Geelong (Vic)

Lethbridge winery - Geelong - Victoria - Australia

The Story

"Our aim is to produce natural, savory wines that focus on balance and texture with a real sense of place or terroir." Maree Collis & Ray Nadeson

Maree Collis and Ray Nadeson are not your average winemakers of a boutique winery. Both were initially trained as research scientists and hold PhD degrees in chemistry and medicine, respectively. While combining their scientific careers with winemaking, Maree and Ray completed the winemaking degree at Charles Sturt University. Ray states, "winemaking is not really that different to science, both are creative and both involve 99% perspiration, 1% inspiration".

Not surprisingly, the site at Lethbridge was selected based on scientific principles such as soil type, degree days and other climatic indicators, yet when the three partners first explored the property they discovered an ancient old wooden fermentation vat in one of the old sheds. Discussion with the previous owner (Ivor Perdrisat) revealed that his family, Swiss in origin, had planted a vineyard on the exact site back in the 1870's before the discovery of phylloxera in the region. The old wine vat has been reincarnated as a beautiful timber tasting bench in the cellar door. This story is compelling in the connection between traditional wisdom and modern science.


The Approach

" 'Real wine' is our passion, wines that are produced with fruit from carefully grown vines and made using traditional techniques to allow the true terroir to be expressed.

We believe in the importance of terroir (soil, climate, aspect and bio-diversity) in the production of distinctive wines and that the best wines express the unique character of the special places from which they originate.

Our philosophy is to practice organic techniques influenced by biodynamic methods to establish a healthy, balanced vineyard. By encouraging vigorous biological activity in the soil and eliminating the use of chemicals that can harm microorganisms, we are able to produce fruit of great flavour and character. Our winemaking encompasses the full range traditional techniques. We conduct fermentations using indigenous yeast and employ pre- and post-fermentation maceration to produce the best tannin structure naturally. Extended lees contact is used for enhanced mouth feel, and all our oaked wines are made using the very best French oak barrels.

Environmental sustainability is critical to what we do. Consistent with our philosophy of minimal impact, our winery is built from strawbales which provide excellent thermal qualities. Such qualities recreate the controlled environment of underground cellars that have always played an important part in the maturation of great wines. Our building also requires no heating or cooling, thus reducing ongoing energy consumption. The construction material (straw) would otherwise have been burnt, producing tones of greenhouse gases." Maree Collis & Ray Nadeson