We have 7.5 hectares of vineyard at Purple Hen and also manage and take fruit from a 2.5 hectare vineyard directly across the Bay from us, near San Remo. Across the two sites we have the following varieties, in order of area from largest to smallest:
- Red varieties – Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot
- White varieties – Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Viognier and Pinot Gris
Climatically, the Island site is slightly cooler than the site near San Remo. However, probably the largest differences are in soils and topography – the San Remo site being steeper northerly and the soils shallower and less rich in plant nutrients. These differences are reflected in vigour – the Island site is more vigorous and requires more time and effort in canopy control.
The two sites provide a very clear example of the importance of terroir in winegrowing. The site specific differences in soil, topography and climate have an observable impact in the vat – particularly for red wines. In most years the red wines from the Island site are more aromatic and lifted while those from the San Remo site have greater structure. These differences compliment each other when producing the final blended wine.