After a long search of the Mornington Peninsula during the mid-1990’s, the Kirby family found the ideal parcel of land in Tuerong, located in the north of the peninsula. After thorough soil surveys, and careful mapping and planning of this special site, the vineyard was planted in 1998.
At Yabby Lake, we’re focused on crafting wines of great purity, that provide a clear insight into not only where they come from, but also the season they were grown. It’s the attention and care in the vineyard that is most critical to allowing this expression.
Our vineyard has been managed and cared for by our founding vineyard team, now led by Martin Sampson. For 17 years, Martin, founding viticulturist Keith Harris (recently retired), and the team have meticulously nurtured each vine in each row, hand pruned the vines through winter and handpicked each bunch of fruit each harvest. Working with winemaker Tom, their knowledge of this site is critical to allowing the special vineyard to reach its potential. Check out individual vintage reports here.
Single Block RELEASE Program
Since 2008, the ‘Single Block Release’ program has allowed us to explore the subtle nuances of our vineyard and gain a deeper understanding of its character, and its evolution as the vines mature.
We continue to be fascinated by the distinct characteristics of individual parcels from our site. Block 1 and 2 pinot noir for example, less than 10 metres apart, planted to the same clone of pinot noir (MV6) - and yet remarkably different in character.
The vineyard has 10 clones of pinot noir, 7 clones of chardonnay and 32 different sub-blocks based on aspect and soil-type differences. At harvest, each individual parcel is handled separately and typically, there will be 50 different parcels at the end of vintage.
Some parcels have proven to be consistently outstanding - such as the award-winning Block 2 Pinot Noir, a ‘stayer’ in the block wine releases to date. Some blocks benefit in warmer years, some in cooler. As the vineyard matures we are excited to see ‘new’ blocks in the vineyard emerge and evolve more and more each year – and we are confident that one day we will see these wines feature in the Block releases in the years ahead.
Mornington Peninsula - The Region
The Mornington Peninsula is a true maritime climate - surrounded on three sides by the sea. The region has become one of the most exciting and interesting regions in all of Australia – with the small differences in aspect, elevation, soils and microclimates each contributing to the varied and fascinating character of the wines.
The Yabby Lake Vineyard is in the sub-region of Moorooduc. Positioned on a north-facing slope, the site captures maximum daily sunshine, but importantly is refreshed by nightly cool sea breezes – perfect conditions for growing high quality chardonnay and pinot noir.
The Peninsula's summer heat reaches its (low) peak in January and only starts to decline somewhat during April, often providing 'Indian summer' conditions. The coincidence of late ripening and a prolonged gentle autumn results in fully ripe grapes with outstanding fruit flavours, high natural acidity and fine tannins.