The vineyard was planted in 1997 on what was previously grazing land. Five different clones of Syrah are grown, all of which are progeny of the original 1850s stock imported into Australia from the Rhone. Australia is indeed fortunate to have available such wonderful rare material.
The land has been farmed biodynamic from the very beginning and it is this farming method that allows the minerality that is in this ancient granitic soil to show through in the wine. The vineyard is fully certified both organic and biodynamic and we are also proud to be one of only four Australian producers invited to be a member of La Renaissance des Appellations.
There is no doubt the old-world wines have had a great influence in creating our benchmark. We make classic old-world wine with new-world fruit.
The Castagna Vineyard is situated at an altitude of 500 metres five-and-a-half kilometres outside the historic town of Beechworth in north-east Victoria, high in the foothills of the Australian Alps.
Our soil mainly consists of decomposed granitic-loam with a predominance of quartz particles on a base of clay. The climate is distinctly Continental with hot days and cool nights during the important part of the growing season.
We make wines of terroir. Terroir is not only about soil but the whole eco-system which consists of light, heat, prevailing winds, slope of the land, length of the season and, most importantly, the organisms living and working in the soil – about a billion organisms per gram of soil. It is these micro-organisms which link the soil to the roots of the vine, strengthening and imprinting that particular soil’s authentic character.
Vines, through photosynthesis, convert air, light and heat from the ethereal into the material.
Air, light heat – into – taste, colour aroma.
The vineyard is hand-pruned and the fruit is hand-picked. We crop at a little less than two tons per acre. The winemaking is very traditional using only our own vineyard’s indigenous yeast, and that, combined with minimal interference, is the key to achieving vitality and complexity.
Elevage varies between 18-20 months using only the very best, tight-grain French oak available, about half of which is new each year.