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Saturday 22 July 2023

Orange vigneron showcases Austrian grape variety

The Orange wine region is pretty cold - and has several vineyards at significant altitudes.

It makes sense, then for an Austrian grape variety like gruner veltliner to thrive.

Orange's Stockman's Ridge has just released two new grüner veltliners grown by owner Jonathan Hambrook and made by local winemaker Will Rikard-Bell.

The label is is championing grüner veltliner with the release of their 2022 Stockman’s Ridge ‘Signature’ Grüner Veltliner and 2022 Stockman’s Ridge ‘Rider’ Grüner Veltliner.

Two excellent wines, but made in contrasting styles.

Grüner veltliner is intrinsically linked to Austria, where it accounts for around 30% of all wine grape plantings.

In Australia plantings are small, albeit increasing, with over 60 winemakers currently making a grüner. The movement has been led by Hahndorf Hill in the Adelaide Hills. 

The Stockman’s Ridge grüner veltliner vines were planted on the north-western slopes of Mount Canobolas at 800 metres elevation in 2012.

With the vineyard maturing, Hambrook is hoping to shine a spotlight on its potential.

“Orange’s long, cool ripening and high sunshine hours is perfect for this variety,” he says.

“It’s an exciting new variety for the region and one that has a great history growing in the colder, high elevation climates.

“After we planted the vines, we had years of drought. As a result, the vines sent their roots deep in search of moisture.

"Over the past few vintages, we have experienced good vintages and the deep-rooted vines are now producing excellent quality and yields. This has allowed us to experiment with different styles.”

The 2022 Stockman’s Ridge ‘Rider’ Grüner Veltliner is fresh and vibrant, crisp and lean on the palate and unoaked to showcase varietal character.

In contrast, the 2022 Stockman’s Ridge ‘Signature’ Grüner Veltliner was harvested riper to create a fuller, more mouth-filling style.

It was matured in seasoned French oak with regular lees stirring for three months to add textural interest. A small component underwent malolocatic fermentation.

“We are gaining valuable experience with this variety and foresee a great future for it," says Hambrook.

"Riesling andcChardonnay are excelling in the region, and it was logical that grüner veltliner would also succeed. Time will be the judge, but all the indicators so far are positive.”

The "Signature" retails for $40 and the "Rider" is $35. See

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