The Cannibal Creek Story
Cannibal Creek Vineyard was originally a dairy property bordering Cannibal Creek. Cannibal Creek (a tributary of the Bunyip River) formed the Eastern boundary of the block and it seemed right, due to the interesting history of the creek's name, to call the property after the creek. The story goes that the original pastoral selection of Crown land in 1846 was called “The Connabul Run” after the first lessees of the land. Over the years the name was corrupted to Cannibal and first appeared on local maps in the late 1890's. The name, however, invariably induces much wild speculation!
Consisting of 100 acres, the family bought the farm from the last dairy farmer in 1988. The property was no longer a viable enterprise for a dairy farm and on purchasing the property Terry and Kath Hardiker ran beef cattle for many years until the decision was made to plant a vineyard. Pat and Kirsten returned from Western Australian in 1997 and together they planted 9 acres of vines 4 acres of Chardonnay and 5 acres of Pinot Noir and the following year put in another 3 acres made up of Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The land Cannibal Creek Vineyard is situated on is in the valley catchment for Cannibal Creek itself and is colloquially known as Tynong Valley, the land has always been considered very good farming country. The geographical attributes of the site coupled with our microclimate and soil types all contribute to create the terroir…all the natural attributes of any particular site. Situated at S 38° ~ E 145° with an elevation of 102m above sea level. 14 daylight hours during the growing season makes the site an ideal cool climate vineyard. The soils are sandy clay loams with a high proportion of granite which we attribute the flinty mineral characters in our wines. This granite is quarried in and around Tynong and is the same stone used to build the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.
Varieties and clones selected were Pinot Noir MV6, Chardonnay i10V1 and 10 rows mixed of 95 and 96 Dijon, Sauvignon Blanc F14V1, Merlot D3V14 and Cabernet Sauvignon SA125 with a total vineyard area of 5 hectares.
Our belief that the wines are mostly made in the vineyard has driven our viticulture practices and we are always learning the best way to respond to the different seasons and weather conditions. The management needs to be flexible from year to year... this may be the need for irrigation on dryer years with the minimum of leaf and fruit removal, so that it protects the fruit from the harsh sun. To the cooler seasons, which require an opposite approach, an open canopy with light crops enabling maximum fruit exposure to the sun. Getting the management of the vines right directly reflects on the quality of the grapes and ultimately the wine, so every effort is made to do just that!
Wine quality has been very good and has had third party endorsement from many people within the industry, reinforcing our philosophy that working with the vines and the seasons, with minimal inputs in the growing and making of the wine, ultimately reaps the best results.
Patrick Hardiker is the winemaker and viticulturist Kirsten Hardiker acts as assistant to both these roles and is sales manager. Pat's background was in the building industry and is a self taught winemaker and viticulturist.
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