Today, Inverloch3996.com took a 5 minute drive out of Inverloch to meet with David and Nicole Harman of Harman Wines, a vineyard just on the outskirts of town with their own cellar doors. We tried, tasted, and purchased 14 bottles from their outstanding collection.
If you are a wine lover we highly recommend popping in to experience what is on offer right on our doorstep - David & Nicole's passion for their craft is infectious and it's a great spot to while away a lazy summer afternoon. You may have seen Harman Wines at the Inverloch Farmers Market or tried one of their vintages at Vaughan's Cafe in town. We wanted to meet the people behind the label and thus spent a great afternoon with David, Nicole and their beautiful family. The kids had a blast using the vineyards as an impromptu race track.
1. Nicole and David, can you tell us where your love for wine came from?
For me, interest in the wine industry started early on, a family trip to the Barossa Valley at the age of sixteen. I still remember walking around the grounds of Sepelltsfield winery reading about the winery and its growth and vision over different generations. Some years later, after pursuing a career in IT, I saw an advertisement for a position at Mildara Blass, which I eagerly pursued. It was while working there that the wine bug took hold, and after spending 6 years in and around vineyards and wineries throughout Australia. The decision was made to pursue further studies in wine making, buy a block of land, and plant our own vines. From this Harman Wines was born.
2. How long have you owned the Harman Wines property? Can you tell us about how soil is the soul of wine?
We have owned the Wattle Bank property for 10 years now. When we purchased the property, it was in a pretty bad state. Having been over stocked for some years, it needed to recover. We decided to let the land recover for a few years which allowed us to observe the soil and grasses over each season and learn about the site. It was about 4 years before we thought the soils had recovered enough for us to attempt to start planting vines.
The French have a word, “terrior” which doesn’t translate easily into English. It refers to the interconnection between the soil-climate-geography of a site. Like it or not, we understand that the soil would have a major influence on the flavour, texture, and quality of wine that we can produce. We are firm believers that ensuring your soils are healthy and in balance is essential to producing the best possible grapes, from which we hope to produce the best possible wines.
3. How does each vigneron differ itself from one another?
Getting a group of Vignerons together is always a laugh; -- we are a funny breed. We usually are all pursuing the same result, but have little differences in our beliefs as to how to get there. Being a Vigneron is about constantly making and adjusting decisions based on what nature serves up both in the vineyard and once the grapes make it to the winery. I see being a Vigneron as very similar to artists, but with just a little more science thrown in.
4. Are you expecting experienced wine connoisseur's or people who just love wine?
Obviously, we are hoping to cater to people who just enjoy their wine and those pursuing great wines. We welcome anyone to the cellar door, both wine connoisseurs and people who love wine -- or are interested in trying our wines; and we hope they will enjoy the experience of visiting Harman Wines.
5. What are the most popular questions people ask at wine tastings?
Having just opened our cellar door only a few weeks ago, we are still learning the varied and obscure questions we may get asked. Every customer has a different question. Currently, the most popular questions have been how long the cellar door has been open, our opening hours, and the process involved in making our wines. David’s favourite that he enjoys answering and chatting with our visitors about is the last one – and he loves to explain how the different wines have been put together.
6. How many harvests do you get a year?
Just one! – harvest usually starts down here in South Gippsland in early March and usually continues through to the end of April. Each grape variety matures at different times throughout this timeframe, but typically harvest starts with the white varieties and finishes with the reds
7. How much wine does a vine produce?
This is a hard one to answer, as there is no specific amount each vine will produce. It depends mainly on the age of the vine, the variety and, of course, Mother Nature. The vigneron also influences the outcome as style of pruning, bunch removal, and time of picking can all influence the end result. Typically though, on a mature vine, you will get somewhere between 1 to 4 bottles of wine from a vine.
8. What does the year on the label mean?
It basically means the year the grapes were picked, not necessarily the year the wine was released as, typically, reds and sparkling wines may not be released for a couple of years after being picked.
All in all we had a great afternoon at Harman Wines and will be back - not only for the great wine and tasting platters but for the great company as well. David and Nicole are excellent hosts who have a real passion for what they are doing, and the fact that they are doing it so close to Inverloch. So do pop in and say hello to David and Nicole, and we challenge you not to leave with at least a few bottles in the car.
Harman wines is situated at wattle bank, 7km from Inverloch & Wonthaggi at 612 Korumburra-inverloch road (c441). They are open weekends 11am - 5pm & daily throughout January. To make a reservation please call 0439 652 997
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