The Grange Hill Vineyard was established over tour separate plantings. Russell learned very early from Graham Due that soil preparation is the most important ingredient when it comes to establishing a dry land vineyard. Russell prepared the soil, planted cover crops and the vines all on their own rootstock. For a period of four years, all vineyard duties were performed by hand brush cutting, spraying and weed control so we can minimal soil compaction. Russell continues these practices where possible to allow the vines to spread their roots and become stronger.
At Chaperon Wines, we have three separate Shiraz blocks trellised and three separate Grenache and Mourvedre blocks as bush vines. Each block has different heights, pruning techniques, soil preparation, and is picked at separate times to add complexity to our wines.
When it comes to picking the grapes, Russell and Angelina choose when to pick them. There is a period of four or five days when the fruit is at its peak. Each block is small enough that we can pick within this period. We process the grapes in the vineyard, which means on average our fruit is processed within one hour. Most years we have a picking party with friends and family. But, let me tell you, it’s more about the party than the picking!