SHEAOAK LOG ESTATE
SHEAOAK LOG ESTATE
The Sheaoak Log Estate vineyard is located in the western hills of the famous Barossa Valley region approximately 4 km west of Seppeltsfield and 6km from the heart of the region in Tanunda. The 90.4ha property is located on Graetz Road, Sheaoak Log and is approximately 170m above sea level.
The vineyard was originally planted in 2004 on a property that was traditionally a broad acre farm used for cereal cropping. The original homestead, dating back to the 1880’s, formed part of a larger estate that was broken up over the past 50 years.
The land is slightly undulating and is bordered by a stream that runs into Greenock Creek. The soils are rich red loams over a limestone base and provide ideal growing conditions for premium wine grapes.
The land is not blessed with either running or ground water so it is supplemented with water from the Barossa Infrastructure Limited (“BIL”) water scheme. There is more information about Irrigation in the Water section.
The vineyard is planted solely with red varieties being Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Mataro, Merlot and Shiraz. Previously, there was Chardonnay and Viognier on the property. Both of these varieties have been grafted to Shiraz and Mataro since 2011.
The key variety of Shiraz is the most desired variety for the region. Merlot and Grenache are the other main varieties planted.
The mix of wine grape varieties planted on Sheaoak Log Estate were chosen by FABAL Operations in conjunction with the major purchaser of grapes from the property, Pernod Ricard Winemakers, the owner of the famous Jacob’s Creek and St Hugo wine brands.
The current layout of the entire property and its vineyard is shown below. Blocks 2A, 4, 11 and 12 have been redeveloped since 2011 and this redevelopment continues. A new block 13 was added in 2015.
CLIMATE AND SOIL
The average rainfall of the western region of the Barossa Valley is approximately 490mm per annum. More importantly, the majority falls in the winter and spring (May to October) periods with lower likelihood of summer rain during the growing season. This results in reduced disease pressure from post rain events. There is low likelihood of hail but frost may affect the lower part of the site in some years. The region accumulates 1710 heat degree days on average making it highly suitable for world class red grape production.
The site is open and has a gently undulating terrain. Lower lying parts of the property adjoining the Greenock Creek have deep alluvial soils. The broader property has a mix of classic Red Brown Earth transitioning to friable clay or limestone seams. The vineyard was established around this information (row orientation, dripper systems, planting density available water/drainage) based upon detailed research and investigation by experts in vineyard design and soil mapping.
Soil nutrition is another important factor that can affect growth and FABAL Operations implemented (pre-planting) and maintains a regime for management of this risk. NVFA3L expends considerable resources to ensure that nutrient levels are monitored regularly.
IMPORTANCE OF SHIRAZ
The most important variety on Sheaoak Log Estate is Shiraz representing over 60% of the vineyard planted area. The Shiraz variety comes from the Hermitage area of the Rhone Valley in France where it is known as Syrah. Its origin is uncertain – some suggest it was brought to France by hermits from Shiraz in Iran, others that the Roman legions brought it from Syracuse. In Australia, Shiraz is grown in all viticultural areas and is used in the production of all types of red wine.
IMPORTANCE OF GRENACHE AND MERLOT
The other important varieties on the Sheaoak Log Estate vineyard are Merlot and Grenache. Together they represent nearly 35% of the vineyard.
Merlot is one of the French noble varieties from the famed Medoc area in the Bordeaux region and dates back to the late 18th century. It is reputed to be named after the blackbird (blue in colour) who liked feeding on the ripe grapes before they were harvested. It is made into a single varietal wine or blended as one of the five main grape varieties for the principal blends of Bordeaux red wines. It is reputed to have the 3rd largest planting by hectares in the world.
Grenache is another popular French/Spanish variety from the Iberian/Languedoc region of Europe. It has become one of the most popular planted varieties in the world after Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.