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Today Tapanappa is wholly owned and run by the Croser family of the Piccadilly Valley in South Australia's Adelaide Hills.

Tapanappa was created in 2002 by Brian and Ann Croser in partnership with Bollinger of Champagne and the Cazes family of Lynch Bages in Pauillac,

To utilise three of Australia’s most expressive and unique distinguished sites to create fine wines of distinction.


Tapanappa’s three distinguished sites are;

  • The Tiers Vineyard planted with Chardonnay in the Piccadilly Valley in 1979,
  • The Whalebone Vineyard planted to the Cabernet varieties in Wrattonbully in 1974 and
  • The Foggy Hill Vineyard planted with Pinot Noir on the Fleurieu Peninsula in 2003. 

Since 2002, the Croser family have invested significantly in the refinement of the viticulture of these three distinguished sites. The old vines at the Tiers and Whalebone vineyards have been restructured and re-trellised. New vineyards have been planted with superior clones on rootstocks at very close spacing at both the Tiers and Whalebone vineyards. The Croser family have also pioneered a new wine region at Parawa on the Fleurieu Peninsula by planting Dijon clones of Pinot Noir on rootstocks at the close spaced Foggy Hill Vineyard .


These vineyard investments are consistent with Brian's belief that Australia cannot compete with the best of the fine wines of Europe and North America without significant further investment in the improvement of vineyards aimed at improved grape and wine quality. Tapanappa is unique in Australian viticulture, having new vineyards planted to the traditional European formula of close spacing (1.5 meters X 1.5 meters) with the vines only 0.5 meters above the soil surface and in all three regions.


In June 2014 the Croser family reached agreement with Bollinger and the Cazes family that Tapanappa’s future as a fine wine company would be optimised when wholly owned by the Croser family. Changing markets and economic times, the increasing involvement in Tapanappa of Croser family members, and its reliance on Croser family vineyard assets made this all but inevitable. The terroir driven purpose of Tapanappa has been focussed and strengthened by the involvement of Bollinger and the Cazes family from 2002 until 2014 and they remain firm friends of Tapanappa and the Croser family, and remain as importers of Tapanappa in key markets.


This moment of change for Tapanappa was given impetus by the return of the Petaluma winery to the Croser family in December 2014, Reborn as the Tapanappa Winery and giving Tapanappa a home address at The Tiers Vineyard, 15 Spring Gully Road, Piccadilly. We have our winery back.  The ownership of Tapanappa has changed but the mission remains the same,

To maximise the quality of the wines from these three distinguished site vineyards, regardless of cost, that also implies producing only the tiny amounts of wine available from each vineyard.


Today Tapanappa is managed by Xavier Bizot and his wife Lucy Croser, another Croser son-in-law, Sam Barlow looks after the winery facility, IT and cellar door. Tapanappa’s portfolio of wines is distributed in Australia by Terroir Selections, which was founded and is operated by Xavier and Lucy. Tapanappa has evolved into a family fine wine company from vineyard to market.

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The Tiers Vineyard is in the second coolest and the wettest location in South Australia, the Piccadilly Valley. It is absolutely suited to Chardonnay being an almost perfect homo-clime of Burgundy and especially mirrors the southern end of the Cotes de Beaune where the great Montrachets are grown. The soil is unique in the Adelaide Hills being based on the 1.6 billion years old Calcsilicate geological stratum lifted into place by a fault at the edge of the Tiers Vineyard that places it next to the 500 million year old geological strata that prevail in the rest of the Piccadilly Valley.


The Tiers Vineyard tilts gently to the north and east in a sheltered valley that takes best advantage of the autumn sun in the northern sky to extract the last rays of ripening energy at the cool end of the harvest. It has been planted on an intensive vine regime and managed fastidiously by hand on a vine-by-vine basis. The vines are now over 30 years old and in perfect balance with their environment at the low crop level of 6 tonnes/hectare.


The Foggy Hill Vineyard is on a northwestfacing slope at 300 to 350 metres (ASL) at Parawa, the highest point of the Fleurieu Peninsula half way between Victor Harbor and Cape Jervis. The soils are derived from the Tertiary era (67ma) remnant lateritic plateau of the Fleurieu Peninsula and include outcrops of ironstone (ferricrete), which litter the slope beneath the vines. These ironstone deposits are the result of the deep weathering of the underlying meta-sandstones of the Back Stairs Passage Formation, Cambrian era (570ma) sediments of the Kanmantoo Group.


The steep slope of Foggy Hill Vineyard ensures that the soil is of moderate depth and free draining containing a jumble of the ironstone eroded from the outcrops. These are ideal viticultural soils and particularly for the very fastidious Pinot Noir variety. The climate of Foggy Hill Vineyard is very maritime. The Great Southern Ocean just 8 kilometres to the south keeps the winter warm and the summer cool. Bud burst is early in September and the crop is harvested in the middle of March. During this 7 month growing season the heat summation is only 1134.7ºC days, which is even cooler than Piccadilly at 1172ºC days, and there is rarely a hot day although the nights are warm. The average diurnal temperature difference for the growing season is a low 8.45°C and the 3pm humidity is high at 64%.


The very cool, humid and even Foggy Hill climate is ideal for encouraging the production of the exotic aromatic and ethereal qualities described as the peacock’s tail of Pinot Noir. Foggy Hill Vineyard on Maylands Farm at Parawa on the Southern Fleurieu Peninsula has thus far delivered on its potential to be a truly “distinguished site” for Pinot Noir.


The Whalebone Vineyard was purchased immediately after the formation of Tapanappa in 2002. Originally named Koppamurra Vineyard, this unique vineyard was planted in 1974 on the eastern edge of the West Naracoorte Ranges 20 kilometres north of Coonawarra. At that time it was a lonely vineyard on the edge of the Naracoorte Caves National Park and the Kanawinka Fault; now the southwestern corner of the Wrattonbully wine region. A close spaced vineyard was planted in 2004 next to the Whalebone Vineyard and is owned by Xavier and Lucy. Fruit from this block was originally meant to go under the Tapanappa label, until Xavier and Lucy decided to adopt this terroir and establish a small label called Terre à Terre.


Since its purchase it has been completely retrellised and renovated. It has been renamed the Whalebone Vineyard because of the discovery of a 35 million year old whale skeleton in a limestone cave beneath the vineyard. The Whalebone Vineyard is a terroir particularly suited to the varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Shiraz. Not even the pioneers who planted the vineyard could have realised how special the site is.


Situated at 37° 10’ S and 140° 87’ E at an altitude of 80 meters, the Whalebone Vineyard is on the dunal ridge of the oldest shoreline of the plain which gently leans away to the Great Southern Ocean 80 kilometres to the west. The West Naracoorte Range was formed along the north south Kanawinka Fault when the land began to rise about 0.8 million years ago, causing the Southern Ocean to recede away to its current shoreline. The ridge is seated on 35 million year old Oligocene limestone (very similar to St Emilion in Bordeaux) and it is in this limestone that the bones of a whale were trapped and are now exposed in a cave eroded into the limestone beneath the Whalebone Vineyard.

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The Foggy Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir is typically hand harvested in the middle of March. Parawa, on the heights of the Fleurieu Peninsula, is only 8 kilometres north of the Great Southern Ocean and the cool maritime influence and moderate night temperatures initiate early bud burst and ripening. The typical natural yield from the vineyard is a meagre 4.5 tonnes/hectare.

The typical analysis of Foggy Hill Pinot Noir at harvest is

  • 23 Brix of sugar;
  • 6 gpl of acid; and a
  • pH of 3.65.

The tiny ebony bunches of Pinot Noir are selectively hand harvested into 0.3 tonne bins and transported to the Tapanappa Winery 1 hour to the north in the Piccadilly Valley. The fruit is chilled to 5°C for 24 hours in cold store and is crushed and partially destemmed into 1 tonne fermentation tubs. 8% of stalks are retained at the crusher. The must is allowed to “cold macerate” for three days before the onset of fermentation.

Fermentation and Maturation

After the three-day “cold maceration” the 1 tonne tubs of Foggy Hill Pinot Noir are seeded with our vineyard selected yeast strain and malo-lactic bacterium. The fermentation begins slowly over the first 3 days and the mash is only plunged by hand once/day. As the temperature rises the tubs are hand plunged twice/day and take 10 days to ferment to dryness. The peak of fermentation lasts 3 to 4 days and temperatures up to 35°C are achieved. Once fermentation is complete the tubs are sealed down to allow post fermentation maceration of the skins for 7 days.


The total time on skins including “cold maceration” is approximately 20 days. The contents of the tubs are transferred by hand to a small press and gently squeezed to 1 bar of pressure. The dry wine is immediately gravitated to barriques with all lees. The barriques are all French oak from the Centre of France and the Vosges Forest, 30% are new and the balance 1 and 2 years old. The Pinot Noir red wine remains in barrique undisturbed from the beginning of April to the end of malo-lactic fermentation in August. The wine is racked off gross lees and given a dose of sulphur dioxide before being returned to barrique for further maturation.

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Wine Moments

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 Stuart Robinson, Wine Blogger (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Tapanappa . In a tasting of  15 wines 

Turkey Flat White Blend 2015  /A blend of Marsanne (63%), Viognier (19%) and Roussanne (18%).Scents of white florals, suggestive stonefruit and of a little vanilla creme patisserie.

Honeyed nuances, a little nougat, under-ripe mandarin segments; zest and gentle spice. Early - judicious - picking has given a line of acid about which layers of texture hang, like mille-feuille of flavour and mouthfeel.

Good length, carried about acid, a little toastiness. Enough about it to make it one to both seek to consume and to savour. 91

5m 21d ago

 Andrew Graham, Wine Blogger (Australia)  tasted  2 wines  from  Tapanappa . In a tasting of  12 wines 

2014 Yarra Yering releases /Although things are about to pause for vintage (which is half over in the Hunter), a few winemakers have been in town recently, and Yarra Yering’s Sarah Crowe was one of those to stop by with a clutch of new releases under her arm.

As ever this is a strong collection of wines, from a winery that nails the classic, understated Yarra form. From what I can gather there isn’t much of these ’14s around, and judging by the traditional (great) style, I’ve got no doubt they’ll be well received – especially the excellent Underhill.

6m 11d ago

 Stuart Robinson, Wine Blogger (Australia)  tasted  2 wines  from  Tapanappa . In a tasting of  16 wines 

Chapel Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 / Vintage 2011 is not exactly the elephant in the room not talked of, but there is a tendency for the vintage to be written off with a broad stroke that covers all regions and producers. Following that English idiom, one must doff one's cap to the team at Chapel Hill for the considerately crafted range of reds out of the vintage. The cooler rendition of the Shiraz from McLaren Vale, the lighter touch of the Mourvédre - all are good drinking. Here to those we can add the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cedar, creamy oak, a touch dusty with hints of red fruit. Given some time to explore, we see a little more char, toasty, black fruit and hints of dark chocolate. Medium to full bodied, tannin is fine-grained. Slight hint of chicory bitterness initially, that makes way for creamy oak.

Length is good. It's a wine that certainly grew in appeal as it settled into itself. It's a clean rendition, a touch chewy at times, something to get into. 89 - could happily go a point higher.

6m 25d ago

 Ken Gargett, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Tapanappa . In a tasting of  21 wines 

“The flagship. First kicked off with the 1982 vintage and the goodies from the 80's and 90's are still superb wines. No reason to suspect that this will be any different. Just beautiful aromatics. Spices, dark berries. Lots of complexity here. This is rich and generous. Layered with mouthcoating tannins. Very long. I have no doubt that in a few years, this score will seem miserly.”

4y 8m ago

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