Buying an established vineyard reminded me that rather than owning the land, I am its carer, given temporray stewardship. The traditional owners are the Boon Wurung tribe of the Kulin nation who managed this area for thousands of years respecting all its parts whether they be land or plant. It is for this reason that I care for my land and have tried to avoid excessive use of monoculture style farming. I have also tried to remove invasive plants that are not native such as ragwort and have even particpated in establishing predatory moths to control ragwort.
The vineyard is rich with the noise of insects, birds and several species of frogs, a status I wish to continue.
Eldridge Estate is on the Tertiary basalts of the Eocene-Oligocene (36-53 million years of age) at Red Hill, situated in rolling hills at an elevation of about 225 metres.
The soils range from Red Ferrosols at the top of slopes where drainage is best to Red Dermosols on the lower slopes where drainage is not so good.
Both soil types show strong aggregation that allows deep and extensive root penetration.
The profiles are gradational in texture with a gradual increase in clay content to 40-60%. Being formed on deeply weathered basaltic parent material, the soils are only slightly acid (pH 6-7) with an adequate nutrient status and active organic matter turnover. The soils also have excellent water storage capacity which means that irrigation is not used.
The image shows a thick tap root of a vine in row 36. It goes straight down beyond the 2 metre depth of the sample pit that we dug in 2014. The small roots are closer to the surface and take advantage of ambient rainfall.
If you would like a closer look ask to see the soil profile, called a “Monolith” when you visit our cellar door.