Our Estate is situated in the middle of the Steels Creek Valley, a small valley – 9km along the Yarra Valley floor. The soil comprises ancient mountain-derived light grey loams over clay. Sitting at approximately 100m above sea level, our gently sloping hills are warmer
on average than other parts of the
The Calder family planted its first vines in 1988, nestled in the Steels Creek valley, where the land was once dominated by Blackwoods. These Cabernet Franc vines proved to produce fruit of great character and were sought after by other winemakers in the area. A decision in 1998 to move from a grape-producer to a wine-producer saw plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon added. This was done in a ratio such that close to the desired blend in the finished wine was achieved. This allows for the fruit to be field blended and fermented together, creating integrated and harmonious wines.
The care of our vines and vineyard is intimately interconnected with the management of the rest our estate. Our holisitic approach sees that our sheep, pigs and cattle are fed the marc off each pressing and the lees is composted and used in our vegetable garden. Our vineyard is fertilised and groomed by our sheep during the vines dormant months, with other organic fertilisers used during the growing period.
This minimises the use of mechanised farm equipment and other resources. Watering is kept to a minimum to encourage the roots of our vines to reach greater soil depth, which imparts richer and more intense flavours in our wines.
Our grapes our hand-picked only when the grapes are at their ideal ripeness, in some years this has meant picking multiple times.
Harvest typically commences in early March with a Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc picked early then hung to dry over three months. Harvest finishes with the remaining fruit picked as late as May. These dates correspond to September and November respectively in the northern hemisphere.
Frost is rarely a problem, but can affect the vineyards from time to time.
Our minimal intervention practices in the cellar allow the seasonal variances of each variety to come to the fore. We believe additions and subtractions, in the form of filtration or other, take away from the wine's integrity and the ability of the grape variety to display the influences of the season. In our cellar practice, there are:
No added sugars, no foreign yeasts, no foreign bacteria.
No additives for color, mouth-feel, minerality, etc.
No external flavour additives, including those derived from new oak barrels, staves, chips, or liquid extract.
No fining or filtration - no egg, dairy or fish product. Vegan Friendly!
No heavy manipulation, such as micro-oxygenation, reverse osmosis, spinning cone, cryoextraction.
Minimal sulfites - less than 10ppm. No headaches!
Fermentation of our wines are allowed to occur spontaneously with indigenous yeasts in open vats or terracotta amphoras depending on the style of wine. Once fermentation is complete, the wines in open vats are transferred into old French oak barrels to mature up to 18 months. The influences of old oak are less significant and a preferred flavour than new oak. Our wine fermented in amphoras remains in this vessel to mature for 12 months.
It is also here, on our estate, where, bottling, labeling and packaging occur with the efforts of all family members, along with storage prior to our wine hitting your door step.
It's needless to say we are busy all
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