After establishing a vineyard on colluvial slopes overlooking the Ovens River Valley with his brothers in 1988, Mark Walpole's interest in even cooler climate viticulture led him to the elevated Beechworth plateau.
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. The site was planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and a small amount of Merlot in 1997, followed by Pinot Noir in 1998. In more recent years, small areas have been grafted to Shiraz, Tempranillo, and Sangiovese.
In 2009, the opportunity arose to lease the Smith vineyard, located just 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. Given the vines' age, the fruit and wine produced are concentrated yet have an elegance found only in cool climate wines.
Fighting Gully Road wines are a unique express of the vineyard site and its management, and the greater regional influences.
The red wines are made using minimal intervention, indigenous yeasts and open fermentation. The whites are barrel fermented using both indigenous and cultured yeasts, depending on variety and style.