Updated: Jan 13, 2019
“Terroir” is a French term meaning locality-of the vineyard.
In France, terroir is everything. Where your vineyard is located determines the amount of fruit per hectare you can grow, what your wine can be called, in some cases how it is vinified blended with other varieties, how it is sold, and especially what the price of your wine is.
What the French have learned is that the divisions between areas known to have fine “terroir” and high value, and lower quality wine and vineyard value, can be extremely sharp: it can be a matter of metres. And the products show this is true, time and time again.
Even though there is an occasional adjustment to these rules-known as the “Appellation Controlle” system, for the most part it has been shown that the divisions agreed on in some cases hundreds of years ago are still accurate.
In Australia, some vineyards have become recognised as outstanding sites, and some broader areas like Coonawarra are known to produce fine wines with some varieties, but the detailed demarcation system used in France, Italy and Spain is not present here. As a result, labelling laws are less well controlled, and there are times when the precise ingredients in an Australian bottle are unfathomable. In fact, our best-known and most expensive wines are blends from different vineyards like Grange and Hill of Grace.
Despite this, the location and characteristics of a vineyard are crucial to the wine it can produce.
The Upper Yarra Valley, where the site of Wild Fire is located, is high (400m), cool compared with Healesville/Coldstream/Yarra Glen, relatively wet, and with deep red volcanic soils aren’t found in the more traditional Valley areas. Our wines have wonderful acid and tannin structure, while imparting complex, refined and layered aromas and flavours. Although they can be drunk on release, they will absolutely benefit from ageing under good conditions. A wine aged under bad conditions is usually beyond redemption after a short time.
We believe that this area, in some ways sadly, has been changed by global warming and has already begun to supplant the traditional Valley as the site for the finest wines from Eastern Victoria.