The four wines demonstrate the extensive work of the viticulture and winemaking team to preserve this special ‘green zone’ of the region, symbolised by significant industry recognition by two prestigious organisations. In the last year, Capella Vineyard has achieved ‘Certified Member’ status from Sustainable Winegrowing Australia (SWA) and Organic Certification from the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA) – one of the first and only vineyards in the region to do so.
“For the better part of a decade, we have researched, trialled and enacted intense regenerative farming practices in the vineyard and surrounding natural habitats that comprise the Capella Vineyard site,” said Handpicked Wines Chief Winemaker, Peter Dillon.
“We’ve done this to deliver the purest, most expressive fruit possible and give our vines the best chance of being around for generations to come.
“While I’m proud of the certification for the site, I’m even more excited by seeing Capella teeming with life – down to the highly active soils the vines grow in.”
Handpicked Wines’ Capella Vineyard is located near the shores of Western Point in the region and is a small, ultra-premium vineyard site with 5.2 hectares of pinot noir and 1.6 hectares of chardonnay planted on VSP trellis.
The site was acquired by wine entrepreneur and organic devotee William Dong in 2013 and would prove to be a historic turning point in Handpicked Wines’ approach to quality.
A further five vineyards in Yarra Valley, Barossa and Tasmania would soon follow, yet today, Capella remains the spiritual home of Handpicked’s winemaking operations.
Of the new 2021 Mornington Peninsula releases, Dillon notes the ‘near perfect’ vintage setting the team up in the winery: “We were fortunate to be able to time our picking to our clocks, as opposed to Mother Nature’s.
“The calm weather in the lead-up to harvest allowed for an extended ripening season, with limited rainfall post-veraison reducing any worry of disease or damage to the fruit. The result is exceptional fruit of concentrated flavours and acid structure.
“While we are still working with below-average yields, the fruit we did pick was outstanding. It was wildly expressive of the site, and I’m certain that comes from our work in the vineyard,” he said.
The first new release wines from the Mornington Peninsula come from Handpicked’s Collection range – a series of premium wines from hand-picked regions. Each wine in the range is crafted to reflect a supreme sense of place and exceptional character.
The new Collection Mornington Peninsula Chardonnay 2021 (AU$49.99) comes from a mix of Capella Vineyard Blocks – B, E and C. The handpicked fruit was wholebunch pressed to tank, racked with full solids into French oak barriques and puncheons, of which 33% were new. The fruit was fermented utilising predominantly indigenous yeast. After fermentation, the wine spent 11 months in French oak before bottling.
The new Collection Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir 2021 (AU$59.99) comes from a mix of Capella Vineyard Blocks – A, B, E and F. The handpicked fruit is destemmed and then fermented in open stainless steel fermenters. The wine is pressed to tank post-ferment and racked into French oak barrels. The wine is aged for ten months using 33% new oak from four select French oak coopers before bottling. The wine was awarded the Best of Region Trophy at the 2022 Australian Pinot Noir Challenge.
The Single Vineyard range represents the rarest single vineyard releases from the finest vintages and vineyard sites. The labels feature a collection of photographed objects from the vineyard where the wine was grown.
The new Capella Vineyard Mornington Peninsula Chardonnay 2021 (AU$69.99) is crafted from B and E blocks’ fruit. Select parcels were wholebunch pressed to tank and racked with full solids into French oak barriques and puncheons, of which 33% were new. The fruit was fermented utilising predominantly indigenous yeast. After fermentation, the wine spent 11 months in Taransaud and Mercury French oak before bottling.
The new Capella Vineyard Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir 2021 (AU$89.99) comes from select parcels of fruit from the A and B blocks at Capella. The fruit is destemmed and then fermented in two-tonne stainless steel open fermenters. After fermentation, it is pressed to tank and racked to French oak barrels. The wine is aged for 11 months using 33% new French oak before bottling. This wine was awarded the ‘Best Pinot Noir’ trophy at the 2022 Mornington Peninsula Wine Show.
Due to the extremely limited quantity available, both Single Vineyard Capella wines are now available under strict allocation to the winery’s members at www.handpickedwines.com.au, as well as to the on-premise.
The wines are also available in limited quantities at Handpicked Wines Melbourne and Sydney Urban Cellar Doors.