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Secondary students collaborate with winery to launch wine in local bottle shops

Students in the vineyard at Upper Yarra Secondary College in Victoria

A collaboration between Upper Yarra Secondary College students and Oakridge Wines has come to fruition, with the Junction Street Vineyard & Co’s 2023 Vintage Pinot Noir launching in select Endeavour Group retailers on Monday. The wine is made from grapes tended and harvested by students and staff at Upper Yarra Secondary College in Victoria’s Yarra Valley, and produced by Oakridge Wines.

The third harvest from Upper Yarra Secondary College’s vineyard is available in 25 Dan Murphy’s and BWS stores across Victoria from Monday 27 May while stocks last.

Through its facilitation of the Certificate II in Wine Industry Operations, the school has forged several strong relationships across the wine industry in the Yarra Valley.

Steve Faulkner, viticulturist at the Yarra Valley’s Oakridge Wines, has guided students in the pruning, maintenance and picking of grapes for the latest vintage release, before overseeing its open top fermentation and 11-month maturation in premium French oak, and bottling in March this year.

 

Students are guided in the pruning, maintenance and picking of grapes

 

“The program at Upper Yarra Secondary College is focused on innovation, and really giving local students hands-on experience in the wine industry,” Faulkner said.

“As part of Endeavour Group, we are also incredibly proud to be able to range this year’s vintage in a number of Dan Murphy’s and BWS stores across Victoria. I know there will be many proud students, teachers and parents visiting stores this week to see the Junction Street Vineyard & Co label on the shelves.”

“I’m not aware of another program quite like it in Victoria that leads to bottling for sale to the general public. To see the entire winemaking process, from growing fruit to bottling, and even labelling, is invaluable – and hopefully will be the start of some incredible careers in the wine industry.”

Marcus Cook, a learning specialist and VET teacher at Upper Yarra Secondary College said working with the team at Endeavour Group and Oakridge over the last few years had been an invaluable experience.

 

 

“The class is exposed to industry expertise in marketing, label design, winemaking and viticulture. Working with so many experts has broadened our students’ understanding of the wine industry and inspired several students to continue this pathway as a career.

“Personally, I am grateful for the guidance of the Oakridge team, through the whole winemaking process – from vine to wine!”

Scott Tully, principal of Upper Yarra Secondary College, said the program was delivering real benefits for students.

“We began this journey more than five years ago as a concept that would lead to our students finding meaningful work in their own community.

“We were attempting to establish opportunities that meant young people could live and work in the Yarra Valley and not be forced to leave to find work. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any expertise and relied on a few wine industry people for guidance.

“Thankfully the team at Endeavour Group reached out with offers of support and have been incredibly generous with their guidance, knowledge and expertise in the industry and our program has excelled and is giving our students some incredible opportunities.”

Every year, the school holds a photography competition to coincide with harvest, with the winning photo used in the point of sale materials for the wine. This year the winner was Karl, a Year 9 student at Upper Yarra Secondary College.

The Junction Street Vineyard & Co’s 2023 Pinot Noir retails for $25 a bottle at Dan Murphy’s.

 

The Junction Street Vineyard & Co’s 2023 Vintage Pinot Noir

Junction Street Vineyard & Co 2023 Pinot Noir is available at the BWS Chirnside Park and BWS Yarra Junction, and at a variety of Dan Murphy’s stores throughout Victoria.

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