Soil and Climate of the Hilltops Region
The Hilltops region in southern New South Wales rests on a giant belt of granite rock, 150km long and 50km wide. The rock has weathered over millions of years producing a layer of soil up to 15-metres deep. Over time the dust storms from central Australia blew red sand and silt over the land adding a layer of soil with the distinctive red clay colour.
The Hilltops region is 450 to 600 metres above sea level making for cool nights in summer and autumn, ideal conditions for the ripening season of grapes. The cool-climate elevation combined with dominant winter rainfall ensures good soil moisture reserves for spring growth. The soils are deep and have excellent drainage, enabling grapevines to establish their roots. The range of hills to the north protects the Hilltops region from northern sub-tropical summer storms resulting in cool, dry, sunny periods.
As far back as the 1860s, Croatian immigrants established vineyards in the area to make wines to sell to the thousands who flocked in search of gold. The area was known as Lambing Flat back then.
The home block vineyard (560 metres elevation) was established in the Hilltops region of NSW in 1999 following the removal of the cherry orchard. The first crops were removed but not crushed, to encourage early vine development so the first vintage was not until 2002.
The vines have been trained to a bilateral spur-pruned cordon and the canopy is vertically shoot positioned.
In 2004 the neighbouring property was purchased. The vineyard on this property was developed almost four decades ago. Significantly, the plantings include almost 40-year-old Pinot Noir vines and a patchwork of white varieties including Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Semillon and curiously, the aromatic Italian grape Aleatico.