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Star Lane is a family owned and operated vineyard winery in the Beechworth winegrowing region
Brett Barnes is the viticulturalist and Liz Barnes is the winemaker. Rick Kinzbrunner from Giaconda Winery has assisted Liz in the making of the wine since the establishment of the winery commencing with the 2005 vintage. Rick has kindly imparted wisdom and knowledge along with a few trade secrets to help create Star Lane‚Äôs wines into wines with elegance, finesse and distinction. The fruit is all estate grown. Merlot and Shiraz are planted on red loam over mudstone soils. There is also a planting of Sangiovese and Nebbiolo on granite soil at partners Kate and Rex Lucas‚Äôs place just a couple of kilometres away. The vineyards are slightly sloping with views stretching across the hills that encircle them in the valley to which they are planted.
Being 450 metres above sea level the evenings are very cool from the mountain breezes and the days are long and sun filled. This creates a fantastic environment for growing grapes. The cool evenings allow for a long slow ripening period allowing the grapes to develop wonderful flavours and the sunny days allow for the fruit to mature, ripen and develop over the growing season. A great deal of time and effort is put into the canopy and management of the vineyards. Fruit is kept to 1.8 tonne per acre so the crop levels are very low, the vine being in perfect balance. Such low cropping levels create concentrated wines with depth and character.
Grapes are all hand picked and great care is taken by the group of pickers that come back every year to assist with the vintage to make sure that only the best gets put into the bucket. The fruit is picked in the cool of the evening and vintage is a fun and social occasion. Friends and family all get the opportunity to participate in some way.
Only the very best fruit has the opportunity of making a great wine. You cannot make fantastic wine without wonderful fruit. A lot of time and effort is put into the vineyard to insure that this is the case. Once the fruit has been picked it is processed immediately and then the magic starts to begin. Parcels are destemmed and crushed into tank where the natural yeast present on skins starts its work within a few days.
The wine takes usually a week or more to go through its process in open top fermenters. It is left on skins a week or two after primary ferment for cold maceration. The ferments are hand plunged and pumped over every four hours during ferment, even at night. Temperatures are closely monitored before the wine is basket pressed to extract the final juice from the berries and skins.
The wine is put into tank to settle overnight before transfer to barrel for secondary fermentation and natural malolactic. This process is not hurried and is allowed to go through in a long and slow motion through winter, into spring and then is completed in early summer before the heat begins. The wine is usually only racked once and egg white fining is usually used at the end of the winemaking process to soften tannins and provide a great mouth feel. The oak barrels used are 100% French with 40% to 50% new oak included in the mix of barrels each year. Sirugue and bossuet are the barrels used and the wine is kept in these barrels for almost 2 years. The wines are made to be complex with elegance and finesse and true to varietal character. They are distinct but with a reflection of the region to which they are grown.
Wines are made at Star Lane Vineyard by hand with passion and a heart felt love of the job. As anyone who has a winery knows, it takes a team of dedicated people at harvest and throughout the vintage to make a good wine. Many, many hours of work and care are tendered. Star Lane wines are truly hand crafted, there is very little chemical or additive intervention in the production. This process of making wine allows the fruit to show its true expression. This is what Star Lane are all about.
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