Formerly Greenstone of Heathcote, Greenstone Vineyards began in 2003 as a 40 hectare property near the town of Heathcote at Colbinabbin, about a 90 minute drive north of Melbourne. Lying just north of the Great Dividing Range, at an altitude of around 200 metres, the vineyard is positioned on the ridge of old Cambrian soil that runs through the eastern side of the range. This narrow strip is unique, not only to vine growing in Victoria, but in Australia.
The soils are the oldest known in the country, originating over 550 million years ago. Most soils of volcanic origin in Australia are young and highly acidic whereas these ancient Cambrian soils are near neutral in pH. The range itself is a result of a rift in the sea floor, from which molten rock arose, encapsulating limestone into the lava. The resulting soil is deep, red-coloured, mottled with lime and impart low vigour to the 20 hectares of vines growing in it.
It is from these soils that the winery derives its name – The Heathcote ‘greenstone’ is a form of copper-infused basalt, and is an integral part of the soil. The climate and generous red soils of the Heathcote vineyard create a unique combination that is ideal for producing outstanding Shiraz and Sangiovese wine. It is the identification of this prime location that has shaped the Greenstone philosophy – find the best locations to grow the best grapes, regardless of the wine variety. This is the base from which Greenstone crafts and creates outstanding wines, by utilising outstanding locations, which in turn produce outstanding grapes, and employing the best in winemaking techniques.
Our focus on producing only the finest wines from the finest grapes means that Greenstone has only ever produced very small quantities of wine – we are not interested in making higher volume commercial wines, rather small volume, handcrafted and premium wines.
The ‘success’ of Greenstone’s Heathcote wines led the team to explore opportunities to expand the wine range beyond just the high quality Shiraz and Sangiovese wines Greenstone has become known for. Upholding the requirement to find the best locations for each varietal, the search led to the Yarra Valley – the home of some of Australia’s finest Pinot Noir, Chardonnay & Cabernet varietals. The Yarra Valley vineyard has a long history of producing outstanding wines perfectly suited to, and reflecting, the local climate and soils – a critical part of the Greenstone winemaking philosophy.
In securing our Yarra Valley vineyard and winery we also created the opportunity to open a cellar door only 1 hour from Melbourne’s CBD. The picturesque winery is situated on 90 acres at the base of the Christmas Hills – of which 60 acres are under vine.
Originally Yarra Ridge, the winery was more recently known as Sticks Yarra Valley. Greenstone Vineyards completed the acquisition of the vineyard and winery in January 2015. The expansion of our vineyard and wine portfolio hasn’t changed our views on what makes a great wine – we’ve just created the opportunity to produce a wider range of wine varietals in the way that we think great wines are made – by starting with the best sites that produce the best grapes. These wines will be a reflection of the unique characteristics of their regional site.
With sweeping views of the Yarra Valley, and the Dandenong ranges beyond, the Greenstone Vineyards cellar door in the Yarra Valley has brought Greenstone closer to its consumers – creating the opportunity for more people to try our wines and understand the Greenstone philosophy, whilst literally having the Yarra Valley and its wine making history at their fingertips.