Producing good wine in Wingham

Handled with care: Fruit pickers picked the grapes at Jacaranda Estate earlier this year before the fruit was hand pressed on site and sent to a winemaker in Orange to be turned into a variety of different wines.
Handled with care: Fruit pickers picked the grapes at Jacaranda Estate earlier this year before the fruit was hand pressed on site and sent to a winemaker in Orange to be turned into a variety of different wines.

The wines at Wingham vineyard Jacaranda Estate have a distinctively European flavour.

“I’m not really sure why that is,” said estate owner Mark Smith.

But he’s not complaining.

It must be nice to have people compare your first bottles of wine to those produced in France and describe your first ever rose as ‘subtle.’ 

But how do you produce good wine in a “viticulturally challenging” area like Wingham?

“You’ve got to work out what to do instead of just using standard techniques,” Mark said.

Jacaranda Estate vines.

Jacaranda Estate vines.

“We set out to grow great fruit, and we’ve done that.”

Mark relies not only on experience but a lot of instinct when it comes to making his wine.

He gave no instructions to his winemaker for example.

“I was trusting,” he said.

Read more: Wingham’s Jacaranda Estate opening soon

Mark picked the grapes when he felt the time was right and then handed them all over to his winemaker in Orange.

“He does what he wants to do.”

The results have so far been pleasing in 2017. 

But winemaking isn’t just a once only venture.

The vines will bear fruit again next year ready to be picked and pressed all over again.

The challenge, therefore must be to get a consistent flavour.

“It is probable our wines could be quite different,” said Mark.

He doesn’t seem to mind a bit and finds the whole exercise quite interesting.

Mark’s love of viticulture is obvious and he is quick to point out that his grape growing is more an art than a science.

His son David also moved to Wingham to help out.

Both father and son have worked together previously in vineyards in the Blue Mountains and David also brings a good knowledge of viticulture to the new venture.

The old grape press works a treat at Jacaranda Estate.

The old grape press works a treat at Jacaranda Estate.

Plans are already underway to add other types of drinks to the Jacaranda Estate range.

Manning white corn has just been planted on site to make corn beer next year and the pomace, or solid remains of the grapes left over after pressing, are ear marked to be turned into a spirit which will form the basis of fruit liquors.

All fruit in the liquors, like everything else sold with the Jacaranda Estate label, will be grown on site from the estate’s own orange, mandarin and cumquat trees.

Related: Wingham’s wines