You don’t have to live in the Yarra Valley or Mornington Peninsula to grow grapes and as we increasingly appreciate the subtle nuances that go along with the making and appreciation of wine, a mini backyard vineyard is a wonderful addition to your home.
Practically anywhere in Melbourne is suitable – after all, grapevines in backyards are already a familiar sight, trailing over trellises to provide us with Summer shade, but they can also be grown for wine making.
It depends on how much space you want to give over to your personal vineyard, but it isn’t as much as you might think. The typical quarter acre (tenth of a hectare) Melbourne backyard can, surprisingly, produce enough fruit to make maybe a thousand bottles of wine.
The key to success is to get a good knowledge of the whole process, from planting to fermenting.
Jen Doyle is vigneron for Jansz Wines and winner of the Viticulturist of the Year at the 2017 Australian Women in Wine Awards. She emphasises the key to success in viticulture and winemaking is preparation – and then some more preparation.
“Physical, chemical and biological soil analysis, rainfall, sunshine, frost, seasonal temperatures, irrigation, nutrition, fertilisers, compost, protection from fungi, insects, birds, etc….the list goes on,” she says.
Another choice to make is what variety of grapes to grow. Jen says it comes down to two things: what suits the location and what suits your own taste.
“Track down information that matches grape varieties to specific climates,’ she advises, “You can also do your personal research by drinking specific varieties from specific regions and understand what you like. You don’t have to be an expert to make it work, but good knowledge and understanding helps it work well!”
A lot of effort, perhaps, but well worth it when you and your partner are sitting down to a beautiful dinner with friends and proudly pouring your first bottle of “Chateau Nous”.
Still sceptical it can’t be done? Marshall White is currently offering 22 Chaucer Crescent in Canterbury for sale which has the productive “’88 Vines” vineyard featuring the northern Italian red varietals, Barbera and Dolcetto.