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Richard and Pam Austin began their journey with wine 27 years ago with a five-acre vineyard, in Geelong, dedicated to making super premium wines for Australia‚Äôs best restaurants
The Austins planted their first vines in the Barrabool Hills, southwest of Geelong, in the early 1980s. The soil they turned was the same worked by the pioneering Swiss more than a century before. During it's nineteenth century heyday, the Geelong region was recognised as producing some of the finest red wines made in Australia's first one hundred years. This was at a time when the Victorian wine industry out-produced the sum of the South Australian and New South wales industries by a factor of two. The area suffered badly in the second half of the nineteenth century when phylloxera (a grapevine pest) and bureaucracy combined to destroy the region. The Moorabool Valley re-emerged in the first days of the Victorian wine industry's renaissance, in the 1960s. Recognition of that link has played a major part in the Austin family's affair with wine and the move to Sutherlands Creek.
In the 1990s, the family purchased a large property near Bannockburn, in the Geelong region. Richard Austin set about planting of 150 acres of vines with the single-minded focus of producing the best value Pinot Noir in the world. One of the great challenges in modern winemaking is to consistently produce Burgundian-style Pinot Noir at an affordable price. The success of that determination, in achieving a pinot noir for the people, comes down to the acumen and persistence of the Austins family, an expertise well-honed in the corporate world and a love and understanding of the wine and food. Richard Austin propagated the business plan and planted the vines. Pam Austin drove sales and, more recently, their son Scott Austin assumed control of the company and took Austins to the rest of the world.
The climate, the rolling slopes of this part of the Moorabool Valley and the soil combine in a terroir that supports the vines with first-class fruit the result. Terroir is all important. The world's best wines are made from the world's best vineyards. The pinot noir produced by Austins argues consistency of style and quality. The fruit and, thereby, the wine has a distinct point of difference with its peers. That difference impacts your senses - you can smell it and taste it.
The premium quality, of the pinot noir, is augmented by the mix of six clones throughout the vineyard. Austins vineyard, at Sutherlands Creek, includes one of the largest, family-owned holdings of Pinot Noir in Australia. The property also has small plantings of riesling, chardonnay, pinot gris, viognier and shiraz, all of which produce exceptional fruit in the cool climate conditions of the Moorabool Valley, a sub-region of Geelong.
Austins is situated in the heart of the Moorabool Valley, a sub-region of Geelong. Though one of Australia‚Äôs most recently recognised sub-regions, the Moorabool Valley can trace its wine industry roots back to the early 1840s, when Swiss immigrants began planting vines. These were some of the earliest plantings in Victoria.
Today, the Moorabool Valley produces high quality fruit for both white and red wine. In terms of style, these wines sit between those from the Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula. It is a region of great promise and one that can harness the generosity of the Australian circumstance and offer wines of grace and finesse. Bounded by the vineyard at Sutherlands Creek and based on the history of the Geelong region, that core is shaped by the terroir of the site and given momentum by the perception and acumen of the Austin family. The blend of these elements transforms premium grapes into wines of finesse. Great pinot noir is perfection. For those who enjoy making it and those who want to pour another glass, pinot noir is the ultimate example of less is more, in the world of red wine. This growing band of supporters sees a wine that offers extraordinary detail and complexity within a fine and restrained package; while the impact on the senses can be immense, the touch is light.
There is growing diversity in the style of pinot noir. While the Australian genre is restricted to the cooler climes, there are subtle differences in fruit profile, generosity and tannin structure to be found. Internationally, the range is greater. Pinot noir from Austins sits easily amongst its peers though it has one significant difference. Within aroma and flavour profiles, both Austins and sixfootsix pinot noirs offer a distinct suggestion of spice that sets them apart. It is this reflection of terroir that lifts both wines above the pack - and closer to perfection.
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