Leigh’s 2017 Vintage Report- Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Vintage 2017 is over, and what a late one it was—our latest ever at Montara. We started picking Pinot on March 24 and finished with Cabernet on May 5. Reminds me of 2002 and 2004, which were also late. 

Our vineyard rebounded from last summer’s onslaught to produce an above average yield. We never had any heat waves this year, so our leaves were protected and able to last well into early May. The later rain events did a lot of good to the vines and are part of our success. Other regions experienced too much rain…we had it perfect.

The coolness we experienced has produced beautiful and powerful flavoured wines—the colours and quality are outstanding! We’re very excited about the Chardonnay and Riesling…the Pinot Noir and Shiraz look great, too. Our Cabernet Sauvingon is also in the category…the ferments are currently progressing and we couldn’t be happier with their varietal flavour expression.

We're quite optimistic about the quality of this year’s vintage and look forward to what blossoms from it in the coming months/years.

- Leigh

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Vintage 2017: Pressing Shiraz- Thursday, 30 March 2017

A basket press is a traditional tool used to extract juice from grapes. Simon shows us how he uses it for a small special experimental batch of shiraz from this year’s vintage. 

Tags :  shirazvintagebasket press
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2017 Vintage Update- Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Winemaker Simon admiring the vines :)

It's that time of year again already! With vintage right around the corner, our winemaker Leigh fills us in on how the vineyards are looking at this stage...

This year vintage is late—later than expected by everyone due to less heat than usual—but all is looking good. It reminds me of past vintages in 2002, 1993, and 1984. 

Our days are now dry with cool nights, and the canopy is flourishing, very green, and healthy. We tested our Pinot Noir a couple of weeks ago (as it ripens faster than other varities) and are estimating harvest around the second week of March unless we're hit with a big heat wave before then. Berries are softening, so it feels like the 1980's again, which means harvest will most likely finish around Anzac Day assuming we don't have any major weather changes. I'm looking forward to what this vintage will bring and sharing it with you.

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Should I decant my wine?- Tuesday, 31 January 2017

If you’ve recently tasted or purchased our newly released 2013 Chalambar Road Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, you may recall our recommendation to decant it for a short period prior to drinking. We're often asked why or when a wine should be decanted, so we thought we’d share a couple of reasons you may find it beneficial... 

1. To remove sediment.
It is common for sediment to develop in the bottle over time as a wine ages. While sediment isn’t harmful, it can taste bitter or astringent, so most people prefer to remove it before pouring, resulting in a “cleaner” looking and tasting wine. Before decanting, you’ll want to stand your bottle up earlier in the day to let the sediment collect in the bottom.

2. To aerate or “let the wine breathe.”
Pouring from the bottle into a decanter allows oxygen to come into contact with the wine, softening the texture and opening up the aromas. Most reds will benefit from decanting—younger/tannic wines, cheap wines, expensive/older wines, full-bodied wines, those under screwcap (they’ve had less contact with oxygen than those under cork), and so on. Some white wines can be decanted as well, but most don’t really need it. Note that decanting times will vary—you don’t want to risk overexposing the wine. Trial and error is key.

All in all, the choice to decant wine or not comes down to your personal taste and how you like to drink it. Some prefer to let the wine develop in the glass, which is perfectly fine, too. Others may decant simply because it looks beautiful on the dining table ;). Wine is subjective…there are no hard and fast rules. Experiment, learn, and have fun with the experience!

Do you prefer your wine decanted?

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Meet Sarah, Cellar Door Manager at Montara- Thursday, 17 November 2016

sarah cellar door montara

Sarah is responsible for the running of our cellar door, organising events at Montara, and managing our wine club memberships. She is extremely passionate about our region and wines, and loves sharing this passion with our customers.

What was your introduction into the wine industry?
I grew up around wines and wineries through my parents. I started working at Seppelts on the bottling line around 1999 (they were producing Seaview Brut then), and from there I also did a bit of grape picking and work in the vineyards.

How long have you been at Montara?
I've now been a part of the Montara family for coming up on three years and loving it!

What do you like most about your job? What’s the most challenging?
The best part of my job is everything! What’s not to love—we have a priceless view and beautiful wines…I get to meet new people every weekend and give them a Montara experience, and then have our regulars come in for their top ups! It’s awesome working for a boutique winery, watching it grow…it’s amazing how much we’ve grown in the past few years, but we’re still a down to earth little piece of heaven!

The most challenging part of my job is going home—just joking! (sort of) ;) There’s no real challenge at Montara as my passion takes over, wanting us to be out there in the big world giving people great wines to enjoy.

What’s your favourite Montara wine at the moment and why?
That’s such a hard question…I love them all for different reasons. I have been drinking a lot of the 2015 Montara Grampians Riesling. Wow. I'm not a huge Riesling fan, but this one has converted me. It’s going to be such a great summer white. Leigh, whatever you’re doing, keep it up as it’s amazing!

A tourist who has never been to the Grampians region is visiting for the weekend. What do you recommend they do?
I would definitely recommend checking out the Grampians trail—it’s fantastic. You basically get to experience so much in a short time—a lot to offer in a small area—and the waterfalls are stunning after all of the rain we’ve had.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I love spending free time with my horses. We have four at home and they keep us really busy. I also enjoy gardening and just chilling out with friends and family.

Other than wine, what beverage most often fills your glass?
Not much actually fills my glass apart from Montara, but I do love a really cold craft beer on a hot day. I'm a bit of an all-rounder!

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Easy holiday entertaining: charcuterie boards- Wednesday, 19 October 2016

charcuterie entertaining

image via @feedmedearly

With holiday entertaining and party season upon us, food and drink quickly come to mind. What do I serve? What can I bring? Regardless if you’re the host or attendee, being prepared and knowing what to offer your guests or take along to someone else’s party is key.

Our advice: a DIY charcuterie board! They’re easy to put together, suit just about any palate, look awesome, and let’s be honest…who doesn’t LOVE a beautifully arranged platter of meats, cheeses, breads, and spreads? Basically anything goes as long as the variety of items compliment one another. Best of all, there’s no need to stress as you can pick up the majority of the tidbits from your local supermarket or farmers market.

Here’s what we like to include to make an epic charcuterie board:

- Meats (prosciutto, salami, chorizo, capicola, soppressata)
- Cheeses (a good selection of cow, sheep, and goat with different flavours and textures - serve at room temperature)
- Fresh fruit (grapes, berries, pear, apple)
- Nuts/seeds (almonds, walnuts, cashews, pomegranate)
- Spreads (hummus, tapenade, mustard, aioli, honey)
- Pate/terrine - check out the beautiful Erard's Artisan Produce pork & pistachio terrine that we stock in cellar door. 
- Bread, crackers, crisps (sliced baguette, gluten free options as well)
- Chutney/jam/relish (fig, pear, onion) We serve/sell Caseys Pantry - onion relish and pear chutney in cellar door and they're delish! 
- Pickled veggies (olives, pickles, peppers, onions, artichokes)
- Fresh herbs for garnish (rosemary sprigs are our favourite)

Lastly, don’t forget the WINE! Our picks are pinot gris, rose, bubbles, pinot noir, and cab sauv. Beer is a good match, too!

Here's a little more charcuterie inspiration for you:

image via

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image via @thedelicious

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Win tickets to Wendy & Paul LIVE at Montara!- Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Would you like to win tickets for you and a guest to see Wendy Stapleton & Paul Norton perform live at Montara's Wine Down Friday on 28th October? Enter our instagram competition! Winner also receives 1x night's accomodation in Ararat.

1. Follow @montarawines

2. Repost the above image 

3. Tag #jimmywinerocks

Winner annouced 12th October. Make sure your account is set to public so we can see your entries! 


Tags :  competitionjimmy winewine down
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Music and wine - Wednesday, 24 August 2016

image via

Everyone loves music, especially with a good glass of wine. Is there a certain tune or genre of music that makes you want to pop open a bottle of bubbly or sip on shiraz?

A recent study has shown that music can improve the taste of your wine. They discovered that the brain (and therefore taste) is influenced by ‘outside’ surroundings when eating and drinking—if the surroundings are pleasurable, the taste is as well.

There’s no doubt that the two compliment one another. Bold, fine, smooth, powerful, lively, soft, complex, harsh, alluring, melodic, harmonious, etc.—these are all descriptors that can easily be applied to songs or wine. What you listen to, much like the wine you drink, is heavily swayed by your atmosphere. They both take you on a journey…we can all recall a time in our lives that a song or a bottle of wine shared amongst friends made that moment all the more special.

As you all may know, music (and wine!) is a big part of the Stapleton family and Montara team, so we thought it would be fun to share a few of our favourite combinations...

Billie Stapleton: Prince & Montara Pinot Noir, but also loves Miles Davis, Kind of Blue 1959 with Chalambar Road Reserve Shiraz

Angie Stapleton: Sparkling & white wine with Donna Summer's "I Feel Love" or "Hot Stuff" 

James Stapleton: “Evidence” (Faith No More) with Jimmy Shiraz of course! 

Wendy Stapleton: "Red, Red Wine" (UB40) and a glass of red 

Simon Fennell: Motown—soul, funk, blues meets silky, smooth brews—with shiraz 

Casey Mannix: "Young Hearts Run Free" with bubbly 

What’s your ultimate music and wine match? You really can’t go wrong when pairing the two, so open up a bottle, crank those tunes, and mostly importantly, have fun. 

Make new music and wine memories with us when Wendy Stapleton and Paul Norton perform LIVE at Montara’s Wine Down Friday on the 28th of October 2016! Get your tickets now before they sell out! For more info and to purchase, click here

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Meet Simon Fennell, Assistant Winemaker at Montara - Thursday, 16 June 2016

simon fennell, Marcus Thomson Photography

Image: Marcus Thomson Photography

We’re thrilled to introduce you to the newest member of the Montara family, Simon Fennell. Simon joins us after almost 20 years in the wine and brewing industries.

Being born and bred in the Penola/Coonawarra region, it’s not surprising that wine courses through his veins. He completed studies in both Horticulture and brewing science and has held positions with some of South Australia and Victoria’s finest producers.

Read on to learn more about Simon, the most rewarding part of his job, and what he enjoys drinking…

What’s your favourite aspect of the job?
Seeing the new season reds evolve in the barrel, and blending those parcels to create the finished wine—an extremely satisfying part of the job.

What’s the hardest part of your job? The most rewarding?
Vintage, no doubt! Limited sleep, fast paced, big decisions to make re picking dates, processing, etc. Like juggling three chainsaws really! When it all comes together, and the ducks are in a row, it is all worth it.

What do you enjoy drinking? Do you prefer a particular wine region or variety?
I especially like cool climate Shiraz. The Grampians certainly ticks this box. In terms of internationals, probably a spicy Cote Rotie, or Saint Joseph from the Rhone Valley. Amazing benchmarks to aspire to.

If you had to choose one Montara wine to have with dinner tonight, which would it be?
As the weather is turning, and the cooler months are upon us, I would have to say the 2013 Montara Cabernet Sauvignon (trophy winner they tell me…!:) It would go especially well with my favourite winter dish—slow cooked ox tail with Chinese five spice and star anise.

Welcome, Simon!

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What is a vertical wine tasting? - Thursday, 12 May 2016

vertical tasting

A vertical tasting is a great way to sharpen your wine skills and educate your palate. It consists of several vintages, or harvest years, of the same wine varietal and same winery/producer.

What’s cool about a vertical is it allows you to examine both the similarities and differences in the wines, which may or may not be subtle. You will gain a better understanding of a particular producer’s winemaking style (oak treatment, fermentation techniques, etc.) and vineyard (soil, elevation, etc.), while also experiencing how much or how little a wine can change from year to year due to age or the unique weather patterns of a vintage.

Throughout May, Montara is celebrating Aussie Wine Month with an exclusive riesling vertical tasting in cellar door. You’ll have the chance to sample and compare our 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 Montara Grampians Riesling, all of which are pretty amazing! :). Stock is very limited, so be sure to take advantage of this special opportunity.

Have you ever participated in or hosted a vertical tasting?

Related: Hosting a blind tasting party

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