Winemakers News

TAKE 5 WITH WINEMAKER PETE ARMSTRONG

1. What inspired you to become a winemaker? I came back from living overseas and knew I didn’t want to return to the corporate world! Some friends had a vineyard on the Mornington Peninsula and needed help pruning so asked if I could lend a hand. It was cold, wet, miserable and hard work but I loved every minute of it and was instantly hooked on the wine industry.

2. What do you find most rewarding about working in the wine industry? I love being able to follow a wine from start to finish. Seeing the first budburst of early spring and then being able to follow that growth to veraison and vintage, seeing the fruit arrive in the winery and getting pressed, following the ferment, watching as it ages in barrel and then getting bottled. It’s an organic and natural process that as a winemaker we merely guide along. I find that incredibly rewarding.

3. You have worked in wineries in California and around Australia, in your opinion, what makes Scotchmans Hill wines unique and which is your favourite? I’ve worked in California, Oregon, Bordeaux, New Zealand, Burgundy and all around Australia but Scotchmans Hill and the Bellarine Peninsula have definitely become home. Scotchmans Hill's location gives it an incredibly unique microclimate. Cool sea breezes make for a long, slow growing season, which allows a true depth of flavour to develop in our fruit and wines. Over the last few years, we have focused our attention on the Scotchmans Hill Shiraz. Watching its development and constant improvement to the outstanding wine it is today makes it easily my favourite.

4. What is something we'd be surprised to learn about you? I hate Pinot Gris! I’m sorry. I know it's insanely popular, but I just can’t stand it! I do enjoy making it, though.

5. What trends or innovations in winemaking are you most excited about? One of the things I love most about this industry, is that it is so historic and traditional and yet constantly evolving. There are more than 10,000 grape varietals grown around the world, so there is constantly something new to discover. We’ve recently planted some exciting and interesting new varieties here at Scotchmans so keep an eye out in the near future!

SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVE: ENRICHING THE SOIL & REDUCING WASTE

In their ongoing efforts to promote sustainability, the vineyard has taken on the task of creating compost.

Over the past 15 months, they have collected green waste, which has now fully rotted down. In addition to this, they have also accumulated grape marc - the remains of grapes from each year's harvest after pressing.

The vineyard plans to combine these materials to create compost, which will undergo further decomposition over the next 4-5 months.

Once ready, it will be spread out in targeted areas of the vineyard to enhance the microflora and introduce beneficial bacteria, fungi, and worms to the soil, ultimately improving its structure.

Furthermore, the vineyard aims to re-compost the heavier materials to ensure no wastage. Going forward, they have committed to making compost on an annual basis, with a projected production of 500-600 cubic meters this year.

This sustainable approach reflects the vineyard's dedication to nurturing the land and fostering a healthy environment for their vines.

Racking & Cold Stabilisation

Meanwhile,at the winery, we're gearing up for bottling season. In the image above, WinemakerPete Armstrong is busy getting this year's Rosé, Pinot Gris, and Sparkling wines ready for bottling.

Right now, he's racking Pinot Gris, which means transferring the wine to remove sediment from fermentation. After that, the wine will undergo cold stabilisation to maintain its quality over time.

Take 5 with the Winemakers:

Have you ever wondered what drives a winemaker to follow their passion? We would like to offer you a glimpse into the minds and hearts of our talented winemaking team. Today, we have interviewed Senior Winemaker Marcus Holt.

1. When and how did you realise you wanted to be a winemaker? I clearly remember at 18 years of age being taken by a friends family on a wine tour of Great Western, visiting Bests and Seppelts and thinking how amazing the wines were, while witnessing the passion and enthusiasm of the cellar door staff and the enjoyment of my friends father. I think that’s when the bug really bit. It was the realisation that you could be part of crafting something so remarkable that has the potential to give so much more than the contents of the glass.

2. What does the average workday look like for you and what keeps you passionate about making wine? The day always starts with a coffee and a bit of banter with the team. Depending on the time of year the schedule changes from the madness of harvest and monitoring ferments, conducting lab analysis and barrel work all through to getting previous vintage wines ready for bottling. The days are seldom alike, as are the vintages they come from which I think in the end is the driver. The best wine you’ve made hasn’t been made yet. 

3. What do you drink at home? Do you have a favourite Scotchmans Hill wine? Do I have a favourite Scotchmans Hill wine??? No, I love all my children equally…..except Chardonnay she’s a ripping kid!

4. What makes a good winemaker? A realisation that we are a cog in larger machine, pulling together to make great wine. From Belinda, Mark and the vineyard team, to Beck who runs our office, we can’t do what we do with out their heavy lift. We’re just lucky enough to taste the wines before anyone else.

 5. What is the best advice you have ever received? Just breathe.

 

CRAFTING PERFECTION

18th April 2024

This past week, barrel work has been the focus in the winery, where the 2023 Scotchmans Hill Pinot Noir was extracted and the same barrels were refilled with the 2024 vintage. The new vintage will be matured in these French barriques for the next 12 months.

 

2024 VINTAGE

8th April 2024

A new chapter of Scotchmans wine story is being written, albeit in the deep burgundy ink of pressed grapes. One of a whole new collection of varieties, Sangiovese was our last pressing for 2024.

As pioneers of winemaking on the Bellarine, Scotchmans Hill has historically invested in pushing boundaries. Our future is set to maintain this synergy of tradition and innovation. We can't wait to share more of this journey with you. Stay tuned.

 

2024 VINTAGE

26th March 2024

Today is our last day of picking, marking the end of our harvest season. Over the next 2-3 weeks, the Winery team will be working hard to top up the wine ferments in the barrels: the process of adding more wine to minimize exposure to oxygen. Our earliest pick of Pinot Noir will be the first wine to go to barrel.

2024 VINTAGE

21st March 2024

As we near the end of this year's harvest, we have just a few more days left to handpick our prized Shiraz grapes. Following the Shiraz, we will move on to the Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as our new varieties Sangiovese and Tempranillo.

Despite enduring a dry spell, with a mere 5mm of rainfall recorded since January, the grape quality remains exceptional. The Shiraz vines have exhibited resilience amid the recent heat wave. 

2024 VINTAGE

14th March 2024

Our winery team is completing the daily task of plunging the cap.

In winemaking, the ‘cap’ consists of grape skins, pips, and pulp, which are lifted to the top of the vats by the carbon dioxide naturally produced during the first fermentation process. Plunging the cap (or Pigeage) refers to the traditional process of submerging the cap back into the liquid (must) to extract the colour, tannins, and flavour of the grape solids.This process also ensures that the cap stays moist to prevent bacteria growth, which could potentially spoil the beautiful wine below. 

Meanwhile, in the vineyard, the team has Sangiovese, Shiraz, and Cabernet left on the vines to harvest.

2024 VINTAGE

5th March 2024

We have officially reached the midway stage of our 2024 vintage. This week, our team is primarily engaged in harvesting the remaining Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Rosé. The last to be collected will be Shiraz, Cabernet, Late Harvest Riesling, and our new alternate varieties.

2024 VINTAGE

26th February 2024

Our vineyard team is working extremely hard, currently picking Pinot Noir grapes from our Scotchmans Hill vines, resulting in the earliest harvest of Pinot Noir grapes.

Most varieties are expected to be picked by the end of next week, with only Shiraz and Chardonnay left on the vines. Having all of the grapes harvested will put our vineyard team 3 and a half weeks in advance of last year's vintage.

2024 VINTAGE

9th February 2024

Our vintage season is officially underway, marking the earliest start to vintage in 40 yearsA busy and very exciting time ahead for our Winery and Viticulture teams as we head into harvest. 

CHARDONNAY UPDATE

7th February 2024

The newly established 16.5-acre Chardonnay vineyard is displaying strong, impressive growth.

UPDATE FROM THE VINEYARD 

1st February 2024

Our team has been busy wire lifting between the young vines' foliage to support the weight of their growth and encourage further vertical growth. Veraison is well in advance, with harvesting scheduled to commence in 3-4 weeks. Most fruit is expected to be harvested by March into early April.

2017 Cornelius Armitage Pinot Noir

Chief Winemaker Robin Brockett provides a synopsis of our 2017 Cornelius Armitage Pinot Noir. This earthy Pinot Noir comes from 30-year-old vines, making this vintage one to try.

UPDATE FROM THE VINEYARD 

20 January 2024

Our vines are well into veraison and soon, the stored energy in the roots, will transfer through to the berries and they start to grow larger. Acid levels will start to drop, and sugar levels will increase. This is also when aroma and flavour components start to develop.

GEELONG WINE HALL OF FAME CHIEF WINEMAKER ROBIN BROCKETT

WINE Geelong recently celebrated its 24th Geelong Wine Show, and it is with enormous pride that we announce that Chief Winemaker Robin Brockett was inducted into the Geelong Wine Hall of Fame.

A recognition of impressive achievements and support to the Geelong Wine Industry.

Geelong Wine Awards

Scotchmans Hill is very proud to be firstly awarded with the prestigious Tonnellerie Marsannay Trophy, Best Wine of Provenance for Cornelius 2021, 2017, 2014 Norfolk Vineyard Pinot Noir—recognition for the best flight of three wines from the red and white wine of provenance classes. exceptional achievement and well-deserved recognition!

BALLARAT WINE SHOW AWARDS

We are thrilled to announce that the 2021 Cornelius Spray Farm Syrah has just achieved the remarkable feat of winning BEST SHIRAZ at the prestigious Ballarat Wine Show. An incredible achievement to be awarded Best Shiraz for TWO consecutive years!

2023 Winner – 2021 Cornelius Spray Farm Syrah
2022 Winner – 2021 Scotchmans Hill Shiraz

VINEYARD UPDATE WITH CHIEF WINEMAKER ROBIN BROCKETT

Flowering is occurring in the vineyard, with Chardonnay the most developed and in full flowering with what we call at capfall of 60 -70. Shiraz and Cabernet are the last varieties to flower over the next fortnight. We are hoping for ideal weather of around 25 degrees, with sunshine and light winds over the next month for ideal conditions to allow the fruit to develop.

New varieties at Scotchmans Hill

Watch chief Winemaker discuss the new varieties being planted at Scotchmans Hill.