Richard and Bernice Woolley bought the Wayaree Estate property in 1997 and they established their vineyard the following year, planting 2500 Pinot Noir and 1500 Chardonnay vines. In 2008 they extended the vineyard to 6000 vines and they are now in the process of extending again to 10,000 vines. As our vineyard has matured and our relationship and knowledge of these vines as they grow with each vintage. We have settled on a distinct house style of wine making.
Come down and join us and learn about our wines, try some for yourself and we are sure you will want to bring a few home with you.
Our Australia’s most southern two-hectare vineyard is set on a gently sloping site with a sunny northerly aspect. Established in 1998, the first block of 1500 vines came from Pinot and Chardonnay stock secured by John Dillon, Bernice’s father from a vineyard in Cradoc down in the Huon Valley, only a few kilometers across the Dentrecasteaux Channel from our vineyard.
Richard and Bernice grabbed it by the reins and said if we are going to look after 1500 vines we may as well look after 3000. So a further 1500 vines were planted, and a third section, up the slope from the winery, of predominately chardonnay, was added in 2005, then a fourth in 2012 a further 400 Pinot Noir. Giving us in all 6000 vines across 2 hectares. The new ‘Thornbury’ planting across the road adds a further 4000 vines to our now 10,000 vine total.
Pruning is undertaken during July and August. Probably the toughest job in the whole process; cold fingers and red noses with rain and hail to boot.! Buds burst in September and flowering starts in the first week of December. We are continually leaf plucking by hand from November onwards to maximise sunlight exposure to the fruit and to maximise airflow for disease control.
After the vines are hedged the bird nets go on in late February, another big hands on job!
Vines are spaced not only to maximize sunlight exposure, but also to allow ease of access for the tractor; as each new season approaches we have a strict spray program to protect against disease and bugs. An electric fence is used to keep the possums and wallabies out. They might be cute, but they will eat everything with a bit of greenery.
In late April, the big day arrives. It’s picking time! All grapes are hand picked by a volunteer crew. This day of hard work, mixed liberally with fun and feasting, is a big day on the Bruny calendar. It is a great celebration of the vintage.
On picking day all fruit goes to the shed with the Pinot processed first. Whole fruit bunches are put through the crusher de-stemming machine. Stems are separated out and the fruit falls into bins. The fruit is cold soaked for 10-14 days to get as much colour out of the skins as possible. While cold soaking the fruit will begin to wild ferment very slowly, so at day 10-14 we add yeast and yeast nutrient to guarantee the fermentation progresses through without a hitch. Pinot gets quite warm during the fermenting process; and the warmer the ferment the better, 28-33C being our range and this process will take 4 to 5 days at these temperatures. At about the third quarter point of the fermentation process, we inoculate for secondary Malolactic fermentation, with a malolactic bacteria strain. This converts the sharp acidic characteristics of malic acid to the softer more palatable lactic acid mouth feel, The second fermentation takes place slowly over winter while the wine is maturing on oak. With spring, the wine starts to warm up and the fermentation process finishes. We age our Pinot Noir on 15% new Taransaud French Oak barrels, direct from Burgundy in France. After 9 months on oak the wine is racked off and cleaned up ready for bottling.
We use a minamalist style of wine making, which is, don’t over think it, it is what it is and the wine should reflect what comes from the region, whilst adding the least amount of chemicals to our wine as possible.
The Chardonnay is whole bunch pressed in our Bucher Air Bag press . This was an amazing upgrade from the very labour intensive basket press which we put 7 vintages through. The juice is transferred to a stainless tank for an Unwooded style of Chardonnay. The unwooded is an easy drinking, non-complex style, dry, crisp, a great lunch/summertime wine, paired awesomely with white fish or your favorite cheese. Our Chardonnay, is also whole bunch pressed and transferred straight into Taransaud French Oak barrels for fermentation at a ratio of 30% new oak, it is then matured for approximately 7 months. The oaked Chardonnay is a more complex wine than the unwooded style, the oak giving it vanilla/buttery notes and a rich and silky palate.
As well as making, bottling and labelling all our own estate wine by hand. We do also source other varieties including Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Gewurztraminer from other small growers in the southern Tasmanian region.
To date our wines have won more than 30 medals in national and international wine shows.
Bernice has overseen all vintages since 2004, with Neil Snare from Winstead Vineyard making the first little vintage, then he became Bernice’s wine mentor for the first few years, they have become good mates and to this day still swap notes. We exclusively purchase our Sauvignon Blanc fruit from Neil Snare's Winstead Vineyard each vintage.
As the vintages have grown by we asked ourselves, Do we keep expanding? Are our kids even interested in taking over?
Then one night around the dinner table Joseph, who was currently in College, proclaimed that he might like to give it a go to see if it was up his ally!!
He worked alongside Bernice and Richard, while he was at college during his gap year. Sure enough, Joe just went to it like a duck to water, he instantly had that drive, passion, work ethic and patience that a viticulturist/winemaker needs. So the discussion went on to getting the formal training, so off to Uni he went It was decided that some experience in another cool climate region would be advantageous. Joe excelled at EIT, with all his hands on experience from home, he ended up assisting the other students in making their vintages.
Joseph decided to tackle farmhouse-style cider on-site at the Wayaree Estate on Bruny.
Made from a blend of Jonagold, Pink Lady and Royal Gala apples into a yummy crisp, refreshing cider. The fruit for our cider making was grown in the famous Huon Valley apple region, where they grow some of the best apples in the world, not far across the D’Entrecasteaux Channel from Bruny Island. Such a great base makes a fantastic cider. The cider is fermented rather then brewed using Champagne yeast similar to how we do our white wine varietals. Giving our cider a unique and refreshing style which all who try absolutely love.
As for styles we have three, Apple cider an Apple & Ginger cider using Tasmania grown ginger, not to mention our fabulous Blapple cider again only using Tasmanian grown blackberries which are reduced in house by our Chef's and added just before carbonation.
All our ciders are hand bottled and labelled weekly so you’re always getting the freshest cider possible.