Hunter Valley Vines & Varieties
In 1989 Lisa and I planted 5 acres of vines on our home property, in the picturesque valley of Broke Fordwich. We subsequently built our winery and the home of Margan on the same property. We have a small volcanic plug of red soil behind the winery where we have planted our merlot and barbera.
Both of these varieties we planted on their own roots and in fact the barbera was taken from cuttings off the original Carlo Corino vineyard planted in Mudgee (now Montrose) which was planted with cuttings from the home of barbera in Piedmont, Italy. We pioneered and planted the first barbera in the Hunter Valley and are really excited by the results we are now seeing.
In 1997 we took a long term lease over the local Vere Vineyard which has Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Mourvedre vines all planted in the late 1960’s. The soil is red podzolic and these vines produce low yields of early ripening, intensely flavoured fruit. The Shiraz and the Mourvedre are bush vines and were randomly inter planted in the same block so our White Label Shiraz Mourvedre blend was a logical production choice (when those vines have a vintage in which they excel)!
In 1998 we purchased the Beltree Vineyard from the Elliot family. This vineyard was planted to Semillon in the early 1940’s on the alluvial creek flats of Belford. It produces a typically austere Hunter style of Semillon for our White Label range.
In 1996 Southcorp (formerly Penfolds, subsequently Fosters) decided to subdivide and sell its Lindemans Broke Vineyards. These vineyards were planted in the late 1960’s on the plug of red volcanic clay known as the Fordwich Sill. This distinctive geological feature borders the eastern edge of the Wollombi Brook in the region of Fordwich. Upon sub-division these vineyards were purchased as five separate blocks under different ownership. Over the last 10 years we have been gradually getting these vineyards back under our ownership and now we have a total of 155 acres of these beautiful old vines under our control.
Adjoining the Lindemans Vineyard, and planted at the same time, is the original Saxonvale Vineyard which we lease. With an enormous amount of restorative work we have regenerated (and saved from bulldozing) 105 acres of these special vines.
All of our vineyards are planted on their own roots and all of them use irrigation to ensure healthy growth but never to enhance yields. We prefer to use Vertical Shoot Positioning (VSP) for canopy management. We are as environmentally sensitive as we can be in this warm maritime climate and we strive to minimize our carbon footprint as much as possible. Our Semillon is grown using organic principles whilst our other varieties are treated with minimum sprays for weed and pest management and vine health.
In total we now have 260 acres of 40 year old vines on the Fordwich Sill. Our total vineyard area is over 320 acres which is sufficient vineyard to ensure we grow all of our own fruit for the Margan label. We aim for low yields to ensure maximum flavour concentration and generally crop our vines at between one and two tonnes to the acre, depending on vintage and variety.
Andrew Margan, Winemaker