The essential features of Bass Phillip’s approach to wine are described below:
After planting most of the initial Estate vineyard to the Bordeaux varieties in 1979, the vineyard was entirely replanted to pinot noir and chardonnay by the mid ‘eighties.
The first pinot noir was made in 1984, and the first commercial release, including the 1985 to 1989 vintages, occurred in 1991. Immediately the local market took great interest in Bass Phillip. 1989 was the first vintage in which the separate Reserve, Premium and Estate pinots were vinified. These separate vattings were distinguished over the previous five years through many, small-batch fermentation trials.
The separation of vineyard sub-plots into these different cuvees has continued to this day.
We use only organically-accepted, commercial chemicals as fungicides (sulphur, copper salts, canola oil, potassium carbonate), plus natural substances made from various locally grown leaves. Biodynamic preparations are also used (500,501, equisetum and various compost preparations). We use no artiticial fertilizers nor pesticides. The only pesticide in use is bacillus thurengiensis (organic). We are also experimenting with organic trichoderma preparations for fungal disease management.
The majority of our vineyards are planted to 9,000 vines/hectare. This compares with approximately 2,000 vines/HA in Australia, and 10,000 vines/HA in Burgundy, France. We have a small, experimental vineyard operating at 17,000 vines/HA.
We achieve cropping levels between 1.0 and 1.3 tonnes per acre (i.e. 16 to 22 hectolitres/HA) with less than ten bunches per vine …… a naturally balanced growth habit in our vineyards. This is barely half a bottle of wine per vine. We believe this contributes to a high standard of complexity, texture and mineral expression.
Pinot noir does not like dry climates. Have a look at Burgundy and Champage, where the rainfalls are not low, but more importantly, the soils continually hold moisture. Ambient humidity helps to develop and retain delicate aromatics: something all pinot lovers seek!
Known for dairy and beef produce, there are few vineyards in South Gippsland. Free-draining, deep, mineral–rich soils produce vigorous plant growth and rich flavours in all fruits and vegetables. High rainfall provides significant fungal disease pressure and major management issues with growth vigour. Managing a vineyard with low crops is a special challenge in this region. We certainly do not need to irrigate our vineyards, nor do we experience stressful conditions from lack of water in the peak of summer. Autumn conditions are usually balmy: mild sunny days, with occasional rainfall until late in April. Harvesting dates from late March to mid-April for pinot noir are well-matched to the South Gippsland climate.Sku: LQ504328