The existing vineyards were orchards for over 100 years. The soils are all red-brown clay loam soils to 0.5 – 0.75m with underlying red clay. The slope of the land tends to be steep with good water and air drainage. Elevation ranges from 440 metres down to 335 metres. With the vineyards draped over steep terrain, there are a number of aspects with varying mesoclimates to support the different varieties of grapes grown here. Watering is minimal and when required is applied by drip irrigation. VSP (vertical positioning) trellising is used, with double foliage wires to assist in exposing the fruit to sunlight. The vines yield 6-8 t/Ha in a normal season.
3.21 Ha of Pinot Noir, clone MV6, was planted in 1998. A parcel of this fruit has been processed at Penfolds Magill Estate for the Cellar Reserve Pinot Noir since the first vintage in 1999. In 2014 two additional clones – 114 and 115 were planted on a steep North East sloping part of the new Amphitheatre Vineyard. Unfortunately only a couple of months afterwards the vineyard was destroyed by the Sampson’s Flat bushfire and redone again in 2015.
The Cabernet Sauvignon was irrigated for the first two vintages only. A total of 4.22 Ha was planted in 1997. The clone is SA125. Due to the cool night time temperatures in the high valley section of this vineyard, we removed a section of vines in 2011 and planted Gruner Veltliner which is ideally suited to high diurnal temperature variations as per its native home in Austria.
4.14 Ha of D3V14 Merlot was planted in 1998. Our Merlot produces richly flavoured Merlot that combines beautifully with Mediterranean food – particularly spiced tomato based foods. In late 2010 we grafted a section of the Bottom Merlot to Shiraz, and an experimental section of Tempranillo. We completed grafting a larger section to Tempranillo in late 2011 after the trial showed the grafting worked well, and the grape quality was excellent as well.
In the lower section of the Retreat Valley Road vineyard where the night time temperature plummets, we chose to graft Tempranillo. Tempranillo in Spain grows with very hot days and cool nights as well. Tempranillo tends to lose acid if the nights are warmer so this section of vineyard works perfectly with Tempranillo.
Grafted onto the higher, warmer section of the Bottom Merlot block in late 2010, the first vintage of Shiraz in 2012 was outstanding. The clone used is R6WV28. In 2013 the new Amphitheatre Vineyard was planted with 0.75 Hectares of R6WV28 on their own roots. The site is extremely steep and faces North West in a fabulous natural amphitheatre.
After searching for a white wine to go with our Mt Bera portfolio, we fell in love with Gruner Veltliner after trying several that Larry and Marc from Hahndorf Hill had shown at an early Adelaide Hills meeting to promote the growing of Gruner in our region. The Adelaide Hills is ideally suited to Gruner and we are fortunate to have a huge diurnal temperature variation – similar to Gruner’s original home in Austria. The high valley where we have planted it commonly has a 20 degree variation from maximum daytime to minimum night time temperature. We now have 1 Hectare of Gruner Veltliner in the coolest sections of Max’s vineyard near the house. 3 clones that were brought in from Austria by Larry Jacobs and Marc Dobson from Hahndorf Hill Winery were planted and grafted. We are pleased to be part of the Adelaide Hills Gruner Growers Group – making the Adelaide Hills the new home for Gruner Veltliner.
The most popular red grape grown in Austria. Zweigelt was developed in 1922 by Dr Fritz Zweigelt at the Teaching and Research Centre for Viticulture in Klosterneuberg. Austria. It is a cross between Blaufrankisch and St Laurent. After a discussion with a German friend in 2009 who raved about Zweigelt it was a natural choice to go with the other Austrian varietals, and one we believe will work well at Mt Bera. A medium bodied red with loads of flavour. Obtaining planting material was not an easy process, and finally we planted 1/3 of a hectare after the Sampsons Flat bushfire in 2015.
The second most popular red grape grown in Austria. This is a variety that has been growing in the Adelaide Hills at Hahndorf Hill for 20 years but nowhere else that I am aware of. Again, planting material was not easy and after several years getting a small amount of material propagated we finally planted 0.44 of a hectare in 2015 after redoing all the infrastructure destroyed by the Sampsons Flat bushfire.