Hunter Valley, NSW
This wine region is made up of the upper Hunter and lower Hunter, and is linked by the Hunter River. Settlement commenced in the Hunter Valley region in 1826. In the 20th century, expansion occurred slowly until the boom period of the 1960s and 1970s. The majority of the vineyards in the lower Hunter are situated on the extreme southern side of what is a broad and relatively flat valley nestled into the foothills of the Brokenback Range.
The terrain is gently to markedly undulating, bordered to the north, west and south-west by the Great Dividing Range. The summer climate in the Hunter is humid, with high cloud cover and high rainfall. A break in the Great Dividing Range allows summer sea breezes to penetrate the valley. Rainfall is often highest just prior to and during harvest in February.
The vintage period is one of the earliest and shortest in Australia with harvest commencing in late January in the lower Hunter. Yields are generally low so grape quality is good, and there is an inexplicable affinity between the terroir and the semillon and shiraz grapes for which the area is justly renowned.
With our first plantings in 1879, Pokolbin remains the home of Tyrrell’s vineyards and has become recognised as some of the Hunter Valley’s finest vineyard land and the basis for development of our premium wines.
Hunter Valley “Our Sacred Sites”
Having been spared the phylloxera epidemic that wiped out the great vineyards of Europe in the 19th century, the Hunter Valley is home to some of the oldest vineyards in the world. Within the boundaries of the region, it boasts some of the most unique pockets of vineyard land in Australia. Bruce Tyrrell has identified a selection of these “sacred sites” for their ability to produce fruit that is “so good and so different” they warrant individual bottling.
These “sacred sites” consist of six blocks (one chardonnay, two semillon, and three shiraz) that are over 100 years old, and still producing and growing on their own roots. These represent some of the rarest vines in the world and they most probably have their origins in the Busby Collection - a selection of some 433 grapevine cuttings from Europe that were originally planted in the Hunter Valley in the 1800s.
Rich in gold mining history, Heathcote developed into a wine production area in the 1950s with expansion taking place in the 1980s. The Heathcote region is nestled between Bendigo, the Macedon Ranges and Goulburn Valley and is 120km north-west of Melbourne.
The landscape comprises undulating rises and narrow alluvial floodplains providing the climate and soil for shiraz vines to thrive. The climate is temperate, ideally suited to full-bodied, rich and textured shiraz and cabernet sauvignon. Full ripeness is always achieved, but the climate is not so warm as to diminish varietal character.
The Heathcote region has established a reputation for high quality red table wines. Shiraz wines of unimaginable depth of colour and extreme weight of fruit are now the hallmarks of this relatively new region. Harvest commences in mid March.
The Tyrrell’s Heathcote vineyard was put to vine in 1994 and was fully planted out in 1997 with its first release in the same year. Our Heathcote vineyard sits in the deep Cambrian soil giving it a unique ability to produce extraordinary wines. The vineyard is high enough on the eastern slope of the Mt Camel range to be out of the frost zone and is protected from the hot sun in the late afternoon.
The history of this region is shared with that of the Coonawarra region, which it adjoins for most of its boundary from south-east to north-west. The first vines in the region were planted in the 1890s and became more prominent in the 1950s. One of mainland Australia’s most southerly wine producing regions, it is located 360km south-east of Adelaide.
The region spans several distinctive landscape features, all remnants of an ancient coastal dune/back-swamp system. The region is flat, at an elevation of 60m. On the eastern side is the Naracoorte Range, an undulating range formed on the cemented sands of an old dune. To the west of the range is a very gently undulating plain underlain by clay sediments.
The climate is characterised by moderate, winter-dominant rainfall, moderate temperatures during the growing season, and moderate solar radiation. Rainfall is high during the vintage month of April. Maturity is in April when conditions are close to optimal for both shiraz and cabernet sauvignon. The total production from the Limestone Coast of South Australia is used almost exclusively for the production of table wine.
Fruit from the Tyrrell’s Limestone Coast vineyard is machine harvested and partially machine pruned. Must juice is then transported back to Tyrrell’s winery in the Hunter to complete its transformation into wine.