The New England area is unlike any other grape growing region in Australia, and much of this is due to the region’s diversity. Ranging from high altitude (1,000m ASL), cool climate vineyards along the spine of the Great Dividing Range, to the lower and warmer sites on the western edges of the New England Tablelands; the region offers up dramatic and unique conditions for viticulture.
Black Mountain NSW
Leased and manage by Jilly
Black Mountain is a tiny little town south-west of Guyra on top of the great divide. The vineyard was planted to Pinot Noir in 2000. The vines sit on grey basalt soil at an altitude of 1306m ASL making it the highest piece of agricultural dirt in this country. This vineyard is run by Jilly using organic practices.
Toppers Mountain Tingha NSW
Toppers vineyard is just north of Tingha (between Armidale & Inverell) on the spine of the Great Dividing Range in northern NSW. It sits on the western edge of the New England Tablelands at an altitude of 900m ASL, high above the valleys of the McIntyre and Gwydir Rivers on deep, red volcanic soils called Krasnozems.
The unique story behind this vineyard starts with the owner/viticulturist Mark Kirkby, was flying over the region in a chopper with his brother. From the corner of his eye, he saw a mass of red dirt. They both immediately decided that regardless of what they planted on this unique piece of agricultural dirt, something special would come of it. In 1997, in a moment of inspiration, Kirkby planted a vineyard with some 27 varieties before grafting over the varieties that were the most suited; leaving the 14 that remain to this day.
The foundation of Jilly wines was built of the fruit that comes from this incredible piece of dirt.
Kurrajong Downs is situated in Tenterfield on the QLD border and is the most northern vineyard in the New England GI. The vineyard sits on blue granite at 860m ASL, and is owned and run by Lynton and Sue Rhodes.