Quality wine making starts in the vineyard.
– Ben thomson
Best’s Wines is celebrated for its rich vineyard resources in Victoria’s Great Western. There are three estates from which Best’s sources its fruit: the grand matriarch and headquarters, “Concongella” at Great Western; “Salvation Hills” and “Sugarloaf Creek”, both of which are located in neighboring Rhymney between 10km and 13km away. Each vineyard produces distinctly different grape characteristics from vines aged from less than five to over 150 years old.
The original Concongella Vineyards around Henry Best’s homestead and winery contain the blocks used to produce the handcrafted Icon range. Established in 1866, “Concongella” estate takes its name from the picturesque Concongella Creek that runs beside the vineyard.
A long, slow-ripening period and continental climate are characteristics of Great Western. The area experiences cold to very cold winters and frequently dry and cool summers, with occasional bursts of hot weather.
The ‘Concongella’ estate takes its name from the picturesque Concongella creek that runs beside the vineyard. The land along the creek is flat with powdery loam overlaying a deep clay sub-soil, while newer plantings are on frost-free hills. Ben Thomson believes a little stress concentrates grape flavour; at Concongella it happens naturally.
Despite natural adversities, Concongella consistently produces high quality grapes of intense flavour. The vineyard is a blend of old and new plantings, and the grapes for the Best’s Great Western Icon wines are grown and sourced from the Concongella Vineyard.
At this vineyard, we have five important blocks of fruit that relate to the history of Best’s and our award-winning, cool-climate Shiraz for which Best’s is now famous. Read more on our blog.
Location: Located on the northern outskirts of the Great Western township. Adjacent to the winery and family homestead.
Vines: Originally planted in 1866 Best’s Nursery Block contains 39 different varietals some of which remain unidentified to this day. With further plantings of Shiraz (1966, 1970 & 1992), Riesling (1970’s), Pinot Noir (1980), Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot (1985)
Soil: Gravel, clay and sand. Across the Concongella vineyard there is a diverse soil profile.
Salvation Hills Vineyard
Location: Salvation Hills is in the sub region of Great Western at Rhymney and has been in the Thomson family since 1996. The 17-hectare vineyard enjoys a cool, Mediterranean temperate climate.
Salvation Hills is at low risk from frost and the quality of the fruit currently produced can only be described as outstanding. There are still an additional eight hectares available for planting, offering Best’s Wines Great Western the opportunity for further expansion.
Vines: At this vineyard we grow Shiraz that is used in the production of our Bin No 1 Shiraz and Riesling for our Great Western Riesling. We also grow Pinot Noir for our Great Western wine and planted Pinot Meunier in 2015 which is blended with our Concongella Pinot Meunier to create our Young Vine Pinot Meunier.
Soil: Silty soils overlying fine-textured subsoil, with or without siltstone at various depths.
Sugarloaf Creek Vineyard
Sugarloaf Creek vineyard was acquired in 2019 and consists of 400 hectares of premium land in Great Western, with 114 hectares under vine. Fruit from the vineyards supplies Best’s Bin No. 1 Great Western Shiraz and Great Western Cabernet and will continue to support other wine companies in the area who already purchase fruit from this vineyard. As custodian of some of the oldest vineyards in the world, it’s been important to the Thomson family to keep this significant regional vineyard in family hands and to further build the reputation of premium Great Western Shiraz and Cabernet. Managing Director and fifth generation Ben Thomson noted, “Great Western has always been the home of Best’s and this vineyard acquisition helps to guarantee the supply of wine from our region for future generations. We could not be more delighted to be custodians of this special parcel of land.”
Location: The Sugarloaf Creek Vineyard is 10km south west as the crow flies from the main Concongella Vineyard. It is also just 3 kilometres from the site where William Thomson bought the 138-hectare St Andrews orchard and vineyard in Rhymney in 1893.
Vines: First planted in the early 1990’s, Sugarloaf Creek has 114 hectares under vine and is predominantly planted to Shiraz, with some Cabernet and a small parcel of Merlot.
Soil: Mostly light Sandy soils in the lower areas, then moving up the hill it changes into rich red soil the when we reach the highest point, it is a blend of red soil and slate.
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