking process. Jamie manages the vineyards.
In 2018 youngest son, Dan, planted some Malbec vines which should produce their first harvest in 2020.
Fruit is hand picked in early March. The Zinfandel is wild fermented in open vats. The Vermentino is whole bunch pressed and wild fermented in barrel. Grapes are picked when the moon is waxing, when sugar levels are at their best. The Zinfandel must is basket pressed and placed in a combination of new and old French oak barrels. The wine goes through a malolactic fermentation in barrel and is aged for 12 months. It is racked several times, minimal sulphur added and bottled with a screw cap closure. Some preservative free (sulphur) free wines were produced in 2015.