The vineyard includes plantings of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyard is situated on a north facing slope which is important in our climate as late frosts can be devastating.
The vineyard is situated at an elevation of 860 metres above sea level and located on ancient igneous plutonic granite soils. We believe these soils are ideally suited to viticulture as vine growth is regulated naturally. The low vigour low yielding vines, allow fruit to ripen to the optimum level in our cool climate.
This elevation is not the highest in the New England Australia region, although still quite staggering compared to many of Australia’s other wine regions. The combination of altitude, slope, soil and climate interact to give Merilba Estate wines great flavour and complexity. In fact, the whole of New England Australia has taken the eye of some of Australia’s leading wine critics. In particular, James Halliday, who is quoted as saying, “No region has so much to offer and come on line so quickly as New England Australia.”
Merilba vines experience an average annual rainfall of approx. 800mm, generally concentrated in the summer months. With autumn (harvest period) being the driest time of year. This is crucial as it allows the fruit to ripen fully without the onset of fungal diseases such as botrytis. Generally irrigation is only used to supplement rainfall at crucial periods of the vines lifecycle. A mean January temperature of 21 degrees sees moderate summer temperatures which provide a long cool ripening period.
Viticultural practices such a composting and manures combined with fungicides specifically chosen for their low toxicity helps us keep our vineyards impact on our environment to a minimum. We use no insecticides at all preferring to allow naturally occurring predatory insects to do the job for us.
The winery at Merilba has the capacity to process 120 tonnes of fruit. The facility is primarily used to produce single vineyard varietal wines from our own vineyard.
The facility is also used as a contract winemaking service for other local vignerons. We are always striving to make great wines using a combination of traditional winemaking techniques as well as incorporating the latest techniques and technology.
We believe that wine is made in the vineyard and that the winemaking process should be used to enhance the natural attributes of our high quality cool climate fruit. Concentrating on producing quality wines from a single vineyard means that climatic fluctuations from year to year give each vintage a unique character – a long way from homogenous bulk produced wines. We like to think you can be assured of good quality wine which is always interesting because it is never quite the same as last year.
All green waste from the winery is recycled by composting and then reused in the vineyard.