Winemaker and founder of Moondarra Neil Prentice, sold his 1957 Studebaker ‘President’ to buy the vineyard's fence posts back in 1990 – on condition that Johnny Cash never come out of the cassette player.
The Studebaker vineyard faces due north, and receiving a full day’s sun; the vineyard yields a gentler, more immediately accessible expression of our pinot noir style.
Handpicked fruit is crushed and completely destemmed into 500-litre fermentation bins prior to a brief cold maceration.
Pigeage (foot-plunging) three times a day starts as soon as the must is taken out of the fridge. The wine is not inoculated but allowed to ferment naturally. If excessively volatile characters begin to develop, a small amount of a high glycerol producing yeast is sprinkled on top of the must. Alternatively, a bucket of must from another ‘good’ ferment is used.
Once the wine is dry, it is drained and pressed to barrel as two components; free-run and pressings. We use 500-litre Allier puncheons as well as smaller old-oak barrels to age the Studebaker. These don’t tend to impart excessive oak flavour but keep the wine sound while it’s on lees. Secondary fermentation occurs in these puncheons when malolactic bacteria consume the ‘Granny Smith’ malic acid, subsequently producing softer, ‘milky’ lactic acid in its place. This also makes the wine stable for bottling without filtration to retain texture and aromatic ‘prettiness’.
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