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Friday 27 October 2023

New-look Stonier snaps up talented Grounds

Stonier Wines on the Mornington Peninsula has claimed a coup with the appointment of Julian Grounds as technical director to oversee the winery and vineyard under its new ownership.

West Australian-born Grounds, who will have equity in the business, has spent the last five vintages at leading New Zealand producer Craggy Range, where he was chief winemaker. He has been keen to return to Australia. 

Well-credentialed Grounds has had stints in Burgundy, Margaret River, Central Otago and Oregon and was senior winemaker at Giant Steps in the Yarra Valley, before returning to Margaret River to join McHenry Hohnen as chief winemaker in early 2017.

Later that year, he was named Dux of the Len Evans Tutorial, before heading to Hawke's Bay.

Circe Wines, owned by three families, acquired Stonier from Accolade Wines in the middle of last year. Former chief winemaker Justin Purser will pursue his own project in Beechworth and work as a consultant.  

Co-owner Aaron Drummond - who worked with Grounds at Craggy Range - also reports a new look to the Stonier cellar door, with a new fireplace and new seating. Outside there are now heaters and wind-proof blinds.

Also new is a providore fridge "with the best local cheese, breads and charcuterie".

Millers delivers fresh bread every weekend, but and will also be making focaccias to match the wines.

Drummond reports: "In the vineyard, our organic farming roll out is going really well and already the vineyard is looking visibly healthier.

"As part of this organic regime we are now turning the soil undervine rather than spraying chemicals to kill weeds. We are big believers that great wine is grown in the vineyard, and with all of the work we are doing on soil health, I really feel this will translate nicely in the coming vintages."

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