The Brindabella Hills vineyard was established in 1986 in an area not previously planted to vines. Initially planted as an experimental plot to assess the quality of premium varieties in this new area. Eight acres of premium grape varieties were planted on a granite ridge above the Murrumbidgee River 25 km north west of Canberra on the escarpment of the Murrumbidgee River.
The mountains of the Brindabella range to the west and hills to the south form a natural amphitheatre and the vineyard maximises the climatic advantages of a warm site in a cool district. A steep drop to the Murrumbidgee river 100 metres below the vineyard gives good air drainage, ensuring frost protection in all but extreme conditions.
The vineyard site was selected on the basis of climatic similarities to other premium wine growing areas of Australia and Europe – the Adelaide hills in South Australia, the Rioja in Spain and the hills of Tuscany south of Florence. All these areas have brilliant sunshine in abundance, and cool nights in the ripening season which contributes to the development of intense berry flavours in the resulting wines.
The soils in the vineyard are similar to those in other premium grape growing areas in Australia, e.g. Clare Watervale (SA), Mt Barker – Frankland River (WA) and Great Western (Vic.). These red and yellow duplex soils of volcanic origin are of Iow fertility but very well drained and vines thrive without excessive vigour.
Our winemaking philosophy is to capture in the bottle the unique character of each grape variety in balance with the subtle flavours arising from fermentation and barrel ageing. That is, wines where flavour complexity, vinosity and body are all important. Red wines are fermented in open vats and the skins plunged by hand in the traditional manner then aged in French and American oak for 1-2 years prior to release.
Over the past few years this has led to many award winning wines and national “boutique winery” trophies for Chardonnay and Shiraz as well as local trophies for Riesling, Cabernets, and Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon.
The quality and consistency of Brindabella Hills wines is attested to by our 4½ star rating by James Halliday (2013 Wine Companion).
With 17 vintages behind us now we can confidently say that the potential for premium wine production in our location has been well established. We are equally sure that the Brindabella Hills vineyard will prove admirably suited to northern Spainish varieties such as Tempranillo as well as the more familiar Sangiovese of Tuscany.
Brindabella Hills was established by Roger and Faye Harris who retired in June 2017 and is now owned and run by Michael Anderson with partner Renae Kilmister. Together with wine maker Brian Sinclair and Café Chef Robyn Cooper, they aim to enhance the Brindabella Hills experience by injecting a new youthful energy to the much loved property.