location & history.
Our Vineyard's previous history
The site that we have selected for our vineyard has a very proud and colourful history. Wine was first produced at Axe Creek in 1860 by three German immigrants. They developed a substantial vineyard and winery operation called “Hercynia Vineyard” in the 1870’s and 1880’s and became the largest single site vineyard in the Bendigo region.
The Hercynia Vineyard wines received broad acclaim for their quality in the 1880’s, winning a number of international wine shows and local gold medals.
The dreaded Phylloxera vine insect brought an end to the vineyard in 1893, and it has remained “wine-free” until our arrival in 1997.
For a detailed history of the “Hercynia Vineyard”, from it’s beginnings in 1860 to now, click here.
Black Estate Vineyard is located at Axe Creek, in Central Victoria. We are approximately 16km from Bendigo, 25km from Heathcote and 150km north of Melbourne.
Axe Creek lies to the south east of Bendigo. The area is well known for its primary production values (primarily sheep, cattle, and broad acre cropping). Axe Creek is also home to a growing number of people who enjoy the country lifestyle.
Our history to date
We purchased a 20 acre block of land in Patons Road, Axe Creek in July 1997. We were attracted to the site by the contours of the land, the soil structure, and the proximity to Bendigo. The soil type is sandy loam of approximately 100mm over red and yellow clay.
In negotiations with the previous owner, we discovered that our site was once part of a larger property with a very rich grape growing and wine making history (see below). This showed that our initial attraction to the site was well founded.
We planted a trial row of 100 shiraz cuttings on the block in 1998, and monitored their progress. It seemed that the site was capable of producing wines in the style that we wanted – low yielding vines with low vigour and concentrated flavours. This is typical of the red wines from the Bendigo region, and exactly what we were looking for.
We planted 2 acres of shiraz rootlings in October 1999, and carefully nurtured them onto the cordon and fruiting wires. Rather than “rush” our vines to production, we have allowed them to develop a sound trunk and arm structure before allowing them to produce fruit. Our first small crop of shiraz grapes (one and one-half tonne) was harvested in late March 2002.
In a good season, we anticipate between 3 and 4 tonne of fruit from our existing 2 acres under vine. This is considerably less than some other regions, but it fits our overall aim of producing highly concentrated and full-bodied wines.
We would like to expand our operations to include some additional grape varieties. Future plantings, though, will depend on water availability – we rely solely on catchment dams for our irrigation needs.