Whisson Lake Vineyard is owned & tended by Mark and Andrie Whisson in the Piccadilly Valley, Adelaide Hills. With a masters in plant physiology, consultant viticulturalist Mark (formerly consulting to Petaluma) knows his way around a vineyard. Planted in 1985 at 615m+ above sea level, this is South Australia’s highest commercial vineyard. The east-facing hillside curves and rises so steeply it’s created its own Burgundy-stylemeso-climate, sunny and warm in some sections, cool and shady in others. What results is entirely distinct fruit all grown from the same hill
The vineyard is organic and dry-grown, with soils containing gneiss and schist.
“We take our cues from traditional Burgundian winemaking styles, focusing on small ferments of rich Pinot Noir grapes picked at just the right moment and always remembering one golden rule (coined by Clarendon Hills’s Roman Bratasiuk in 1995): “…in winemaking, have the courage to do nothing.”
Our cooler climate means our grapes ripen late, in many years just as the vine leaves are turning and the nights are growing cold. That presents a challenge for fermenting, as we follow the lessons of Burgundy and aim to get our ferments up around 30 degrees Celsius. We rug our ferments up in thick insulation and often need to put an oil heater inside the insulation as well. It’s cold when you’re this high in the Piccadilly Valley.
Our wine is made in respect the traditional methods, we add no additives of any kind, other than a small amount sulphur just before bottling. By not interfering, we allow the character of the wine reflect it’s site. Each bottle is a sample of the climate, soil & location within our vineyard. It’s really quite interesting that one variety can be so diverse in characters. This all comes down to the site and why we believe – “where we are, is who we are”.
“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Whisson Lake is a great pinot noir vineyard that deserves to be ranked alongside the best in the country.” Max Allen, The Australian Financial Review, July 2018