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A Real Vineyard, Oxford Landing is the perfect environment for growing grapes with vibrant, fruity flavours
Oxford Landing is a real place, a real vineyard. A place distinguished by clear blue skies, rich red soil and an abundance of golden sunshine. Established in 1958 on the banks of the majestic Murray River in South Australia, the vineyard was named Oxford Landing after a nearby site where drovers once grazed and watered sheep on the long journey to Adelaide from northern pastoral properties.
Care and attention are the hallmarks of life at Oxford Landing. Many of the people who work here also live here, it's home. They're what we like to call real people, genuine, down-to-earth individuals who are unashamedly passionate about this special place and the grapes it produces. Bill Wilksch is a good example. A local lad, he first came to Oxford Landing in 1965 to pick grapes for a day and make some pocket money. Thirty years on, Bill is Vineyard Manager at Oxford Landing. "I just took a liking to the place," he says with typical understatement. "Out here in the bush, we can grow grapes with great flavour and intensity. It's simple - great grapes make great wines."
Block by block, individual care and attention in the vineyard leads to individual wines. The consistently high quality of Oxford Landing wines stems from the time and attention devoted to the vineyard. This begins with the care and attention devoted to the 650 acre vineyard - it is managed and nurtured as 130 separate 5 acre blocks where the focus is on individual block conditions.
Vineyard Manager, Bill Wilksch and his team use many small vineyard techniques that are more common in a boutique winery, such as detailed pruning, canopy management and crop thinning, for improved flavour intensity. This detailed vine husbandry enables the creation of micro-climates within the blocks suited to each of the different grape varieties needs. Winemaker Teresa Heuzenroeder explains, "It's in the vineyard where the winemaking process begins. You need to have a feel for the place and know the blocks very well to get the best out of them."
Teresa and Bill work together all the time to ensure the end-result is as they envisaged. As Bill says "it's a real team effortâ€¦ Our group of dedicated vineyard staff lives on site and nearby, creating a strong community. Theyâ€™re always near at hand and willing to pitch in when needed and it is their care and attention that sets the basis for the Oxford Landing quality of wine."
The Murray River, one of the world's great rivers, creates an idyllic site. The Murray begins its journey in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, and winds its way over more than 2,500 kilometres to its mouth just south of Adelaide. Bordered by towering River Red Gums, historic towns and heritage walking trails, the Murray is home to hundreds of species of bird and animal life. Water management is one of the factors critical to achieving wine quality in the Riverland region where the summer heat can be strong and the soils vary from very deep sand to rocky limestone. At Oxford Landing rainfall is especially low which is why the vineyard is so reliant on the water the Murray supplies. Being able to draw Murray River water sparingly is not only kind to the environment but also encourages intense flavour development in our grapes and gives us total control over quality.
Bill Wilksch, Vineyard Manager, and the team use a combination of latest technology to monitor moisture content and getting out in the vineyard looking at each block to let the vines tell us when they need water. Although never formally studying, Bill has acquired a wealth of viticultural knowledge. "I learned everything on the job under the watchful eye of my mentor, Dudley Ward (previous Oxford Landing Vineyard Manager). Though challenging, the lessons came more easily because I already had such a passion for the Riverland and was already lapping up the intricacies of grape growing. I have also benefited from the opportunity to travel to Israel, California and New Zealand studying viticulture."
Teresa Heuzenroeder started with Oxford Landing in 2000 as the Assistant Winemaker, following a ten year career at Yalumba where she started as a Microbiologist. In 2004 Teresa became a Senior Winemaker; continuing her responsibility for Oxford Landing as well as managing the winemaking process at the new Moppa Winery which commenced production in 2005 and is now the new home for Oxford Landing winemaking. "Our approach to the vineyard and winemaking for Oxford Landing is similar to what others do for more expensive wines," Teresea Heuzenroeder, Winemaker. "Treating each block as an individual parcel, spending time in the vineyard to ensure we pick when the flavours are at their peak, and attention to detail through every step of the winemaking process is the secret to all good winemaking."
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