The Character of Dalwhinnie
Dalwhinnie is located near the small village of Moonambel in the heart of the Pyrenees region of Western Victoria, Australia and is a super premium producer of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay.
At 595 metres above sea-level Dalwhinnie is the highest and most remote of the Pyrenees district vineyards. Surrounded and sheltered by the highest range, this unique bowl of vines located in a naturally undulating trough which falls away from the hills, forming an amphitheatre nestled into the ranges.
Dalwhinnie vineyard is situated in a unique amphitheatre that has its own meso climate.The main grape varieties grown are Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. These small individual vineyards average around 1.8 hectares in size and, because of the hungry sedimentary soils, cropping levels are low; only 1.5 tonnes per hectare.
The 16-hectare vineyard is situated on the 37th parallel in the southern hemisphere and the poor and fragile soils from leftover alluvial mining areas in the 1850's are some of the hardest and hungriest you will ever see. However, the climate and soils seem well suited to the production of complex shiraz and this is why we specialise in this great variety.
The site is totally frost-free which enables the grapes to reach optimum ripeness and the vineyard is non-irrigated and operated on strong organic viticultural principles; the fruit is hand-picked, for example, and the vines are cane-pruned by hand. Harvest usually starts the third week in February and is completed around the first week in April. Cover crops are sown every year between the vineyard rows to add nitrogen to the soil. The average annual rainfall is 550mm with most rain falling between July and November.
Then and Now
The site was originally purchased by Ewan Jones, an architect, in 1973 and named after the Scottish Highlands town of his Scottish ancestors. He planted the vineyard after deep ripping (twice) the vine rows, removing trees and rock picking the site. In 1983, Jones' eldest son, David, took over the management of the vineyard, and later owned and operated Dalwhinnie from 1994 until January 2020 when it was acquired by FWG Wines (Vic) Pty Ltd — a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fogarty Family Wines Pty Ltd. Now part of the Fogarty Wine Group portfolio, Dalwhinnie keeps good company alongside Lake's Folly in New South Wales' Hunter Valley, Lowestoft in Tasmania, and iconic WA brands Deep Woods Estate, Evans & Tate, Millbrook Winery and Smithbrook Wines.