The Vineyard Story… how it all began.
Semillon – the famed Hunter varietal.
Our humble vineyard began its life with the planting of Semillon in 1963. The block has lived with many names before we settled on the rather boring and unimaginative ‘SEM A’. The vineyard was originally planted as 13 acres, however in 2009 we have reduced it down to 5 acres keeping the best ‘old vines’ fruit for the future.
Learning by bitter experience, Semillon has a real thirst for water during periods of hot weather. Most of the original Semillon block was unirrigated so over the years has suffered terribly during the hot Hunter Valley summers. Not surprisingly the healthiest vines were found in the irrigated sections, so those make up part of the remaining acres, and we have added extra irrigation so all 5 acres receive vital water. The rows are planted following the natural hillside, which lends itself beautifully to a north/south orientation, which gets maximum sunlight exposure to the canopy.
Chardonnay – still Australia’s most abundantly planted vine.
In 1986 our 2 Chardonnay blocks — ‘CHD A’ at 1.46 acres and ‘CHD B’ at 3.41 acres — were planted. Once again they were planted following the contours of the land with the vines facing an east/west orientation. (We suspect that there may have been a few drinks consumed during the planting as the row spacing varies enormously!) The vineyard is now benefitting from the maturity of the vines by yielding low volumes of highly concentrated fruit which add depth and concentration to our wines.
Shiraz – Australia’s red!
The last, but certainly not least, varietal addition to the Molly Morgan vineyard is Shiraz. We have 3 blocks in the vineyard with the first planting in 1986 (‘SHZ A’ – 2.86 acres), 1992 (‘SHZ B’ – 1.2 acres) and finally the last (‘SHZ C’ 5 acres) planted in 1997. All these blocks have been contour planted with an east/west row orientation. The combination of the three vineyard blocks gives us the opportunity to discover just the right balance of fruit characteristics to make our Shiraz and Rosé wines pop.
Riesling – the unsung wallflower.
The vineyard also has a few rows of Riesling destined for a botrytis wine when the year permits. Keep your fingers crossed as we have high hopes!