Rees Miller Estate is located on the Goulburn Valley Highway, just 4km east of Yea, which is just north of the Yarra Valley in Victoria, in a new wine region called Upper Goulburn. It is on the 37th parallel, at 240m above sea level. The vineyard is 18 acres and is planted with red varieties only being pinot noir, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot.
They specialize in high quality red wines, and have an annual production of 3,000 cases per year. The site is excellent for flavour, and vineyard management is designed to maximise this. They firmly believe that wine is made in the vineyard and that's where their efforts are concentrated.
Low yields of less than 6t/ha are achieved by spur pruning in winter and fruit pruning in summer. The use of irrigation is minimised to limit berry size, no chemical fertilisers are used, and the fruit is always harvested by hand. Care of the environment at Rees Miller Estate is uppermost in the management of the vineyard (and winery). This is not just a personal philosophy, but for very practical reasons: if the vineyard was allowed to degrade, it would be very expensive to repair, and production will be disrupted. Chemicals are avoided not only because they disrupt what nature has provided, they also interfere with the natural growth of the vines, and might result in unnatural flavours in the wine.
Traditional winemaking techniques are employed - open fermenters, hand plunging and pumping over, and basket pressing. They often use wild yeast and allow the wines to complete their MLF naturally.
This year their shiraz, called Thousand Hills Shiraz 2003, was placed in the top twenty wines of the Great Australian Shiraz Challenge competition. The judges included some of Australia's great winemakers - James Halliday, Geoff Merrill and John Duval (who made Grange for 20 years).
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