Nursery Block Dry Red
The Nursery Block was planted in the 1860s by Henry Best and his family, to a large range of red and white varieties (listed below). It’s thought to be one of the most extensive pre-phylloxera plantings in Australia and possibly the world – with some still unidentified varieties.
The vines, sourced from early growers Trouette and Blampied at St Peters Vineyard Great Western, and possibly from the Geelong region, were planted randomly throughout the block.
Excerpts from ‘Our Vineyards’, The Ararat Advertiser, June 7th 1870:
“Mr Best is of the opinion and his determination is to produce nothing but wines of the very best description: with this view he has spared no expense in procuring wines of the choicest description. In his grounds may be found almost every known variety, and if by chance he should hear of some particular one which is not already among his collection, he leaves no stone unturned until he has procured it.”
By 1870 he had some 48,000 vines. He made separate wine from each variety. By the 1890s Hermitage (Shiraz), Millers Burgundy (Meunier) and Malbeck (Dolcetto) were considered among the best varieties for this area. Today the vines are hand-picked, first the white varieties, then the red varieties. Wine is not produced every year as it depends entirely on the season. The wines, abundant in fruit character, stand alone as a definitive style expressing the Nursery Block’s individual components.