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Iconic Hunter vineyards saved
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Two historic Hunter Valley vineyards which were under threat — the Steven Vineyard and Tallawanta Vineyard — have been saved by De Iuliis Wines and Pepper Tree Wines respectively. Amidst the current environment of doom and gloom, giving rise to calls for pulling vines thoughout Australia, an acute sense of history was the trigger for these two Hunter producers to take action. In an age when costs of production are of paramount importance, these old vineyards are expensive to maintain and yield only about one tonne of grapes per every 0.4 hectare. But they each produce intense fruit, and to lose them would have been a travesty, according to chief winemakers Jim Chatto and Mike De Iuliis. “The Hunter Valley is the cradle of Australian viticulture and these two iconic vineyards are an important part of our region’s history,” the winemakers said in a joint statement. “We aim to make sure they play a key role in our region’s future.” Bruce Tyrrell, who is responsible for the recently launched Hunter Valley Heritage Register, welcomed the news. “It is great to see a couple of our younger generation winemakers such as Mike and Jim, going in to bat for vineyards which really are an integral part of the Hunter Valley’s grape growing history,” he said. Both De Iuliis and Pepper Tree will release wines from these vineyards from about August 2010.