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In 2001 the Calverts planted a four-hectare vineyard of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The vintage they had spent in Burgundy in 1992 inspired them to plant Burgundian varietals well-suited to the Irrewarra climate. The site chosen was next to their homestead on the Otway foothills at Irrewarra, overlooking the spreading plains and Mount Gellibrand. The site had a metre of brown sandy loam over clay and was well-drained and north-facing.
Irrewarra region is historically wet, so the decision was made to have a dryland vineyard, to not irrigate, following the Burgundian tradition. It was believed this would result in a more concentrated wine, exhibiting more of the local terroir. Unfortunately, the planting was followed by a 10-year drought and a viable crop took years to achieve. But the climatic conditions forced the vines to send their roots deeper into the sub-soil and the underlying clay base. Now, even in hot, dry summers, more common with each passing year, the vines remain green and healthy until autumn.
In 2015 one of Australia’s finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay producers, By Farr, owned by Gary and Robyn Farr and their son Nick and wife Cassie, took over the management of the vineyard. After a few years the grapes were of such quality, that it was decided to vinify the wine separately to the By Farr wines and release it under the Irrewarra label. The first release in 2017 was of the 2016 Chardonnay (96/100 James Halliday) and the 2015 Pinot Noir (94/100 Ralph Kyte-Powell). The wines continue to receive impressive reviews, each vintage a unique expression of the growing season.
Irrewarra Wines are sold in fine wine stores in both Australia and internationally and can be found on the wine lists of many of Australia’s best restaurants. They can also be purchased on the Wine By Farr website.