Located in the heart of Bendigo, Victoria.
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In 1994, on a regular end-of-vintage holiday at the beautiful Pondalowie Bay, on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula, they made the decision to funnel their enthusiasm and experience into a vineyard and winery of their own. The Bendigo region in Central Victoria was chosen, and with family support they established 25 acres of vineyard.
The winery is named Pondalowie after the special place they decided to turn their dream into reality.
Practices & Techniques
In the winery, a modern twist to many traditional European winemaking techniques ensure that the wines have complexity and depth. Co-fermentation is a winemaking technique used by Dominic and Krystina to produce their multi-varietal wines. Harvesting and then fermenting two or more grape varieties together integrates the individual varietal flavours and produces superior balance and texture in the resulting wine. This technique is used to produce the ‘Vineyard Blend’, Shiraz Viognier and whenever possible the Cabernet Malbec wines. Malbec tends to ripen earlier than Cabernet so it is not always possible to co-ferment this wine.
Once harvested the grapes are crushed gently, to retain some whole berries, into fermentation bins of half-tonne capacity. Fermentation may commence naturally in the freshly crushed grapes before being inoculated with cultured yeast strains selected specifically for each grape variety. Once active, the ferment is ‘dumped’ from the half-tonne bins into either one of the fermenters specially designed by Dominic and Krystina or into a stainless steel open fermenter. The dumping action enhances the colour extraction from the young ferment and ensures a thorough mixing of the various half-tonne ferments, especially when varieties are being co-fermented. Continual tasting of the ferment determines the frequency of hand plunging, ‘drain and return’ and skin contact treatments the ferment receives. Generally, the ferment is left ‘on skins’ for between 6 to 24 days, during which the temperature is allowed to increase from around 20°C to 30°C. Malolactic bacteria are inoculated during the final stages of the primary fermentation.
Pressing is done through a stainless steel basket press with free-run and light pressings blended immediately. Heavy pressings are kept separate and blended back on taste. The wines finish malolactic fermentation in stainless steel tanks before being racked to a combination of French and American oak barrels, except of course for the “MT” Un-oaked wine which remains in tank. The oaked wines spend 18 months in oak and, based on tasting, are racked up to 4 times before being blended, lightly fined if required with traditional egg-white and bottled using minimal filtration. Six months bottle maturation in a temperature controlled warehouse is provided prior to release.
Estate Vineyards / AVA
In 1997 we began planting our own 20 acre property using the best clones available of Shiraz, Tempranillo, Cabernet and Viognier. The grapes from this vineyard produce the Shiraz and Vineyard Blend wines, contribute Viognier to the Shiraz Viognier blend and of course produce the Tempranillo wines; the unwooded MT and, if the vintage conditions are suitable, the Special Release Tempranillo.