Handpicked Wines’ has won three trophies at the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards recognising its flagship Capella Vineyard on the Mornington Peninsula. Handpicked Wines 2017 Capella Vineyard Chardonnay won the Douglas Seabrook Trophy for Best Single Vineyard Wine, the trophy for Best Chardonnay (class 2017 and older), and the Capella Vineyard took out the Kym Ludvigsen Trophy for Viticultural Excellence.
Director of Winemaking Peter Dillon said the trophies were a vindication of major efforts to improve the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyard in Bittern, near the shores of Western Port, by focussing on soil health and vitality.
“We are seeing the rewards in so many ways – the increased energy in the vineyard is palpable, our wines are better than ever and our staff enjoy a healthy work environment and stimulating and satisfying work.
“I spend at least as much time in the vineyard as in the winery and building a strong teamwork ethic between the winemaking and vineyard teams has been key to our success.”
Karl Roberts has been Vineyard Manager at Capella Vineyard since Handpicked purchased the property in 2013, prior to that he was part of the team that planned and planted the vineyard in 2009.
“We were lucky to inherit Karl’s experience and knowledge of the property,” Dillon said. Roberts still remembers the site was horse paddocks before the vineyard was planted.
“Since our first vintage in 2013 Karl has accepted and grown with every challenge, including further study, new management practices and working cooperatively with the rest of our vineyard and winemaking teams.
“It’s been a privilege to be part of this site for more than 10 years and see it progress. It’s very satisfying to see how our use of organic principles such as inter-row crops and integrated pest management has improved the soil and reduced the need for pesticides and fungicides,” Roberts said.
Research such as soil pit analysis and a heavy emphasis on organics has guided management practices including planting of new clones, making compost teas, composting and mulching, inter-row planting, mechanical weed control, soil improvements and integrated pest management techniques.
Handpicked also owns vineyards in the Yarra Valley, Barossa Valley and Tasmania. Its 2018 Collection Tasmania Pinot Noir also picked up a gold medal at the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards, after scooping the pool at the 2019 Royal Hobart Wine Show, where it won trophies for Best Pinot Noir, Best Tasmanian Wine and Best Red Wine.