The Gillards Road vineyard, surrounding our cellar door, is particularly special to our family – it's part of our home. Since the vineyards were planted in the mid-1980s, we’ve toiled the land, planted traditional varietal clones and nurtured them to produce some of our most renowned wines. This includes The Obsessive Chardonnay, along with our much-loved Yellow Label Chardonnay. Take a virtual tour as Jerome Scarborough and Liz Riley explore this special vineyard site.
Soil type: Terra Rossa – red brown earth over limestone base
Size of vineyard: 8ha
Vine/ Row Orientation: the vines run east to west
Varietals planted: Chardonnay, pinot noir
Scarborough wines produced: Obsessive Chardonnay, Yellow Label Chardonnay, Scarborough Vintage Blend Pinot Noir
Fun fact you may not know: It was a family affair in planting this vineyard. During the mid-’80s Merralea and Ian Scarborough (Scarbie), along with Ian’s mum Thelma, planted the vineyard, with their daughter Sally also helping on weekends. Every week, a few more rows would be planted, and Sally reminisces that it was a great way to spend her childhood.
Get Down and Dirty: All you need to know about Gillards Road Vineyard
The Gillards Road property was planted back in the early 1980s to traditional chardonnay clones of I10V1 and I10V5. Originally sourced from Champagne, the majority of older chardonnay vines across Australia are also planted with these clones.
Sitting on the porch of our Cellar Door, you can admire the love and attention that has gone into nurturing the vines planted alongside the homestead. Open a bottle of our chardonnay and you will taste the fruits of our labour straight from the glass. It took plenty of love and attention (and a fair bit of bulldozing) to make it the special patch of dirt it is today. Scarbie had an unwavering vision to create a vineyard to produce exceptional regional depictions of chardonnay, a site specifically selected for the soils. These are our oldest family-owned vines and are the backbone of The Obsessive Chardonnay and Yellow Label Chardonnay. There is also a small portion on this property that is planted to pinot noir, using the MV6 clone.
It's more than just dirt! Liz Riley calls it the stuff ‘you could just eat, it’s so beautiful!’ The soils on our original vineyard are red brown earth (clay loam) over limestone base, also known as Terra Rossa. This unique parcel of Terra Rossa in the Hunter Valley is ancient land, soils that are free-draining with moderate fertility, ideal for growing our unique style of chardonnay and pinot noir. It’s part of the reason why the wines are so distinctive, reflecting the soil and imparting flavours like white and yellow peach, and almond characters in our chardonnay. You often hear of similar soil found in Coonawarra, but the profile here in the Hunter is much older. Listen as Liz describes the characteristics of this vineyard profile.
The hillside vineyard at Gillards Road has a predominately northerly aspect – this ensures optimum sunshine hours on the vineyard. The vineyard floor is nurtured with composted mulch in the under-vine area, with mid-row cover crops of cereals, peas and broad beans used to enhance soil health and structure. This also provides food and shelter for beneficial insects that help provide a healthy vineyard ecosystem.
Chardonnay and pinot noir are managed with a vertically shoot positioned (VSP) canopy for optimum canopy management.
This home vineyard is truly a special site. It is one of the earliest vineyards to be picked each year, a sure-fire sign that vintage is underway. Learn more about our distinctive Scarborough Vineyards – come and explore The Cottage Vineyard, with Jerome and Liz explaining why it's so different to Gillards Road.