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Studebaker moondarra


The story

I sold my 1957 Studebaker President to buy the fenceposts for our first vineyard at Moondarra. Our Studebaker Pinot Noir is the most accessible of the three Pinot Noir wines we produce. Fruit is completely crushed and destemmed prior to fermentation.

When drained to oak we use 500 liter puncheons rather than 225 liter Burgundy barriques. Mostly Remond Alier and low-toast, MTL-. These larger vessels offer a fabulous way for the wine to interact with the yeast lees without adding oak tannin, rather relying of fruit tannin to give structure to the wine. When tipsy I can sing you a love song about my old car, a modern masterpiece in design by Raymond Lowey.

My dear friend Mitsuo makes  duck tataki which sings with Studebaker and a drop of ponsu.


Pinot Noirs; with funkosité.

Our early vintages were made with Bruce Dowding and David Creed. Bruce worked many vintages with Frederick Mugnier in Musigny, where Guy Accad was consultant at the time. David was dux in his year at Roseworthy and is perhaps the greatest winemaking intellect I’ve encountered.

Accad’s legacy is our extended pre-ferment cold-maceration and our vigorous pigeage by foot throughout fermentation, three to four times daily. This brings colour and extract from the skins.

David’s is in draining our wines to barrel at dryness without settling, retaining all of the yeast lees in the wine in barrel. This brings a chocolate, mocha flavour to the mid palate of the wine.

We pick small buckets of fruit about a week prior to harvest and foot-crush them. They are left in various parts of the vineyard to ferment spontaneously. As long as these ferments are sound we use them to inoculate the Pinot Noir harvested a week later. All will be different, so we try and use as many as possible across the various ferments. If any of the ferments become excessively volatile I’ll sprinkle a very small amount of commercial yeast on top to continue the ferment and clean it up. I’m comfortable with low levels of volatility. I use two different yeasts for this; RC212 and BM45. Both produce high levels of glycerol, adding ‘slipperyness’ or ‘silkiness’ to the wine. I attribute ‘wild ferment’ character not to ‘wild’ or indigenous yeast, rather to a long, slow fermentation. Over a long fermentation the yeast find the ethanol being produced becomes toxic to them. They produce mucyl polyglycerides and glycyl polysaccharides as a defensive response. These complex flavours are most appealing and add volume and complexity to the finished wine.

We do not inoculate for malolactic fermentation, rather allow it to proceed naturally in barrel. If this process is not rushed it can produce characteristics we taste as ‘hung game’. Cadavericine and putrescine.

The wines are not racked until bottling and we resist adding sulphur until this stage, usually about 20 ppm. The wines are not filtered, retaining a rich texture as well as aromatic lift. I feel filtering ‘beats up’ aromatics and subtlety of the wine.

To me these techniques enable funkosité, our trademark, Moondarra, style.

Fruit is all hand-picked and processed on-site at Moondarra. Winemaking varies slightly for each of the Pinot’s, influenced by the differences in terroir, with a view to highlighting these nuances in flavour.

All of the wines are grown on deep, volcanic soils. These are free-draining and rich in minerals, bringing robust, ferrous flavour to our Pinot Noirs.


3 bottles sales $10
6 bottles sales $15
12 bottles sales $20

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3x bottles $105
6x bottles $200
12x bottles $380