[Please click on the above image to download an A4 pdf]
The property was purchased in 1985 by Andrew & Vivienne McCutcheon. In 1991 they had discussions with Brian Stonier (whose vineyards had been established since 1978) who expounded on trellis systems, clones and other viticultural mysteries; Stonier suggested that they seek the advice of viticultural consultant Ian Macrae.
Macrae reported that the property was eminently suitable for grape growing, and advised that they get soil tests, and consider planting some 15 acres. So in 1992 they commenced work on dams, water storage, irrigation systems, vineyard layout and earth works, finally completing initial planting in the spring of 1992.
1995 saw the first crop and the start of negotiations with local wineries to buy the fruit. Both Dromana Estate and Stonier were interested, and bought fruit for a number of years. Small amounts of wine were also made by Vivienne and Andrew under the Peninsula Ridge label until 1999 when Ten Minutes By Tractor was formed. The original Ten Minutes By Tractor cellar door was on the McCutcheon Vineyard until the new restaurant and cellar door opened just around the corner in 2006.
In 2006 Ten Minutes By Tractor owner Martin Spedding bought the McCutcheon Vineyard and in 2012 modifications and replantings of parts of the vineyard were made to improve the clonal stock of both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
See here for the history of Ten Minutes By Tractor.
|Grape Variety||Pinot Noir||Chardonnay||Total|
|Clone||MV6, G5V15, 777, 667||P58, 95, 96|
The McCutcheon Vineyard is on the due east facing slope of a valley running from the ridge along Roberts Road at an elevation of 200m in the west to Rocky Creek at the bottom of the valley at an elevation of 174m in the east. Rocky Creek, on the eastern boundary, runs through almost 0.5 hectare of wetland, a lily pond and an irrigation dam; it runs into Main Creek at Barkers Road and Main Creek eventually flows into Bass Strait at Bushranger Bay.
McCutcheon is our second highest vineyard – at 200m not quite as high as Judd (206m) nor as low as Wallis (142m) or Coolart (72m) – and at 5° not quite as steep as Judd (6°) or as level as Wallis (4°) or Coolart (1°).
In total a 26m vertical fall over a horizontal distance of 305m, however, on average, the western one third is level and almost all the fall is in the eastern two thirds of the property, and in this two thirds the slope is 1 in 12 or about 5°.
Due east. The easterly fall of this vineyard offers perfect gentle warming of the soil from sunrise through to the late afternoon. During the day the vines receive very good light without the intense heat which keeps the fruit cooler during the growing and ripening season. This leads to more elegant flavours with greater structure and finer tannins than the Judd and Wallis vineyards in most years.
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. In addition, water drains to the east, along the vine rows, with land contours and slowly seeps into the lower zone creating higher soil moisture content with associated higher vigour and higher yields.
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.
Exposed to easterly and westerly winds, protected from south west winds. The lower zone is exposed to northerly winds, and therefore can experience some drying out and evaporation during summer, though as at the Judd vineyard the lower soils are slightly more fertile than those higher in the vineyard because of water drainage down the slope (although the elevation here relative to the lower lakes and seasonal creek keep the vines out of the water table and drier).
|Grape Variety||Pinot Noir|
|Slope||1:48 / ~1°|
|Trellis||Scott-Henry / VSP|
|Row/vine spacing (m)||2.5 x 1.5|
|Vine density (/ha)||2,667|
This block in the north west corner of the property is all MV6 Pinot Noir planted on its own roots in 1992; it is the source of fruit for our single vineyard McCutcheon Vineyard Pinot Noir, produced in 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2000.
Draped across the ridge falling 90% east, 10% west with a fall of less than 4 meters from highest point to lowest point along the vine rows. Its highest point is 201m and lowest 196m; 90% of this block has less than a 2m fall.
Soils are generally thinner on this block with high organic matter (4-5% being regarded as excellent). The soil profile is very consistent throughout this small vineyard area and the vine roots penetrate below 2 meters, well into the deep clay (from soil pit investigations) with good access to sub-soil moisture.
A spring is found at the south eastern corner of the block close to the windmill which has little to no impact on vine performance.
|Grape Variety||Pinot Noir||Pinot Noir||Pinot Noir||Pinot Noir|
to MV6 09
to MV6 07
to MV6 06-07
|Slope||1:8 / ~7°||1:8 / ~7°||1:8 / ~7°||1:9 / ~6°|
|Row/vine spacing (m)||2.5 x 1.5||2.5 x 1.5||2.5 x 1.5||2.5 x 1.5|
|Vine density (/ha)||2,667||2,667||2,667||2,667|
At the north east corner of the property. Grapes from this block generally find their way into our Estate and 10X Pinot Noir.
Originally the Long Block which covered the southern half of the property was planted to three clones of Chardonnay on its own rootstock in 1992; the P58 is the source of fruit for our single vineyard McCutcheon Vineyard Chardonnay, produced in 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004 and 2000.
In 2012 the block was split into east and west sections and renamed Lake Block South and Ridge Block South respectively. The poorer performing Chardonnay clones, I10V1 and I10V5, were replaced with 667 clone Pinot Noir and with 95 and 96 clone Chardonnay.
|Grape Variety||Pinot Noir||Chardonnay|
|Planted||Originally I10V1 & I10V5 Chardonnay planted 92, replanted to 667 12||1992|
|Slope||1:22 / ~2.5°||1:33 / ~2°|
|Row/vine spacing (m)||2.5 x 1.5||2.5 x 1.5|
|Vine density (/ha)||2,667||2,667|
The highest point of this block is 198m, the lowest 192m and, like the adjacent Ridge Block North, is relatively flat, a fall of only 6m therefore a slope of 1 in 22 or 2.5°.
As with the Ridge Block North, soils are generally thinner here.
|Planted||Originally I10V1 & I10V5 Chardonnay planted 92, replanted to 96 2012||Originally I10V1 & I10V5 Chardonnay planted 92, replanted to 95 2012||1992|
|Slope||1:11 / ~5°||1:11 / ~5°||1:9 / ~6°|
|Row/vine spacing (m)||2.5 x 1.5||2.5 x 1.5||2.5 x 1.5|
|Vine density (/ha)||2,667||2,667||2,667|
The highest point of this block is 193m, the lowest 175m, a fall of 18m therefore a slope of 1 in 9 or 6°.