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Right in the centre of the enchanting Shire of Nillumbik, at the western end of the Yarra Valley in the village of Kangaroo Ground you will find the Redbox Winery
Set on a property, named Wildfell by the first landholder in 1851, the Redbox Estate's fruit is gingerly tended and harvested to produce a fine range of wines. The Shire of Nillumbik is steeped in history and dotted with villages and towns, each with its own special magic. Names like Cottle's Bridge, Panton Hill, St Andrews, Hurstbridge and Wattle Glen all hinting of a culture brought to the region by the Scottish settlers in the early 1800s. The eight acre vineyard was originally planted to Riesling, Chardonnay and Cabernet in 1986. It's proximity to Melbourne and the rolling hills broken by dense stands of Red Box and other eucalypts makes it a haven for weekend visitors and wine tasters from all over.
Redbox wines are drawn from the Redbox vineyard, as well as associated vineyards in the Yarra Valley, Perricoota, and Mornington Peninsula. Innovative approaches to viticulture and vinification affords the winemaker access to parcels of the finest Yarra Valley fruit with the ability to fashion some wonderfully unique wine styles. In the hospitality and tourism category, Redbox Cellar Door was one of the three finalists, pipped by the Eltham Gateway Hotel and Conference Centre for first place, a proud achievement for the young winery that has encouraged the staff to constantly improve the amenity of the cellar door, and of course, the lovely wines.
Spring is the most exciting period in the year for the Redbox vineyard, as the vines are in their most prolific state. The entire Yarra Valley is dressed in brilliant hues of green, the vines have flowered, and bunches are forming. Throughout spring and the early summer, cutting the grass, eliminating weeds, and in general, grooming the vineyard is a full time job. The Redbox Vineyard and Winery has been brought to life over the past years, and the Spencer family happily welcomes visitors every weekend.
Tasters will find that each wine is true to type, in its varietal make-up and origins, as the wines are strongly related to origin and a sense of place. The mellow smooth flavour of Redbox wines is consistent across the range. Perricoota Shiraz 2003, 2004 and 2005 were all put up for wine judging in separate events, and each one received one or more medals. A similar situation has occurred with other red and white Redbox wines. Any kind of a medal is considered important, but to get 19 medals in the space of six months, is an outstanding achievement.
Redbox has excellent stocks of big selling wines, including the unique Mourvedre - the most romantic wine on earth. Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Barbera are in plentiful supply, as are the popular white wines. In 2006, Redbox produced some exotic products. One of two dessert wines, Ice Riesling promises to be extremely popular, and the innovative Cabernet Dessert wine has debuted to rapturous interest.
In 2004, Redbox made their first Methode Champonoise Sparkling Rose. Fermented in the bottle for two years, 100 dozen Sparkling Rose were produced, and in less than two months only 30 cases were left. Now it trickles out of the stock room at a pace which will make it linger until the release of the Redbox Blanc de Blanc Sparkling Chardonnay, a new edition of the Sparkling Rose, and a truly unique Sparkling Merlot, all methode champenoise of course. The Redbox Classic Tawny Port was so popular, that a second barrel had to be tapped. It is a slow task to hand fill and individually label each bottle, but the Classic Tawny is such a superb product, it is actually a labour of love. The winery's Big Shed opposite the Redbox Cellar Door has recently been made fully operational with the luxury of space to store wine, and the huge amounts of equipment needed to operate a vineyard.
The Big Shed has been a most useful asset, permitting the removal of all the older sheds and lean-to's from the property so that people can see more of the vineyard and enjoy a better view of the surrounding hills. The place is great, the wine is even better, but the people who live there and work there, really look forward to meeting new friends each weekend and on public holidays.
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WARNING Under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 it is an offence to supply alcohol to a person under the age of 18 years. The penalty exceeds $6,000.
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