AWARD-winning Bathurst region winemakers Renzaglia Wines have planted more than 2500 vines at their Bella Luna vineyard near O'Connell, including a number of new Mediterranean varieties.
The plantings started in May with 500 vines, comprising two clones of the grenache grape and one clone of tempranillo.
Vigneron and owner Mark Renzaglia said the new varieties were planted as bush vines, a departure from the standard trellising of vines, which provides more canopy shade and results in smaller berries with, hopefully, more concentrated flavour.
In October they planted more than 2000 rootlings comprising two more clones of tempranillo, two clones of shiraz, two clones of chardonnay and a small number of viognier vines.
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They chose a variety of clones after tasting and researching the options and settling on a combination that provides opportunities for blending and increasing complexity in their wines.
"We are already making excellent wines from chardonnay indicating chardonnay is well suited to this area," Mr Renzaglia said.
"It makes sense then to continue to refine these wines by adding new clones, sites and management practices that may make even better wines in the future.
"It will take at least three years before we harvest any fruit and it will require very careful vineyard management to ensure they all get a good start in life."
Mr Renzaglia said they were taking some different approaches with the new plantings.
"We have planted all the new vines closer than our existing vines which should provide more shade and easier watering, pruning and harvesting," he said.
"Other steps include developing a more efficient waste water management and recycling system, a more organic approach to weed management and, with our new winery, we will expand the tank area to accommodate the extra production.
"It has been challenging developing the vineyard here at O'Connell.
"We started in 1997 with plantings of chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and merlot and have survived droughts, bird attacks and disease but the end result is being able to produce gold medal-winning wines, which makes it all rewarding."
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