Beckingham Wines are a family owned, urban winery and passionate about our wine making. Peter Beckingham makes wine under our own label, Beckingham Wines, but also makes a very large amount of wine under contract for a dozen small wineries. At the winery, we crush, ferment, mature and finally bottle sparkling, whites, reds and fortified wines.
Located in the heart of Moorabbin VIC, Victoria.
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My wife noticed an ad in the paper for a wine-making course at Box Hill TAFE, so I went. It introduced me to the Bianchet family who ran a winery in Lilydale. I took leave from work and worked the 1992 vintage (for free) as a lackey picking grapes, helping crush them, press them, and so on. I had been well and truly bitten by the bug.
In 1993, I ordered enough grapes to make a barrel of Shiraz, a barrel of Cabernet and some Sparkling.
1993 was a magic year in the Yarra Valley. The wines made themselves and survived my interference to be excellent wines even today. Suddenly I had volunteers who wanted to come and help make wine.
Over two years my wine-making group swelled to 15 people who were keen to share the work, the expense and the finished product.
The crush went from one tonne in 1993, to three tonnes, to five tonnes, to seven tonnes in 1996. This was all happening in the drive-way at home. I had taken over the basement, the double garage and my study for the purposes of making wine.
1997 was a very difficult year. It was a drought in the Yarra Valley and we were not able to obtain any red grapes at all. A friend in the Strathbogie ranges said I could follow their mechanical harvester and take whatever was left behind. We were picking individual berries rather than bunches. However the wines we made were stunning. Our 1997 Cabernet won the trophy for the Best Red at the Seymour Show with our 1997 Shiraz being runner-up. The Traminer from the same vineyard was runner up for the trophy at the Lilydale Show. These wines won Best Red, Best White and Best Wine of the Show at Eltham late in 1997.
By this stage, the wine-making equipment was halfway down the drive-way and my normally patient wife had just about had enough. She loved the wine but the aromas and mess were becoming too much.
We agreed that some factory space would be a good idea so we searched and found our current address just prior to the 1998 vintage.
It was around this time that the idea of turning this into a business started to evolve. A liquor licence seemed a sensible move then we could sell some wine and cover some of the overheads. We had a considerable amount of capital tied up in the factory building. I had just won a number of trophies and medals so we thought we could make wine commercially at least from the manufacturing perspective.
Next came the red tape that followed the official formation of Beckingham Wines Pty Ltd. We had to obtain a liquor license and for that we had to get a planning permit. The Fire Brigade had to do fire safety audits and the Council made us qualify as a food factory. They didn't actually know what to do with us. It was the first time anyone had applied to set up a winery in Moorabbin.
The challenges of starting up a small business continue. This includes building a web site and generally becoming known in the quality-end of the wine-making industry. We have had fourteen good vintages at our Warrigal Road winery and look forward to seeing people at the cellar door on weekends (or by appointment during the week). The factory complex has plenty of parking available.
Mark Burt – Cellar Master. Mark is in charge of all the production facilities and processing.
Practices & Techniques
Whites are typically whole bunch pressed in either a 400kg or a 1500kg air bag press. Fermenters are all thermostat controlled for maximum aroma retention. Whites are filtered with a lenticular filter followed by a (sterile) membrane filter. Cold stabilization is achieved by either cold storage for 3-4 weeks, by electrodialysis or reverse osmosis.
Reds are not usually filtered unless the client requests this. Beckingham Wines prefers to supply barrels as this makes barrel management .easier.
Bottling is via a Borelli monobloc and uses screw caps.
Sparkling wine production is a specialty at Beckingham Wines. We can store your wine whilst on lees so that the wine doesn’t have to be taken away and then returned for disgorging. Riddling is done by one of two riddling robots. Disgorging is all done carefully by hand.
We can fix a wide range of wine faults using reverse osmosis, electrodialysis and ion exchange technology. A 20 litre sample is the preferred volume for doing benchtop trials.