“It’s a site that demands attention,” says Nick Farr of this place in the heart of Western District farming country, approximately 150 kilometres south-west of Melbourne. The name Irrewarra is an Aboriginal term meaning “long spear throw” and it’s partly the thrill of the hunt that drew Nick to this frontier. Think dairy, beef, sheep, wheat, hay and forestry production. Irrewarra is surrounded by inland lakes and volcanic plains. It’s a diverse and beautiful landscape that captures plenty of rainfall throughout the year. The Western plains are exposed to the elements, which contributes to the site’s mystique. The dry-grown vineyard sits at the top of the slope facing Salt Lake and the Calvert Lough to the north.
Vineyard owners John and Bronwyn Calvert, of Irrewarra Sourdough Bakery, share with the Farr family an appreciation of honest, homegrown food and wine. The vineyard was planted in 2001 to a mixture of clones on their own roots. It’s predominantly Pinot Noir, with six acres, with a further two acres planted to Chardonnay. When Nick learned from John in 2011 that the vineyard had been left untended for a couple of years, he jumped at the chance to work with it. 2012 was his first vintage handling the fruit, and the Farrs now have a long-term lease in place, giving Nick the freedom to explore a completely new challenge.
The soils across the slope are a mixture of grey sandy clay loams at the south end, to dark brown loams with fragments of buckshot and quartz gravels towards the north – all with underlying brown to yellow clays. Overall the soils remain very moist throughout the year thanks to the clay base and annual rainfall of 885mm. This gives a very attractive, damp-earth character to the fruit and wine. Harvest comes in April after a steady, drawn-out growing season, resulting in great fruit expression and a deceptively long, mineral palate.
Irrewarra is one of Australia’s most brilliant winemakers pushing himself further, delving into new territory and giving voice to another captivating landscape. Don’t miss this chance to feel the thrill of the hunt, and share its spoils.
2016 Irrewarra Chardonnay RRP $66
2015 Irrewarra Pinot Noir RRP $66