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Fast track expansion for Geelong’s Jindalee Winery

The world’s largest air bag wine press, a Bucher Vaslin model ROI 750 from France with a nominal press capacity of 75,000 litres is being readied for installation at the Jindalee Winery on the outskirts of Geelong.

The Jindalee project which is 100% family owned by the Littore brothers David & Vince is fast tracking an expansion for the 2008 vintage which will lift the grape crush capacity from an existing 3,000 to 15,000 tonnes.

Most of the grapes are trucked in to the Jindalee site from the 1,000 hectares of vineyards which the Littore’s have in full production in the Sunraysia area supplemented by some fruit purchased from the local district and Swan Hill growers

In 1999 the Littore brothers purchased the former boutique Idyll vineyard and winery as a processing site for grapes from their Sunraysia vineyards.

Now with over 1,000 ha of vineyards in full production near Mildura, the Littore brothers are confidently expanding their winery crush capacity from 3,000 to 15,000 tonnes with most of the facility expected to be in place for the current vintage.

The expansion will bring their total investment in the project up to almost $30 million with the current expansion phase having a budgeted cost of about $11 million.

Managing Director Vince Littore says his family’s project is not a bulk wine producing facility but is a fully integrated winery business from the vineyards to bottled and labelled wine.

“We are not contract winemakers.”

“We control the whole process from crushing the grapes to bottling the wine under the watchful eye of our winemaking team”.

The Jindalee project which employs up to 40 people has been very successful in creating and servicing significant export markets for bottled wines pitched at or about $A10 a bottle.

“We export our bottled wines to over 20 countries with the UK, the USA, the former Russian states and Poland being the major markets.

“In recent times China is also increasing in significance.

“We also have a number of export customers for whom we produce wines under their own designated labels” Vince adds.

Resident winemaker at Jindalee, Chris Sargeant says that while $10 a bottle price is the objective for the wines which are drink now styles, the company objective is to ‘over deliver on quality’.

The Jindalee Circle Collection wine range which retails in the sub $10 bracket, has been recognised as “over delivering on quality” (for chardonnay) by no less than noted writer and Show judge James Halliday.

The original 15 ha Idyll vineyard which remains has been revitalised and provides the fruit for effectively a single vineyard reserve wine range marketed under the Littore Idyll Vineyard label for about $28 a bottle.

Jindalee also operates its own cellar door and is on the local Geelong wine route.

Vince says that the corporate business plan is to eventually reach a 30,000 tonne crush capacity each vintage although this might take five years or more, while additional plans include an expanded bottling capacity and the introduction of some of the newer wine varietals to their range.

The addition of sparkling wine production facilities, that will facilitate the extension of the wine range for export and local markets, is another near term objective.

Jindalee’s current expansion phase involves over 60 new stainless steel wine tanks, additional refrigeration capacity, plus significant winery support services.

As a key unit in the current winery expansion the new Bucher Vaslin ROI 750 air bag wine press has been supplied by Vinvicta Products.

It will sit alongside an existing Bucher Vaslin XP 250 press of 25,000 litre capacity.

Vinvicta principal Steve Jenkinson says that the while currently awaiting completion of the pour of its concrete foundations for commissioning the new press is the largest and first Bucher press of its type to be installed in the Australian wine industry or internationally.



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