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Place of Changing Winds, Heathcote Syrah Colbinabbin Vineyard 2020


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  • Winemaker:

    Robert Walters

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Only 3 Left!


A relatively newcomer to the Australian wine scene, this is an incredibly elegant Syrah. Juicy and smooth, it is packed with blackcurrant, blackberry and cherry pie along with pepper, tobacco and sweet spices. It is ripe and fresh with underlying violet, sage and olive notes. Ideal with roasted lamb. 

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Place of Changing Winds wines are grown organically, without any chemical inputs, and with minimal irrigation. This Syrah come from a single vineyard on the east-facing slopes of Colbinabbin in the northern Mount Camel Range subzone of Heathcote, Victoria. The soils here are the famous ‘Cambrian soils’—red dirt made up of eroded basalt over limestone, shot through with greenstone and jasper. The vines were planted here between 2012 and 2018 to a density of 12,000, 14,500, 20,000, 25,000 and 33,000 thousand vines per hectare. By way of comparison, densities in Australia are typically between 1,500 and 3,000 per hectare. The logic behind these high density plantings are various and complex but in simple terms they help to force the vine roots down, making the vines pump from the sub soil, and they reduce the yields per vine significantly.

The Colbinabbin Syrah was fermented naturally with no sulphur and varying levels of crushing and time on skins, including some full carbonic maceration. The logic of our approach was to use whole berry and whole bunch fermentation to bring perfume and finesse to the natural power of Heathcote. Fermentation was in stainless and concrete tank and the aging was mostly in large, neutral oak (Stockinger) and some older barriques (from a range of coopers). There is no obvious oak. Neither fined nor filtered. 


After a long career in wine, mainly as a buyer, Robert Walters and his partner Kate Millard started the Place of Changing Winds winery. Initially, they could not find anything that met all of their requirements until, in 2011, a local winemaker told them about an interesting site that was for sale in Bullengarook. That property would become Place of Changing Winds. As soon as Kate and Rob visited the property, they knew it was the one. It just felt right and the geology (free draining yet with enough clay), the rainfall, the cool climate at some 500+ meters altitude, the aspects that were available, and the history of the property (with no inputs for decades) gave some confidence that they could grow serious and unique wine here.

Located between two mountains—Mt Macedon and Mt Bullengarook—the site was historically known as Warekilla, local Wurunjeri language for Place of Changing Winds. It’s a rolling, hilly, rocky place, surrounded by forest, that sits at around 500 metres elevation, on the southern edge of the foothills of Mt Macedon. PoCW have almost 45,000 vines planted across our 3.1 hectares of vineyard. The farm itself is over 33 hectares so the vineyard makes up only a small part of the environment. 

For their Syrah Rob collaborated with Crozes-Hermitage growers Alain and Maxime Graillot. For practical reasons, this vintage marks the last in which the Graillot clan had any direct involvement, yet Alain and Max remain great friends and allies.

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