At Two Hands Wines, a key part of our journey is the further development of our own estate vineyards.
A chance conversation last year provided Michael with the opportunity to consolidate Two Hands’ vineyard holdings on Seppeltsfield Road, taking us to 900m of frontage along the gateway to the Western Ranges of the Barossa Valley. The most recent addition to our estate, the ‘Holy Grail’ vineyard, is a viticulturist’s dream: 15 acres of 18 year old Shiraz, adjoining our existing 70 acre block which is ready for planting from 2016. With its rich red-brown earth, strong clonal selection and its eastern sloping aspect, we’ve already seen some huge potential in the wines from our first harvest in 2015, even at this early age.
After extensive soil studies and viticultural research, plans are well underway for turning this property into one of the iconic vineyards of the Barossa. Nothing from here is being left to chance.
With a vast array of soil depths and types through the site, careful consideration has been placed on selecting a diversified range of Shiraz clones to optimise viticultural development across the property. Through the depths of winter 2015, the Two Hands winery team were out with snips in hand, taking 40,000 cuttings from some of the great vineyards in the Barossa, Clare and Eden Valley regions. The clonal diversity will create interest on the palate too once the vines reach maturity, designed to take us away from the commonplace 1654 clone that was so widely planted across South Australia in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The site also lends itself to other varieties and space has been set aside for small sections of Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Mourvèdre, to complement our portfolio.
The Holy Grail vineyard is a viticulturist’s dream
For now the focus is on the growing season in our existing vineyards, but after vintage 2016 is when the real fun begins. Various activities will enter into full swing, with deep ripping of the vine rows to prepare the soils for planting, as well as irrigation and trellis installation. As we head into early September 2016, the mammoth task of vine planting will begin, with a grand total of over 60,000 vines to be planted on our new site over two years. Once fully developed, Two Hands holdings will move to 120 acres under vine in the Western Ranges, plenty to keep my hands full.
As well as the new development, the current Two Hands estate vineyards are growing at a promising rate. From Kraehe House Block in Marananga to Coach House Block in Greenock, the yield for next vintage is looking as strong and consistent as we’ve seen in the Barossa for a few years. Growing the highest quality grapes, we would expect our estate vineyards to crop to a relatively low figure of 2.5 tonnes of fruit per acre, but we have fallen well short of this in recent years on the back of lower winter rains and warmer growing seasons.
The combination of our existing blocks and new developments provides a fascinating contrast and will provide an enormous source of fruit styles for the winemaking team to work with as the vines mature over the years ahead. Exciting times indeed.