Alan Robb Hickinbotham (David's grandfather) became a founder of the Australian wine industry almost by accident. In May of 1936, Hickinbotham established the Roseworthy Oenology course with the intent of furthering winemaking by instructing viticulturalists to use scientific research to produce better wine.
David eventually purchased 300 acres of prime vineyard land in McLaren Vale early in the 70's. There was no irrigation at that time so the vines were dry grown. This produced grapes of intense flavor that captured the distinctive character of McLaren Vale fruit.
The Paringa vineyard is set on about 1700 acres of prime Riverlands property about 150 miles northeast of Adelaide in South Australia. The rainfall in the region is quite low but the Paringa property abuts the historic River Murray so they have a convenient source of water for the vineyard's drip irrigation system. The vineyard has been planted to Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot, plus small sections of Chardonnay, Columbard, and Ruby Cabernet.
Yields are maintained at approximately 6 tons per acre and careful attention is paid to canopy management and irrigation technique. David Hickinbotham and winemaker Mike Farmilo both agree that the quality of the wine improves with lower yields and have made the decision to go for quality over quantity.
Learn More About Vintage
Vintage Champagne and Sparkling Wines
Vintage Champagne is made in particularly good years with optimum weather and the best grape selection.
Some houses, like Dom Perignon, only make vintage Champagne,
so they do not produce a wine every year and have no
What makes vintage Champagne better? Well, status for one – many vintage Champagnes are made in small quantities,
so low supply and high demand beefs up the price and the prestige of a vintage bottle. And of course, beyond the
status symbol of vintage Champagne is the taste and care given to the grapes. For vintage Champagne, the grapes
are carefully selected, the blends painstakingly created and the ageing process lovingly prolonged. Vintage Champagnes
are often more complex and flavorful than their non-vintage counterparts, and can often age for up to a decade or two,
although most houses release their bottles at an optimum time for drinking. Vintage Champagne differs from non-vintage
because the winemaker's focus is on that specific year rather than a blend to match the house style.
Sparkling wines from regions that follow the traditional method are apt to create vintage wines as well. These regions
typically enjoy more freedom in their vintage choices. While they only make wines from years they deem worthy of
vintage, they do not have a regulated body to declare a vintage year, so it's to the winemaker's discretion in
making a vintage or non-vintage.
Learn More About Australia
With a landmass the size of the US, Australia has just as many appellations. Many wines are simply labeled from their state of origin. Some of these are the most popular:
New South Wales
- New South Wales has a variety of smaller wine growing regions. Many wines are a blend of these smaller appellations, leading to the more encompassing designation of New South Wales.
– A small percentage of Australia’s winemaking occurs on the West Coast. The largest Australian state, Western Australia, includes the appellations Margaret River and Great Southern.
– This appellation encompasses the states of South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. Grapes are often trucked in from at least 2 of these states for crushing and bottling, giving the wine a more general appellation of origin. This is the broadest appellation in Australia.