Pioneering Grüner Veltliner production in Orange

Image courtesy Stockman’s Ridge

Grüner Veltliner is intrinsically linked to Austria, accounting for around 30 per cent of their national plantings. In Australia plantings are small, albeit increasing, with over 60 winemakers currently making a Grüner.

The variety performs particularly well in the cooler climates, making the Orange Region a natural bedfellow. Stockman’s Ridge is currently one of the only producers of Grüner Veltliner in Orange, where there is only eight tonnes of the variety crushed in 2022.

The Stockman’s Ridge Grüner Veltliner was planted on the north-western slopes of Mount Canobolas at 800 metres elevation in 2012. With the vineyard maturing, vigneron and owner Jonathan Hambrook is confident in the variety and actively pioneering it in the region.

“Orange’s long cool ripening and high sunshine hours is perfect for this variety,” says Hambrook.

“It’s an exciting new variety for the region and one that has a great history growing in the colder, high elevation climates.

“After we planted the vines, we had years of drought. As a result, the vines sent their roots deep in search of moisture.

“Over the past few vintages, we have experienced good vintages and the deep-rooted vines are now producing excellent quality and yields. This has allowed us to experiment with different styles.

“We are gaining valuable experience with this variety and foresee a great future for it. Riesling and Chardonnay are excelling in the region, and it was logical that Grüner Veltliner would also succeed. Time will be the judge, but all the indicators so far are positive.”

The vines have been grown in a unilateral/single cordon system. They are planted close together at one metre spacings with the cordon 80cm from the ground in a similar fashion to the old growth vineyards of Bordeaux.


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