The proof of the vine is in the wine.
The old Cabernet vines have been taken out and some new Pinot clones replacing them. There is tremendous diversity within each varietal, which we can attribute to clones. The clones we are planting include the M4V2 (Pommard) and the Abel. We have also decided to plant more MV6 as traditionally on the peninsula. We are really excited about these additional clones as they will give us greater complexity. The old french Pommard clone celebrated for its darker fruit, structure, density, chewy texture and ‘sweeter’ nose. The Abel also originated from France adds a more savoury characteristic to the wine. The small amount of Merlot has also been removed and replaced with a 1/2 acre of Chardonnay. The new vines should be producing by next vintage.
The vineyard covers more than 3 ha and production varies between 1500 and 3000 cases, according to the season. Seasons can vary dramatically. While the location is magnificent, it comes with often difficult weather, especially in late spring and early summer when the vines are flowering and the new leaves offer little protection from gale-force winds and blinding rain. In such conditions, viticulture is crucial.
Merricks Estate uses the Scott Henry trellising system, which maximizes the light and sum available to the fruit and opens out the canopy of leaves. The leaves are the vine's solar collecters and the way they are now trellised provides greater opportunity for photosynthesis for fruit ripeness and flavour during the long ripening season. In the extended ripening before picking in April and May, flavours are concentrated and the varietal characteristics of grapes are intensified.
Rohan Smith - Vineyard Manager
Having had a successful career in the corporate world, Rohan came to the wine industry a little later in life forging a change in direction to his real passion - viticulture. Following time working in the vineyard at Elgee Park, Rohan took over as our Vineyard Manager here at Merricks Estate.
"It is a privilege to look after these fantastic old vines at Merricks Estate and to be a part of one of the oldest vineyards on the Mornington Peninsula. Our goal is of course to produce premium wine which starts with fruit that not only has a rich concentration of flavour but most importantly reflects the unique site at Merricks and cool climate growing environment that we have here on the Peninsula. I am passionate about sustainable growing practices - these permeate all of our decisions in the vineyard and are critical to producing fruit of the highest quality."