"At times Heggies Vineyard is a challenging and unpredictable site, each micro-site or block within the vineyard is managed individually", says viticulturist Darrell Kruger.
At 550 metres above sea level, Heggies is one of Australia's highest altitude vineyards and also one of its coolest. The close-planted clonally-selected grafted vines are grown in semi-drought conditions, meaning the soil is lean and hungry - a thin layer of grey sandy loam over clay and decomposed rock. The vines compete vigorously for moisture and nutrient, encouraging roots to dig deep into the soil where it is moist and cool throughout all seasons.
For such a unique vineyard - standard vineyard management at Heggies is impossible. Each grape variety has its own programme of care according to its position in the vineyard. Trellising and canopy structure is varied from vine to vine, as are pruning regimes and row spacings. Working with the natural advantage rather than against it is the driving force in working the vineyard and every factor is taken into consideration, including the micro-climates within the vineyard, aspect and soil type.
The main advantage of the tailored vineyard management is the flexibility it affords. Staggered maturity times for the grapes allow some breathing space to give each variety the specialised attention required during harvest and throughout the early winemaking stages - the only way of ensuring each wine is able to develop its own character and personality.