Parkside has 3.5 acres (1.6 hectares) under vines on a north facing slope at an elevation of 590 metres. While an altitude of 590 metres may not sound very high, Parkside’s climate is 5-6 degrees cooler than Melbourne, just 70 kilometres due south. In addition, the vineyard enjoys frequent cool southerly winds, not only in spring, but for most of dryer summer months. The cool climate extends the ripening period for the vines, with the table wine grapes typically ready to pick by mid-April. In contrast, even in places as close as Heathcote in central Victoria, picking can be finished by the end of February. The cooler climate grapes such as pinot noir and chardonnay need the extended growing season, as it allows the flavours to fully develop in the berries.
Wine Making Philosophy
With a great tapestry of environmental variables to build character into our wines, our philosophy is to be diligent in nurturing our grapes to produce the best possible fruit, then gently handling the grapes with minimal intervention at every stage of the process.
“Methode traditionale” techniques are used when making our sparkling including extended time on lees (>4 years) and late disgorgement. Modern approaches such as natural ferments are used in our table wines to preserve the natural fruit aromas and flavours.
As a wine producer passionate about quality sparkling wine, in keeping with traditional hand crafted winemaking we use of a low-yield basket press when making our sparkling and white wines. This enables us to capture the freshest flavours from our grapes and the first 50 to 55% of the juice yield. This is known as being of premium quality.
Vines and Clones
Vines were first planted in 1998 and 1999 on a very low density spacing. The rows are 2.8 metres wide, with vines every 1.1 metres apart. The low plant density helps sustain the energy in the vines during the dry summer period.
Pinot Noir – MV6 and D2V5. The D2V5 is particularly good at Parkside for producing high acidity base wine for the sparkling wines, with the MV6 clone going to pinot noir table wines.
Chardonnay – 10V5 with a small planting of K5BB. Both clones contribute in generating the refreshing lemon citrus flavours that are characteristic of our sparkling and table wines.
At Parkside, we aim for a yield of around 2 kg per vine, which produces 1.5 to 2 tonne per acre (3.3 to 4.4 tonnes per hectare). Over the last two seasons, we have averaged around 7 tonnes of handpicked grapes off the vineyard.
Using a traditional basket press, juice yield is typically only around 50-55%, producing 400 dozen bottles per year across sparkling, chardonnay and pinot noir wines.
Small boutique vineyards are thoroughly labour intensive, from hand pruning, laying down of the canes for the new season laterals, dis-budding the unwanted shoots on the stem and laterals, vertical spur positioning between the wires, canopy management, whole bunch thinning and netting to prevent bird damage, to careful hand picking of the grapes to minimise oxidation for winemaking. All vineyard management at Parkside involves these labour intensive techniques!