Jester Hill Wines
Address: Mount Stirling Road, Glen Aplin or PO Box 73 Glen Aplin QLD 4381
Phone: (02) 6625 1522
Fax: (02) 6622 3190
Details: The vineyard was established in 1993 by John and Genevieve Ashwell on a 20 hectare property in south-eastern Queensland, Australia. John holds a degree in medicine and has also completed a winemaking course through Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. Genevieve has a background in nursing and has completed a marketing and wine management course through Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. Located in Glen Aplin valley, the vineyard is approximately 10 minutes drive south of Stanthorpe in the Granite Belt area of Queensland. From the major centres, the vineyard is approximately two and a half hours drive from Brisbane, three hours from the Gold Coast and just half an hours drive north of Tenterfield in New South Wales.
The region is called the "Granite Belt" due to the nature of the terrain. Large granite boulders pepper the landscape, sometimes causing problems during planting. The soil is very porous; sandy and grey brown in colour with light clay at depth. The drainage is good and the soil is reflective due to quartz content. The Granite Belt has the required altitude (ranging from 600-1000 metres) to create distinctive seasons with cold frosty winters and warm summers. Our vineyard is 750 metres in altitude on a gently sloping northern face. The area has a mean January temperature of 21.5 degrees Celsius. The region's Heat Degree Days (HDD) reading of 1703 is equivalent to some of the best grape growing areas in Australia.
Preparation of our Vineyard The property was purchased in 1990 and originally had a small plantation of fruit trees and table grapes. These were removed and the ground rested for two years prior to the first planting. Each year the new area selected for planting was prepared by deep ripping and disking the soil with the addition of gypsum; dolomite and superphosphate. This was done to provide the soil with the right structure; pH level and nutrients.
Planting began in July 1993 with disease resistant root stock, which was then left for 12 months to establish their root system. The vines were then grafted with Shiraz scion. This regime was continued until 1997 when one year old bench grafted vines were planted to provide an earlier maturity. Plantings have continued to include Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Verdelho. Harvest extends from February to mid April while pruning occurs during July and August. To date, 5 hectares of the property have been planted with a plan to reach 7 hectares. This will eventually produce over 50 tonnes of grapes annually which is enough for a small, family run vineyard.
Day to Day Running of our Vineyard Weeds are controlled by ploughing; slashing and under vine chipping. Fertilizers of nitrogen, phosphorus and trace elements are added as required depending on the results of soil and petiole analysis. The pH of the soil is checked yearly and dolomite added as required. Soil moisture levels are checked regularly by use of gypsum blocks and water is applied when needed by irrigation to avoid vine stress.
Pruning is done by hand to maintain control over the vine and to promote appropriate spring growth. Harvesting of grapes is done by hand.
Winemaking The wine has been made at a local winery by an international winemaker. We plan to continue this way for the next few years until the winemaking side of our project is established. Eventually our aim is to have on-site winemaking. Our aim is to concentrate on producing good quality grapes with local characteristics.
The wine is made using traditional open vat fermenters with maturation in new and old French barrels for the red varieties. This year's chardonnay was barrel fermented and matured in old oak casks to give it a mild oak flavour.
Winemaker: Mark Ravenscroft
Products/Varieties: Table wines
Brands: Jester Hill Wines
Opening Times: Cellar door sales and mail order. 9.00am 5.00 pm Friday to Monday.