Studley Park Vineyard is located on about a hectare of land, the majority of which is flood plain beside the Yarra River. Situated only about 4kms from the Melbourne CBD, it is the closest vineyard to the city. It is bounded in the south by the Yarra River, in the west by Yarra Bend National Park and in the north and east by residential properties.
A single acre of cabernet sauvignon grapes was planted in 1994. The 1145 vines are in 26 rows which run east-west. The east-west direction was chosen so as to permit flood water to flow between the rows of vines if the Yarra were again to rise to the flood plain. The microclimate is very favorable for viticulture because the site is wind protected and frost free and the soil drains well. Also, because the vineyard is located far from larger wine growing areas, it is insulated from vineyard diseases, which are endemic in those areas. This enables the grapes to be produced with a minimum of chemical spraying with no insecticides being used in the vineyard.
The small size of the vineyard enables particular care to be taken of the vines during all viticultural stages. The vines are hand pruned according to the cane pruning technique. We have recently moved to Scott-Henry trellising in order to increase the openness of the canopy and to enhance some ripening of the fruit.
Because of the favourable growing conditions for the vines, it is essential for us to practise sound canopy management techniques. Veraison usually occurs towards the end of January and the vines are netted at this time. The vintage is normally harvested in early April when optimum taste, sugar concentration and acidity are achieved. The fruit is hand picked and transported in small crates to the winery for crushing.
One of Australia’s leading wine writers has recently given Studley Park Vineyard a four star rating whih is awarded to wineries which “consistently produce high quality wines”. Our 2012 Studley Park Rose achieved a four star rating in a recent review.
In Melbourne’s early history, significant winegrowing took place in Kew, Hawthorn and Balwyn. Our research has shown that the Studley Park Vineyard land has continuously been used for agriculture for well over 100 years. When the vineyard was established in 1994 the land was used as a market garden. Early plans reveal that the area was known as the CHINESE GARDENS. The vineyard’s street address, GARDEN TERRACE, reflects part of this history. Research has also shown that the original licence to draw water from the Yarra River was signed personally by the Governor of Victoria. That document also shows that at least as early as 1916, part of the land was used as a vineyard. We are very pleased that we have been able to preserve this historic agricultural and viticultural connection with the vineyard land and Melbourne’s early viticultural history. This is particularly significant because the vineyard is one of the few remaining parcels of land in the inner suburban area of Melbourne which is still used for agricultural purposes. The link with Government House has been re-established and our wines are now sometimes served there at official functions.