Monapilla Vineyard , McLaren Vale
Viticulturists, The Beal Family
Located at the base of the Willunga Foothills in the central part of the McLaren Vale wine region, this vineyard is the happy result of hard work by father and son team, Brian and Mark Beal. Planted in 1992 on a westerly aspect on dark loam soils over limestone, grapes from this vineyard went into the very first Mr Riggs Shiraz, the 2001 vintage and continues to supply the current vintage Shiraz and Shiraz Viognier.
Monapilla vineyard is virtually dry grown, as the soil has excellent water holding capacity, and the focus is very much on low yields of high quality grapes. Planted to a standard McLaren Vale set up of 3 metre rows, the vines are spur pruned by hand to a vertical shoot position double cordon. The warm Mediterranean summer temperatures are moderated by the often-fierce gully winds, which come down from the hills in the early evening. Monapilla vineyard is a prime McLaren Vale Shiraz vineyard.
Piebald Gully Vineyard, Clarendon, McLaren Vale
Viticulturist, Ben Riggs.
Mr Riggs' very own vineyard, Piebald Gully is located in the cool subregion of Clarendon at approximately 265m, to the east of the McLaren Vale wine region. Ripening occurs at Piebald Gully sometimes up to two weeks later than in the rest of McLaren Vale, and the area averages some 30% more rainfall (700mm pa) than the rest of the district.
The subregion does get the best of both worlds, however, enjoying the Mediterranean characteristics of the rest of McLaren Vale, namely mild, wet winters and warm dry summers. Shiraz and Viognier from Piebald Gully is used in both the Mr. Riggs Shiraz and Shiraz Viognier.
Planted in 1998, vines are planted to a single cordon, some arch pruned and some spur pruned – both are hand pruned and managed. Soils are mainly deep sand over permeable ironstone impregnated orange clay.
Angas Vineyard, Langhorne Creek
Viticulturists, Geoff Hardy and John Pargeter.
Located an hour to the south of Adelaide , Langhorne Creek is one of the oldest and most venerable wine growing districts in Australia . Angas Vineyard is the result of the happy coming together of a group of wine industry mates who decided in 1997 that the region was a great spot for vines.
Consisting mainly of floodplains, the region has fine, deep and generally fertile soils and is quite unique, in that it benefits from winter flooding from the Bremer River.
Langhorne Creek receives on average between 325 and 380mm of rainfall per annum, so this winter flood is vital for vineyards. The vineyards benefit from cooling breezes, which blow off Lake Alexandrina in the evening helping to moderate summer temperatures. Planted over fertile sandy loams, Angas Vineyard provides Mr Riggs with both Shiraz and Viognier, which has made its way into both the Viognier and the Shiraz Viognier.
Kuitpo Vineyard , Adelaide Hills
Viticulturist, Geoff Hardy.
Set up in 1987 to provide a cool climate alternative to McLaren Vale, Kuitpo vineyard is located in the southern Mount lofty ranges of the Adelaide Hills. Cooler, wetter and with a heat summation similar to areas of the Napa, Sonoma or Bordeaux, Kuitpo's average January temperature is only 19.8 deg C, as compared to that of McLaren Vale's, which is 21.7 C. This appears to be a small difference, but proves significant in grape ripening terms.
Vines are on old podzolic soils over an ironstone gravel base, and are narrow planted mainly to a vertical shoot positioned trellis, though more recently a ‘ballerine' trellis has been used. Early plantings were to 2.5 metre x 1.5 metre rows, but more recent set up involves trellising vines to a double cordon for canopy ventilation and light penetration.
Mr Riggs uses Viognier from the Kuitpo vineyard. Viticulturist Geoff forms part of the sixth generation of the well-known Australian Hardy wine family.
Breakneck Creek Vineyard, McLaren Vale
Viticulturist, Ian Leask.
Breakneck Creek is adjacent to the Penny's Hill vineyard in the central foothills of McLaren vale, 4km to the east of the township of McLaren Vale. Planted in 1993 by respected McLaren Vale grape grower, Ian Leask, the vineyard benefits from all of the McLaren Vale climatic positives which help make McLaren Vale such a high quality wine region.
So: winter dominant rainfall, high relative evaporation, low relative humidity (which minimises the risk of moulds and mildews), frost free winters, the cooling influence of the ocean in summer, and its moderating influence in winter and warm summers for ripening grapes.
The site, as with the Penny's Hill vineyard, also derives additional cooling influences from the gully winds, which spring up in the evenings and come down from the hills.
At about 200m above sea level, the vineyard is located on a fault line, so there are various soil types present. There is mostly sandy loam over yellow clay, as well as some sand over limestone – soils are fragile and require sensitive management. By combining a ‘high-tech' water monitoring system, minimal drip irrigation and smart viticulture, these sensitive soils are a prime site for quality Shiraz , a fact Mr Riggs was very quick to recognise.
Yacca Paddock, McLaren Vale
Scott and Kerry Heysen Hicks
Yacca Paddock was set up by film director Scott Hicks and wife Kerry Heysen Hicks to create their very own paradise in the Adelaide Hills. Mission accomplished – the vineyard, located next to Geoff Hardy's Kuitpo vineyard in the lower mount Lofty Ranges, is a breathtaking site.
A cool, temperate climate, with temperatures on average 2.5 C cooler than vineyards only 5km down the road as the crow flies in McLaren Vale . This is a premium site for the Tempranillo and the off-dry Germanic VOR0GS Riesling. The site also receives considerably more rainfall than down the road – an average of 850mm per annum, as compared to the McLaren Vale average of approximately 650mm.
Ancient podzolic soils combine with modern viticultural tactics – as well as being next door to Geoff Hardy's Kuitpo Vineyard, the vines are also managed by Geoff. Both varieties are on a single wire trellis, and shoots are vertically positioned, to maximise light exposure to the grapes, which enhances even ripening.
Edgehill, McLaren Vale
Viticulturist: Joch Bosworth
On the Willunga foothills, vines were first planted in the 1970s by Peter and Anthea Bosworth and notably, under the stewardship of son Joch, Edgehill has been progressively converted to an organic certification.
Bradens, McLaren Vale
Viticulturist: Joch Bosworth
Planted over the last thirty years, this former almond orchard, comprising three distinct Shiraz blocks, is organically farmed by only natural practices.
Malpas Road, McLaren Vale and Goss Corner, McLaren Vale
Viticulturist: Toby Bekkers
On cracking black Bay of Biscay and brown loam soils, just aft of the Penny’s Hill and Mr. Riggs cellars, Malpas Road and Goss Corner, owned by the Parkinson family, are consistent producers of exciting Cabernet, Shiraz, Merlot and now Viognier.
Gateway, McLaren Vale
Viticulturists: Richard Leask & Jock Harvey
As the name suggests, Gateway is a show piece vineyard located at the entrance of McLaren Vale, enjoys views over Gulf St Vincent and is a producer of great Shiraz.
Duck Chase, McLaren Vale
Viticulturist: Dan Wright
Located above Seaview’s old holdings to the north of McLaren Vale, and managed with great care by Dave and Jen Wright, this vineyard is an important contributor to the Mr. Riggs mix.
Donald’s, Adelaide Hills
Just outside Littlehampton in the Adelaide Hills, Donald’s has 3 acres of rolling Chardonnay vines on a gentle east facing slope.
Churinga, Clare Valley
Viticulturists: Dean Kyros & Steve Farrugia
This low cropping patch is an outstanding contributor to the Mr. RiggsWatervale Riesling.
Penley Estate, Coonawarra
Viticulturists: Kym Tolley
On the flat plains of the Coonawarra region, these 21 year old Cabernet vines produce the Mr. Riggs ‘Outpost’ Coonawarra Cabernet.