Tuesday 19 November 2019

Canberra winery Four Winds Vineyard snaps up distinguished vineyard

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One of the Canberra District’s most established and distinguished vineyards, Kyeema Estate is now part of the Four Winds Vineyard brand.

Four Winds Vineyard CEO Sarah Collingwood said that the addition of the vineyard and winery would allow the Four Winds Vineyard brand and range of wines to grow.

“The Kyeema Estate vineyard not only gives us access to some new varieties such as Tempranillo, Chardonnay and Viognier but it also provides us with some exceptional quality fruit such as an old Penfolds clone of Shiraz and a reserve Merlot,” Sarah says.

“Fortunately, the two vineyards, Kyeema and Four Winds, are within an easy tractor drive of each other.

“The management of the vines and delivery of grapes can all be a part of our existing operations.”

Four kilometres south of Murrumbateman, the 10-acre vineyard sits on an intermediate volcanic belt that runs on the eastern side of the Barton Highway. Only a small handful of vineyards within the region have soils derived from this type of volcanic profile.

Kyeema Vineyard’s first grapes of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Ccabernet Franc were planted by Ron McKenzie in 1984-85. To this day, it is one of only a few Canberra vineyards to produce old-vine Shiraz, and it has Shiraz vines from cuttings sourced from Penfolds vineyards in South Australia.

The vineyard also sold the first grapes to BRL Hardy in the Canberra region in the mid 1990s, which convinced the wine company to invest in the area.

Most of Kyeema Vineyard was under contract to Hardys until 2006, and some vintages of both the Shiraz and Chardonnay grapes from Kyeema were blended into Hardys’ top range Eileen Hardy label due to their high quality.

Winemaker Andrew McEwin, who had been sourcing fruit from Kyeema for his label Kyeema Wines since the first vintage in 1986, bought the vineyard in 2000, eventually rebranding as Capital Wines in 2008. In 2002 he extended by planting Merlot and Tempranillo, plus further Shiraz from cuttings of the older shiraz vines. Viognier was also added in 2006.

The first vintage of Four Winds Vineyard branded wines incorporating grapes from Kyeema Estate was released in 2019.

The purchase does not include Capital Wines which will continue to trade from its cellar door at Hall.

Andrew McEwan notes that the Capital Wines business including the iconic Ministry brand is on the market should the right buyer come along.

Photo: The Four Winds family, from left: John Collingwood, Sarah Collingwood, Graeme Lunney and Suzanne Lunney.

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