What is it that makes a person who is happily travelling along a chosen life-pathway turn 90-degrees and head off into the unknown; a decision which would change their lives forever?
Julian and Carolann Castagna were running one of Sydney’s most successful film production houses. Julian had worked in the film industry as a Film Director all his working life but had become besotted by fine wine while working in London. Carolann was a Writer.
They decided to plant a vineyard in a place in Australia not yet universally recognised as a major viticultural area but one that Julian believed would be perfect for Syrah, and would produce fruit that had the floral fragrance, aniseed and supple, complex subtleties of good Côte-Rôtie. Not a style that was in much evidence in Australia at that time. Julian also believed that Italian varieties had great potential in the same place, so Sangiovese was also a possibility.
They sold the house and the apartment in the city and moved in to a caravan on the land: romantic for about five nights till the ants came to visit and the snakes came for a look-see. They built the winery and house out of straw-bale, learning everything on the job as they went along.
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.
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.Australia is indeed fortunate to have available such wonderful rare material.