"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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Our Winemaker - Graham Ellender

The philosophy of winemaker, Graham Ellender, encompasses traditional principles and technique tempered with science, technology and at times black magic. The traditional basket press finds an honourable position in the winemaking as do oak barrels and hand bottling.

Graham has certainly has an interesting and varied career

Starting in 1960, Graham worked in the Brewing Laboratory of Flowers Brewery in the UK. He was offered a brewing scholarship, but his mother felt brewing was not a profession and "guided" him into dentistry.

He went on to study dental surgery at University College Hospital, London. Following four years of general practice, Graham took an appointment to the University of Western Australia, followed by the University of Melbourne until 1992. During this time he lectured in dental science and gained an MDSc and a PhD in pathology, toxicology and biochemistry.

But his interest in brewing and passion for wine shortly took him back to where he began.
In 1994, he enrolled for a course in growing grapes in cool climates and subsequently undertook units in winemaking at various institutions - building on an apprenticeship at University House, University of Melbourne. Requisite units in viticulture and œnology were obtained at Dookie, NMIT and other institutions along with attendances at courses and workshops. Much of his training in dentistry and its various sciences stood him in good stead when he finally turned his hand to winemaking.

Oenology of the Varietals (winemaking techniques)

As a boutique vineyard and winery, we are employing traditional principles and techniques tempered with science, technology and, at times, black magic. The traditional basket press finds an honoured position in our winemaking as do oak barrels and hand bottling.

Pinot Noir:

Grapes from the clones in our vineyards are selectively harvested. Ninety five percent of the resulting bunches are de-stemmed without crushing and transferred to 1000L fermentation vats along with five percent whole bunches. Maceration for approximately four days occurs until the ferment commences on indigenous yeasts. Cultured yeast now takes over the ferment for a controlled ferment. Pigeage is undertaken twice daily - no pumping over occurs.

At the completion of the ferment, free-run-wine is taken to barriques (burgundy barrels) and press-wine to other barriques. 25 - 30% new oak is used. Reshaved barrels find no place in the traditional techniques. "You cannot cook meat twice" once quipped a visiting cooper.
Racking occurs early when wine is taken off the gross lees - gross lees are retained for bread making in the wood fired oven - and barriques tightly sealed until spring.

In spring wine undergoes battonage (stirring of the lees) and the malolactic fermentation (malo) is induced to soften the wine and to ensure stability. Once 'malo' is complete wine is racked and fined with egg white. Wines are bottled by hand unfiltered and sealed with either Stelvins or cork.

Chardonnay:

Chardonnay grapes are hand picked and transferred as whole bunches to the basket press. Bunches are pressed slowly and care taken not to extract phenolics (tannins etc). Juice is fermented in a mixture of 3 - 8 year old barrels and less than 8 % new oak. Partial malo is allowed to occur and stopped when considered enough at around 25% of completion. Wine is sterile filtered and bottled under Stelvin seals.

Rosetta - Pinot Noir Rosé:

A parcel of pinot noir is dedicated for rosé. Bunches are de-stemmed and crushed lightly. After leaving on the skins for one hour grapes are pressed lightly and the resulting juice fermented in steel vat to dryness. Bottling occurs after three months - cold stabilization is not indicated and wine is sterile filtered and sealed with Stelvins.

Ellender Méthode Champenoise:

Base wines are made from Estate fruit. Both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay base wines are fermented from whole bunch pressed juice. Any colour from the Pinot is retained. Once fermented, base wines are blended with previous vintages and bottled with a 'dosage' of sugar, yeast and bentonite. Bottles sealed with crown caps are laid horizontally for more than sixteen months - when they are riddled and yeast and deposits disgorged, then 'liqueur d'exposition' is added to achieve the desired influence and, finally, are corked and wired with muselet.