Baarmutha Wines: Celebrating the diversity of Beechworth
Friends, family, and customers all join in the fun of harvest day at Baarmutha Wines. You might hear squeals and laughter when someone finds a spider in the bunches. But, mostly, you hear the chatter of a friendly community working together to handpick the grapes and carry them up to the winery for processing.
The hard day of work demystifies winemaking and is full of lightbulb moments. Everyone gets to learn about Beechworth’s natural ability to support many wine styles. Bottles of wine also get pulled out from the Baarmutha Wines archives for the celebratory long lunch that follows.
The experience is led by Vinny Webb, the winemaker and owner of Baarmutha Wines who loves to bring people together for a good time in Beechworth. Vinny found himself purchasing the 50-acre property so that his three sons could pursue mini-biking. He used some of the space for his first plantings in 2006 and started making wines for his family and friends. After a few years of trial and error, people started noticing what he was capable of and he threw himself into a viticulture and wine science degree.
He cut and split the granite blocks for his property, planted the vineyard, and fell asleep in his textbooks after long nights of study. Somehow, he kept up his career in the energy industry and football coaching for his children’s teams.
It’s not all fun and games, and Vinny works hard to showcase Beechworth’s diverse wine-growing ecology. Now, with four acres under vine, his goal is to make wine fun, add to Beechworth’s reputation for quality, and share the romance of hard work in the paddock.
Coming together at Baarmutha Wines
Baarmutha Wines is off the beaten track in Beechworth, a wine region easily recognised among premium restaurants and sommeliers for its naturally carved valleys and elevated open plains, but not so much with the general public. Knowing that Beechworth attracts serious wine enthusiasts, Vinny has created a special cellar door experience that celebrates the wonder of the region he reluctantly moved to at 14 years of age and ultimately fell in love with.
Beechworth has a unique geology which is split down the middle. One side has old granite soils which are like smashed glass and talcum powder dust in the summertime, lending the grapes their distinct minerality. The other half has red clay that encourages lush fruit flavours.
Baarmutha Wines often purchases parcels of fruit from the granite in Beechworth and then stores the wine they make in barrels. They also pick and harvest their own grapes off the red clay and then trial the two creations together to see how they blend.
If the peppery, earthy flavours blend with the generous fruit flavours in a way that celebrates the beauty of Beechworth, Baarmutha Wines will bottle them. Vinny is also in the process of building out a personal wine-tasting journey with four different varietals.
Now, with four acres under vine, his goal is to make wine fun, add to Beechworth’s reputation for quality, and share the romance of hard work in the paddock.
Riesling has a malic acid profile which tastes like green apples. In the years to come, Vinny will create a fruit-forward riesling that celebrates these crisp and fresh flavours.
Beechworth is often referred to as “Little Burgundy” and Chardonnay thrives in the landscape. French-cloned Chardonnay was one of the first varietals that Vinny planted and he has never looked back. He honours the French style with barrel fermentation and natural wild yeasts. He also stores his wines in a beautiful underground cellar lined with red clay, from 18 months up to three years, giving his wine time and space to evolve.
He seeks out classic oak flavours with hints of vanilla but also encourages his Chardonnay to go through its secondary fermentation. This allows the wine to become less acidic, shifting from green apple flavours to a softer taste.
Shiraz has long been celebrated in Australia and Vinny makes a lighter style in Beechworth’s cool climate. To make a big, bold Shiraz, you need higher temperatures that elevate the sugars in the grapes. However, at the higher altitude of Baarmutha Wines, the temperatures are cooler and the sugar doesn’t build up, resulting in a lighter-bodied Shiraz which is fresh and approachable.
Sagrantino is a central Italian grape and one of the most tannic red varieties in the world, even more so than Nebbiolo. It’s a unique, heavy style and Baarmutha Wines keeps it special by making only a couple of barrels every few years. If you can’t find Sagrantino in the collection, you might find a Sangiovese instead, completing the range with two reds and two whites. A cellar door experience is also rounded out with Baarmutha Park’s Veneto and Calabrese salamis.
The simple pleasures
Vinny enjoys contributing to Beechworth’s growing reputation with wine experiences that celebrate the region’s beauty. He loves bringing people together to enjoy artisan wines that marry up global and home-grown flavours.
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