"One not only drinks wine,
one smells it, observes it,
tastes it, sips it and
one talks about it"

King Edward VII

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"Let us have wine and women, mirth and laughter
Sermons and soda water the day after"
Lord Byron "Don Juan"

Our Story

A weekend in Hepburn Springs to celebrate an anniversary - combined with a search for a country town within an approximate 100 km radius of Melbourne needing a part-time dentist - led to the purchase and renovation of an old house in Daylesford.

When Graham retired from lecturing in Dentistry at Melbourne University, the juggling of two practices in East Ivanhoe and Daylesford became unsatisfactory, so the decision was made to move to the country and establish a full-time practice in Daylesford.

With little knowledge of life in the country, we also decided to purchase 40 acres of land nestled in a valley in the hills surrounding Glenlyon. The land had been cleared of trees but had become infested with blackberries, gorse and broom. Blackberry jam was the result of our first harvest!!

We selected a site for the "dream home" and building began in 1994. In excavating the house site, the local "dam builder" suggested increasing the size of the small existing dam and the winter rains quickly filled the "new lake" to capacity.

Boys want their toys and a vineyard was the excuse to buy a tractor. An advertisement of "How to grow grapes in a cool climate" started the lessons in viticulture and planting of pinot noir began in 1996 with a 40 year old Massey Ferguson 135. What followed was a steep learning curve, not to mention a few disasters along the way - like the next door neighbour's cattle eating all the first year's growth and a severe frost on 28 October 1998 meant any hope of a small vintage in 1999 disappeared.

Our next challenge was the winemaking. Courses in winemaking were undertaken and soon every book on the subject of winemaking ever written took over the house. Prior to dentistry Graham worked in brewing in England, so he had had access to a research lab right throughout his working life, so that became the next priority and, very quickly, a new winery building and laboratory was constructed on the property.

We researched the purchase of wine equipment thoroughly and our selections arrived just in time for the 1999 vintage. Unfortunately, the October frost put an end to our first small vintage. But, through a chance meeting at a Viticulture Conference, the owner of Windowrie Estate in Cowra made an offer of shiraz grapes. The wine equipment was christened - and broke down! The trials and tribulations of grape growing and wine making had begun!

Next, Chardonnay was planted - under protest from Graham (ABC = anything but Chardonnay) but Jenny loves "Champagne". The Macedon Ranges Region is renowned for its Sparkling Wines and our vineyard site is ideal for the growing of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Graham was encouraged by Max Loder, Foundation Dean of Viticulture at Charles Sturt to make traditional "Methode Champenoise". The highlight of my "tree-change" and venture into viticulture and winemaking - was my first bottle of "bubbles" - soaking in our spa bath overlooking our property and drinking the grapes I had planted, picked, pressed and fermented.

The winery building includes wine processing tanks/ barrel room/ cellar door/ laboratory/ storage and for a short time was home to Decorative Details specialising in needlepoint supplies and classes in needlecraft. The petit point and cross stitch gradually disappeared with the serving of food - space needed for the kitchen and the extension of the outdoor pavilion.

A fledgling local stone artist was commissioned and designed the Rock Art feature and artificial water course. Another of Graham's passions - breadmaking (must be something to do with yeast!) - began the research for wood-fired ovens. The decision to build an Alan Scott wood-fired oven was made after visiting George Biron and sampling food from his oven. The wood-fired oven is the focus of events and all food presented at the Estate.

Next came the Loddon Room - designed for Wine Appreciation and suitable for intimate meetings or conference groups. The latest venture is the Boat House - we are just waiting for the lake to fill so you can book a picnic and dangle your toes in the water.

We are indebted to Nick who keeps the garden and surrounds in pristine condition, despite Graham.

Fourteen years on and Graham now has a new toy - Four-Wheel Drive with Bucket, Cabin, Heating, Air-Conditioning and Radio/Cassette!!

And I mustn't forget our wonderful "wine dogs" - two affectionate chocolate Labradors, named Red and Nelle. They mix greeting our visitors with going walkabout.

But that's another vineyard chore and another story.

Come and visit, spend some time with us and share in our story.

After almost twenty years Jenny and Graham are putting the property on the market with hope that a younger family can continue and expand the potentials of the Estate.