Fighting Gully Road
The first vines were planted at the Fighting Gully Road vineyard site in 1997. The farm, mostly unimproved, was purchased in 1995 and the following two years were spent clearing the property of scrub, stumps and many thousands of rabbits. After establishing a vineyard on colluvial slopes overlooking the Ovens river valley with his brothers in 1988, Marks interest in even cooler climate viticulture led him to elevated Beechworth plateau that can be clearly seen from the original vineyard. Cabernet Sauvignon and a small plot of Merlot were the first vines planted, followed by Pinot Noir in the following year. The site rises up to the top of the escarpment above the Murmungee basin, to the south of the town of Beechworth. The north and west facing lower slopes were planted to the red Bordeaux varieties; while the upper and east facing slopes were planted to Pinot Noir. Over subsequent years, small areas have been re-worked to Tempranillo, Shiraz and Sangiovese. In 2009 the opportunity arose to lease the Smith vineyard, located only a few minutes away from the Fighting Gully Road site. This small vineyard was planted to Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon in 1978, making it the oldest vineyard in the region. In 2010 vintage we made our first Beechworth Chardonnay which will be released in 2011 under the Fighting Gully Road label. Beechworth is by no means a new wine region. First vines were planted only three years following the discovery of gold in 1852. An industry developed to cater for the habits of the many European miners who worked the goldfields up until the end of the 19th Century. Beechworth region wineries were successful exhibitors in the Intercolonial Exhibitions held around the world between the 1860’s and 1880’s. Unfortunately the last of the original vines disappeared during the 1920’s, and the local wine region was not re born until 1978 when the Smith vineyard was planted.