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Spedding Vineyard

QUICK FACTS
  • First planted in 2016.
  • Spedding Vineyard is our third highest vineyard – 187m at its highest point – with a 5° slope on the western side and 6° on the eastern side of the valley.
  • In 2016 we planted 18,500 Pinot Noir vines covering just 1.48 ha at 1.1m x 0.75m vine spacing (12,120 vines/ha). As a comparison, McCutcheon Vineyard has the more traditional Australian row/vine spacing of 2.5m x 1.5m with a resultant density of 2,667 vines/ha; the new vineyard is 4.6 times more dense.
  • In 2017 we planted 10,400 vines covering just 1.72 ha at 2.2m x 0.75m vine spacing (6,060 vines/ha).
  • The new vineyard is on typical Main Ridge red, volcanic soils and has lovely gentle north easterly and north westerly slopes on either side of the Manton Creek valley.
  • Clones planted on this vineyard include MV6, Abel, Pommard and a “suitcase” clone on a combination of 3309 and 101-14 rootstock.

The Spedding Vineyard is on both sides of the Manton Creek valley with a maximum elevation of 187m on the western side and 173m on the eastern side, falling to 159m at the creek.

The Manton Creek valley starts just north of the vineyard near the junction of Mornington-Flinders and Tucks Roads. Manton Creek is joined by Cotton Tree Creek just before it flows into Westernport Bay midway between Shoreham and Flinders (Cotton Tree Creek begins near the Wallis Vineyard).

Overview

 

On the western side, Spedding has the same slope as McCutcheon – a vertical fall of 28m over a horizontal distance of 318m therefore the average slope is about 1 in 11 or about 5°; on the eastern side it is the same as Judd, our steepest vineyard – a vertical fall of 14m over a horizontal distance of 142m, so 1 in 10 or about 6° (Judd is 6°, McCutcheon 5°, Wallis 4° and Coolart Road 1°).  It is our third highest vineyard, reaching 187m at its highest point (Judd is 206m, McCutcheon 200m, Spedding 187m, Wallis 142m and Coolart Road 72m).

 

Variety

Variety

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Chardonnay

Chardonnay

Pinot Gris

Pinot Gris

Total

Total

Variety

Clone

Pinot Noir

“Suitcase”, Abel, Pommard, MV6

Chardonnay

Mendoza, 95

Pinot Gris

D1V7

Total

Variety

Planted

Pinot Noir

2000 (?) -2016

Chardonnay

2017

Pinot Gris

2000 (?)

Total

Variety

Area (ha)

Pinot Noir

2.64

Chardonnay

1.72

Pinot Gris

0.27

Total

4.63

Slope Orientation

 

On the western side the slope ranges from facing north east to due east and on the eastern side due west.

Row Orientation

 

All the vine rows, on both sides of the valley, run down the slope, orientated east to west.

Soil

 

The soils here are the red ferrosols common to the Main Ridge sub-region.

Why do High Density Planting?

Historically, vine density and row spacing was a function of available land, equipment and techniques of the time. Pre-phylloxera vineyards in Burgundy were planted using a mass layering technique that resulted in very high planting densities (30,000 vines per hectare or more). Vines were arranged in a random pattern with all work in the vineyards done by hand.

In the late 1800s phylloxera destroyed the ‘own roots’ vines in Burgundy and the vineyards were subsequently replanted on American rootstock and arranged in the trellised rows we see today. This replanting coincided with the use of the horse as a labour-saving practice so vines were replanted in rows in the ‘classic’ 1m x 1m spacing. The row width was determined by the width of a horse; machinery that followed later was adapted to suit.

In Australia, as in France, vineyard density has also been determined by available machinery. However, in Australia commercial vineyard tractors are typically based on farm or orchard models with an overall width of 1.5m to 2m; this has necessitated vineyard rows of between 2.5m to 3.5m for adequate machinery access and clearance.

Over the past decade, many cool climate wine growers in Australia have learnt that vines grown with closer spacing between plants and rows have greatly improved quality outcomes. However, the density limit remains dictated by the tractor’s minimum width.

Around the world, consumers of high quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay look to Burgundy as the benchmark region for the highest quality expression of the two varieties. This highlights the need for Australian producers to examine current practices and techniques and look for areas of potential quality improvement. Recently, commercial vine nurseries in Australia have begun importing new selections of highly regarded Burgundian Pinot Noir and Chardonnay clones that have been widely planted and credited for positive increase in wine quality and complexity.

In an ongoing effort to explore the influence of best viticulture practices on wine quality we have established this new High Density (HD) vineyard, made possible by importing some specialised European vineyard equipment able to work in 1m rows and allowing us to plant our vineyard at the same density used on the best slopes of the Cote d’Or.

Very early indications are that the new plant densities will have very positive impact on fruit quality which will help elevate the wine quality and structure to a higher level. Based on experience with other HD vineyards we expect to see…

  • smaller berries and bunches
  • better crop load balance
  • more cross shading of canopy, fruit and vineyard floor
  • humidity levels tend to be higher
  • cane, bunch and berry stem lignification are more developed.

These are all key attributes for quality wine production and help to counteract climatic challenges such as sunburnt fruit and vine stress from dry soil and low humidity.

Temperature

 

We obviously have no data for this vineyard because we use harvest date as a proxy for temperature. Logically it should be close to McCutcheon and Judd but with the high density plantings, different clones and so on we need to build a history. For the record, harvest dates for existing vineyards are recorded below.

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
  • Spedding – ???
  • McCutcheon (Ridge Block MV6, altitude 201m)   2 April

Harvest differences (days)…

Coolart

Coolart

Wallis

Wallis

Judd

Judd

Spedding

Spedding

McCutcheon

McCutcheon

Coolart 7 March

Coolart

-

Wallis

-19

Judd

-21

Spedding

?

McCutcheon

-26

Wallis 27 March

Coolart

+19

Wallis

-

Judd

-2

Spedding

?

McCutcheon

-7

Judd 28 March

Coolart

+21

Wallis

+2

Judd

-

Spedding

?

McCutcheon

-5

Spedding - ???

Coolart

?

Wallis

?

Judd

?

Spedding

-

McCutcheon

?

McCutcheon 2 April

Coolart

+26

Wallis

+7

Judd

+5

Spedding

?

McCutcheon

-

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Vineyard Blocks

High Density Pinot Noir
Grape variety

Grape variety

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Grape variety

Clone

Pinot Noir

Suitcase

Pinot Noir

Abel

Pinot Noir

Pommard

Pinot Noir

MV6

Grape variety

Planted

Pinot Noir

2016

Pinot Noir

2016

Pinot Noir

2016

Pinot Noir

2016

Grape variety

Bearing

Pinot Noir

2019

Pinot Noir

2019

Pinot Noir

2019

Pinot Noir

2019

Grape variety

Area (ha)

Pinot Noir

0.45

Pinot Noir

0.48

Pinot Noir

0.44

Pinot Noir

0.11

Grape variety

Elevation (m)

Pinot Noir

176-187

Pinot Noir

176-187

Pinot Noir

176-187

Pinot Noir

176-187

Grape variety

Slope

Pinot Noir

1:11 / ~5°

Pinot Noir

1:11 / ~5°

Pinot Noir

1:11 / ~5°

Pinot Noir

1:11 / ~5°

Grape variety

Slope orientation

Pinot Noir

North east

Pinot Noir

North east

Pinot Noir

North east

Pinot Noir

North east

Grape variety

Row orientation

Pinot Noir

East-West

Pinot Noir

East-West

Pinot Noir

East-West

Pinot Noir

East-West

Grape variety

Rootstock

Pinot Noir

101-14/3309

Pinot Noir

3309

Pinot Noir

101-14

Pinot Noir

Own

Grape variety

Trellis

Pinot Noir

VSP

Pinot Noir

VSP

Pinot Noir

VSP

Pinot Noir

VSP

Grape variety

Pruning

Pinot Noir

Cane

Pinot Noir

Cane

Pinot Noir

Cane

Pinot Noir

Cane

Grape variety

Row/vine spacing (m)

Pinot Noir

1.1 x 0.75

Pinot Noir

1.1 x 0.75

Pinot Noir

1.1 x 0.75

Pinot Noir

1.1 x 0.75

Grape variety

Vine density (/ha)

Pinot Noir

12,120

Pinot Noir

12,120

Pinot Noir

12,120

Pinot Noir

12,120

These blocks make up the north west quarter of the property near the top of the ridge.

Medium Density Chardonnay
Grape variety

Grape variety

Chardonnay

Chardonnay

Chardonnay

Chardonnay

Grape variety

Clone

Chardonnay

95

Chardonnay

Mendoza

Grape variety

Planted

Chardonnay

2017

Chardonnay

2017

Grape variety

Bearing

Chardonnay

2020

Chardonnay

2020

Grape variety

Area (ha)

Chardonnay

0.86

Chardonnay

0.86

Grape variety

Elevation (m)

Chardonnay

159-174

Chardonnay

159-174

Grape variety

Slope

Chardonnay

1:10 / ~6°

Chardonnay

1:10 / ~6°

Grape variety

Slope orientation

Chardonnay

West

Chardonnay

West

Grape variety

Row orientation

Chardonnay

East-west

Chardonnay

East-west

Grape variety

Rootstock

Chardonnay

101-14

Chardonnay

101-14

Grape variety

Trellis

Chardonnay

VSP

Chardonnay

VSP

Grape variety

Pruning

Chardonnay

Cane

Chardonnay

Cane

Grape variety

Row/vine spacing (m)

Chardonnay

2.2 x 0.75

Chardonnay

2.2 x 0.75

Grape variety

Vine density (/ha)

Chardonnay

6,060

Chardonnay

6,060

The middle of the eastern side of the valley.

Old Vines
Grape variety

Grape variety

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Pinot Gris

Pinot Gris

Grape variety

Clone

Pinot Noir

MV6

Pinot Gris

D1V7

Grape variety

Planted

Pinot Noir

2000 (?)

Pinot Gris

2000 (?)

Grape variety

Bearing

Pinot Noir

Yes

Pinot Gris

Yes

Grape variety

Area (ha)

Pinot Noir

1.17

Pinot Gris

0.27

Grape variety

Elevation (m)

Pinot Noir

160-177

Pinot Gris

160-177

Grape variety

Slope

Pinot Noir

1:10 / ~6°

Pinot Gris

1:10 / ~6°

Grape variety

Slope orientation

Pinot Noir

West

Pinot Gris

West

Grape variety

Row orientation

Pinot Noir

East-west

Pinot Gris

East-west

Grape variety

Rootstock

Pinot Noir

Own

Pinot Gris

Own

Grape variety

Trellis

Pinot Noir

VSP

Pinot Gris

VSP

Grape variety

Pruning

Pinot Noir

Cane

Pinot Gris

Cane

Grape variety

Row/vine spacing (m)

Pinot Noir

2.4 x 1.2

Pinot Gris

2.4 x 1.2

Grape variety

Vine density (/ha)

Pinot Noir

3,470

Pinot Gris

3,470

The south-east quarter of the property.

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