Our vineyard is located in Two Hills road about 8 km from the centre of the tiny hamlet of Glenburn, Victoria, about an hour and a half’s drive northeast of Melbourne.
Our 50 acres block (about 21 ha) is typical for the area. It belonged to Two Hills Station, a dairy and cattle property, close to the outskirts of the Murrindindi and Toolangi forests.
Two Hills Vineyard in 2008, Sauvignon Blanc, and to the left Chardonnay
In 1996 we planted the first vines, 5 acres, half Sauvignon Blanc, half Cabernet. We added another 3 1/2 acres of Merlot in 1997.
In 2001 I ripped the Cabernet out because the grapes would not fully ripen. It was a tedious work, ripping one by one with a chain around the vine and lifting it with the hydraulic of my old Fiat tractor. We replanted with Pinot Noir. In 2008 we planted an additonal 1/2 acre of Chardonnay.
The Chardonnay block
Young Chardonnay vine
The bush fires of February 9th, 2009 almost wiped us out. We were narrowly saved by some firecrew from New South Wales and our local fire fighters. The tweo pictures below were taken by Michael, my brother-in-law after the fires during the “re-fencing” efforts.
Michael at work
The second hill of our property is grazing land. It borders on a creek called Katy’s Creek which usually does not dry out even in summer. We have two dams, one of which is used for irrigation in the dry months January and February.
Our dam for vineyard irrigation
Our shed with new tractor and old pick-up truck
Vintage time, vineyard under nets
Merlot grapes 2010
2010 was our worst vintage so far. We are always hoping for the best but with fruit prices so low, we cannot recuperate costs. Moreover, it’s a buyers market and if the grapes have the slightest fault, they walk out on you. Fortunately, we still have some Merlot wine to sell (2006 and 2008 vintage).
From 2010 onwards we will mothball our vineyard for a while. We hope thereby to ride out the storm. Since we do not depend on any income from farming, we might be able to preserve our resource to start anew when times and circumstances are more conducive to small-scale grape growing and wine making.