[Please click on the above image to download an A4 pdf]
In 1988 on instructions from the original owner, the Gurry family, viticultural consultant Ian MacRae conducted a feasibility study on establishing a vineyard on the property. The report concluded…
“The property has approximately 10 hectares of land highly suitable for viticultural development…this site is capable of supporting economic crop levels of winegrapes of very high quality.”
As Splitters Ridge Estate, the first grapes, 3.2 hectares of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, were planted in 1990; subsequent plantings by the original owners included 1.2 hectares of Chardonnay in 1993 and, in 1994, 0.8 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc and 0.4 hectare of Pinot Noir.
The Judd family bought the property in 1996 and in 1999 became part of Ten Minutes By Tractor.
See here for the history of Ten Minutes By Tractor.
|Variety||Pinot Noir||Chardonnay||Sauvignon Blanc||Total|
|Clone||114, 115, 777, MV6||P58||F14V9, H5V10|
The Judd Vineyard is on the due west facing slope of a valley running between the ridges of Main Creek and Purves Roads at an elevation of 206m in the east to Splitters Creek at the bottom of the valley at an elevation of 159m in the west. The property extends up the opposite, east facing, slope where our olive grove is planted.
The Splitters Creek valley begins near Arthurs Seat Road and the Judd vineyard sits just over 3 kilometres south of there. Splitters Creek runs into Main Creek at Baldrys Road and Main Creek eventually flows into Bass Strait at Bushranger Bay, some 11 kilometres to the south.
Judd is our steepest vineyard; in total there is a 47m vertical fall over a horizontal distance of about 450m, therefore the average slope is about 1 in 10 or almost 6° (McCutcheon is about 5°, Wallis 4° and Coolart Road 1°). It is also our highest vineyard, reaching 206m at its highest point (McCutcheon is 200m, Wallis 142m and Coolart Road 72m). The highest point on the Mornington Peninsula, Arthurs Seat, has an altitude of 305m.
Due west. This vineyard sees slow morning warming as the sun rises over the ridge and experiences great summer and autumn afternoon and evening heat loads right up to the point of sunset and, for soil temperatures, into the evening. Partly due to this the Judd Vineyard is much more generous in the fruit flavour profiles of all the varieties planted which offers a unique point of difference from the elegance of the Wallis and delicate nature of the McCutcheon.
Except for a small parcel of Pinot Noir (the North-South Block), all the vine rows run down the slope, orientated east to west. This facilitates drainage down the slope, orientates the rows perpendicular to the strongest of the prevailing winds (north and south to south-west), reduces the impact of any intense heatwave bursts (the hottest afternoon sun from the west has less impact than on west facing rows, ie those running north-south), achieves the longest and most efficient row length and is safest for any tractor operations.
The soils here are the red ferrosols common to the Main Ridge sub-region.
The top soil, classed as a silty clay loam, runs to a depth of about 20-30cm over these red ferrosols. It suffers little from compaction and is generally well aerated, with excellent drainage and no water logging. The upper zone of the vineyard has thinner topsoil and dries out faster than the lower zone.
Water drains to the west, along the vine rows, with land contours and slowly seeps into the lower zone creating higher soil moisture content. Due to this long term water penetration the lower soils are slightly more fertile than those higher in the vineyard. This has resulted in the planting of all the Pinot Noir onto phylloxera resistant rootstocks which also add a de-vigouring effect; this has greatly assisted with yield control and vine balance which in turn has led to an improvement in flavour development.
These are very broad soil classifications and we are continuing to investigate the more specific details in each vineyard, in fact, each block.
Taking Pinot Noir harvest dates from our reference blocks as a proxy for temperature, Coolart Road is our warmest vineyard followed by Wallis then Judd and McCutcheon. This we would expect – Coolart Road is the lowest followed by Wallis then Judd and McCutcheon is the highest. And of course it is never that simple, there are specifics in each reference vineyard that effect the averages…
14 Year Average Pinot Noir Harvest Dates...
Harvest differences (days)...
|Coolart 13 March||-||-14||-14||-19|
|Wallis 31 March||+14||-||0||-5|
|Judd 31 March||+14||0||-||-5|
|McCutcheon 5 April||+19||+5||+5||-|
See here for more detail on climate.
Wind breaks along the northern and southern boundaries protect the vineyard from the strongest winds – the northerlies and south-south westerlies. Summer northerly’s can be strong here and can have a drying influence although fertile soils keep vine health at a desired level and winter southerly’s can make this a very cold vineyard to prune.
|Grape variety||Sauvignon Blanc||Sauvignon Blanc|
|Slope||1:8 / ~7°||1:7 / ~8°|
|Row/vine spacing (m)||3 x 2||3 x 2|
|Vine density (/ha)||1,667||1,667|
These blocks make up the south east quarter of the property near the top of the ridge and are home to our Sauvignon Blanc. They are our highest vineyards.
While Sauvignon Blanc tends to be highly vigorous, the leaner soils of this upper slope are the perfect site for slow ripening.
|Slope||1:9 / ~6°|
|Row/vine spacing (m)||3 x 2|
|Vine density (/ha)||1,667|
The north east quarter of the property planted with Chardonnay in 1994.
Exposure to afternoon and evening heat loads result in the Judd Chardonnay being more generous than McCutcheon and Wallis.
|Grape Variety||Pinot Noir|
||D2V5 planted 1996, regrafted to 777 2007|
|Bearing||First crop 2012|
|Slope||1:8 / ~7°|
|Row orientation||North north east|
|Row/vine spacing (m)||2.75 x 1.5|
|Vine density (/ha)||2,424|
Sited about half way along the southern boundary.
This block is orientated north north east/south south west with the rows running along the contours. It was planted this way simply to allow the most efficient use of the space below the small dam which already existed on the property.
|Grape Variety||Pinot Noir||Pinot Noir||Pinot Noir||Pinot Noir||Pinot Noir||Pinot Noir|
|Slope||1:13 / ~4°||1:13 / ~4°||1:13 / ~4°||1:13 / ~4°||1:13 / ~4°||1:13 / ~4°|
|3 x 2
||3 x 2
||3 x 2
|| 3 x 2
||3 x 2
||3 x 1.5
|Vine density (/ha)||1,667||1,667||1,667||1,667||1,667||2,222|
The lower half of the property running down to Splitters Creek and the dam.
The 115 and 114 from this block has produced a single vineyard wine in 2010, 2008 and 2007 (and in fact the 115 was the only wine used in the 2004 Ten Minutes By Tractor Pinot Noir).