A cool day with a touch of hail didn’t stop the wine from flowing when Indigo Vineyard, nestled in the Everton foothills, celebrated its 20th anniversary this year.
On the hunt for a suitable property more than two decades ago, the vineyard’s company chairman Rob Hawkings said the search ended when an amazing site was found for sale – a sheep station known as ‘The Big Valley’ owned by the late Charles Mason and his wife Valerie Mason who now lives in Beechworth.
“We took a sheep station and turned it into a vineyard within two years,” said Hawkings.
Instrumental to the vineyard’s beginning, Hawkings said former vineyard manager, Guy Rayner came from MacLaren Vale to plant the vines in 1999 as well as Garry Lear from Sydney who joined the team to manage the project.
Now one of the biggest vineyards in the Beechworth region, Hawkings said the celebration was one of survival.
Although not burned, he said the vineyard lost its entire crop with a $1 million investment loss in the 2009 bushfires.
“We were devastated but got up and had another go,” he said.
With a great deal of work that stretched from vineyard management to cellar door, he said a dedicated effort by the small team had driven the vineyard’s success.
“Our aspiration was to make wines that were an affordable luxury and we achieved that,” said Hawkings.
The anniversary year has also marked the five star rated vineyard scoring regional winner for its ‘Secret Village Chardonnay’ in this year’s Halliday Companion’s North East Victorian Wine Challenge as well as last year.
Hawkings said the Beechworth region had a reputation for making some of the best wines in Australia.
Recent newcomer to Beechworth and a guest at the event, Robyn Donnelly, said she enjoyed drinking Beechworth wines where Indigo Vineyard was representative of excellent wines native to the area.