Yarra ValleyThe Yarra Valley was first planted by the Ryrie brothers who explored a way through the Snowy Mountains to the Yarra Valley, planting grapes in 1838 just three years after the foundation of Melbourne. A wine industry (developed by Swiss Settlers particularly Hubert de Castella and Baron Guillaume de Pury in the 1850s) thrived during the gold rush era and heyday of the 19th century. However, the end of the gold rush brought the wine industry into decline and it was not until the 1970’s that the modern wine industry started up again. The region is probably Australia’s best-known cool-climate area, yet it is really a patchwork of meso-climates. This varied topography creates an incredible set of variables. Vineyards are planted on elevations of 50 to 400m on varying aspects and management programmes. The more exposed sites are subject to severe spring frosts and winds. Overall, the area experiences a relatively high rainfall pattern and is known for its temperature extremes during ripening. Site selection is crucial, with the best vineyards often located where the original vines were once planted, generally on sandy clay loams and gravels. The Yarra Valley is well known for high quality Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Blends with Shiraz increasingly garnering attention. Sparkling wine production is also extremely important, with many of Australia’s finest examples produced in the region.
Serrat is the boutique family label of renowned winemaker Tom Carson and his wife Nadège. Located near the township of Yarra Glen in the Yarra Valley, their small vineyard holdings consist of 0.8ha each of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, 0.4ha of Shiraz, and a small amount of Viognier. Serrat is a Catalonian word meaning close-planting and Serrat’s vineyard is planted to 8800 vines per hectare, four times more than the average Australian density. Highly labour intensive, each vine grows enough grapes for about one bottle of wine a year.