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McCutcheon Vineyard

QUICK FACTS
  • First planted in 1992 (26 years old in 2018).
  • McCutcheon is our second highest vineyard – 200m at its highest point with an average slope of 5°.
  • Because of the easterly slope 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.
  • MV6 from the Ridge Block North provides the fruit for the McCutcheon Vineyard Pinot Noir (this is our highest Pinot Noir block).
  • P58 from the Ridge Block South provides the fruit for the McCutcheon Vineyard Chardonnay (this is our highest Chardonnay block).
  • On average, Pinot Noir ripens latest here, 5 days after Judd, 7 days after Wallis and 26 days after Coolart Road.
  • Chardonnay ripens here 5 days after Wallis and 5 days before Judd.
HISTORY

Prior to Karen and Martin’s acquisition of the property in 2006 it was purchased in 1985 by Andrew & Vivienne McCutcheon.

In 1991 the McCutcheon’s sought advice from many of the early Mornington Peninsula wine pioneers and viticultural consultant Ian Macrae.

Macrae advised that the property was eminently suitable for grape growing, and advised that they get soil tests, and consider planting some 15 acres. In 1992 they commenced work on dams, water storage, irrigation systems, vineyard layout and earth works, completing initial planting in the spring of 1992.

1995 saw the first crop and the first wines being produced under Dromana and Stonier labels. 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.

MCCUTCHEON VINEYARD
MCCUTCHEON VINEYARD

Overview

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.

Grape Variety

Pinot Noir

Chardonnay

Total

Clone

MV6, G5V15, 777, 667

P58, 95, 96

Planted

1992-2012

1992-2012

Area (ha)

3.28

2.14

5.42

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SLOPE & ELEVATION

 

At its highest McCutcheon is our second highest vineyard – at 200m not quite as high as Judd (206m) nor as low as Spedding (187m), Wallis (142m) or Coolart (72m) – and at 5° is the same as Spedding, 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°.

SLOPE ORIENTATION

 

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.

ROW ORIENTATION

 

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.

WIND

 

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).

TEMPERATURE

 

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…

  • Judd Pinot Noir is the earlier ripening 115 clone; Coolart Road, McCutcheon and Wallis are the later ripening MV6.
  • Judd and Coolart Road Pinot Noir is on hybrid rootstock; McCutcheon and Wallis are on their own; the rootstocks on Judd and Coolart Road contribute to a short vegetative cycle.
  • Judd faces due west, McCutcheon due east; Coolart Road and Wallis are flatter with a slight northerly aspect.
  • Wallis is close to Bass Strait and exposed to cooler breezes from there.

19 Year Average Pinot Noir Harvest Dates…

  • Coolart Road (A Block MV6, altitude 69m)   7 March (10 year average)
  • Wallis (Middle Block MV6, altitude 128m)   27 March
  • Judd (Creek Block 115, altitude 163m)   28 March
  • McCutcheon (Ridge Block MV6, altitude 201m)   2 April

Harvest differences (days)…

Coolart

Wallis

Judd

McCutcheon

Coolart 7 March

-

-19

-21

-26

Wallis 27 March

+19

-

-2

-7

Judd 28 March

+21

+2

-

-5

McCutcheon 2 April

+26

+7

+5

-

SOIL

 

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.

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Vineyard Blocks

RIDGE BLOCK NORTH

Grape Variety

Pinot Noir

Clone

MV6

Planted

1992

Bearing

Yes

Area (ha)

0.86

Elevation (m)

196-201

Slope

1:48 / ~1°

Slope Orientation

East

Row Orientation

East-West

Rootstock

Own roots

Trellis

VSP

Row/vine spacing (m)

2.5 x 1.5

Vine Density (/ha)

2,667

Notes

 

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 Pinot Noir, produced in 2015, 2013, 2012, 2011, 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.

LAKE BLOCK NORTH

Grape Variety

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Clone

G5V15

MV6

MV6

777

Planted

1994

Originally

Originally

Originally

D2V5 planted

D2V5 planted

D2V5 planted

94, grafted

94, grafted

94, grafted

to MV6 09

to MV6 07

to MV6 06-07

Bearing

Yes

2012

2012

2012

Area (ha)

0.40

0.07

0.52

0.50

Elevation (m)

175-191

176-192

176-190

177-191

Slope

1:8 / ~7°

1:8 / ~7°

1:8 / ~7°

1:9 / ~6°

Slope orientation

East

East

East

East

Row orientation

East-west

East-west

East-west

East-west

Rootstock

Own

D2V5

D2V5

D2V5

Trellis

VSP

VSP

VSP

VSP

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

Notes

At the north east corner of the property. Grapes from this block generally find their way into our Estate and 10X Pinot Noir.

LONG BLOCK

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 2015, 2013, 2012, 2011, 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.

RIDGE BLOCK SOUTH

Grape Variety

Pinot Noir

Chardonnay

Clone

667

P58

Planted

Originally I10V1 & I10V5 Chardonnay planted 1992, replanted to 667 2012

1992

Bearing

2016

Yes

Area (ha)

0.94

0.58

Elevation (m)

192-198

192-198

Slope

1:22 / ~2.5°

1:33 / ~2

Slope orientation

East

East

Row orientation

East-west

East-west

Rootstock

101-14

Own roots

Trellis

VSP

VSP

Row/vine spacing (m)

2.5 x 1.5

2.5 x 1.5

Vine density (/ha)

2,667

2,667

Notes

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.

Lake Block South

Grape Variety

Chardonnay

Chardonnay

Chardonnay

Clone

96

95

P58

Planted

Originally I10V1 & I10V5 Chardonnay planted 1992, replanted to 96 2012

Originally I10V1 & I10V5 Chardonnay planted 1992, replanted to 95 2012

1992

Bearing

2016

2016

Yes

Area (ha)

0.47

0.56

0.54

Elevation (m)

180-190

178-190

175-193

Slope

1:11 / ~5°

1:11 / ~5°

1:9 / ~6°

Slope orientation

East

East

East

Row orientation

East-west

East-west

East-west

Rootstock

101-14

101-14

Own Roots

Trellis

VSP

VSP

VSP

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

Notes

The highest point of this block is 193m, the lowest 175m, a fall of 18m therefore a slope of 1 in 9 or 6°.

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