Back in the early 1980’s, John and Ann Ellis, both in their mid-30’s and with two small children, decided to take a giant leap of faith and establish their own winery – Hanging Rock Winery in the Macedon Ranges. John discovered the viability of the region for quality wines when he was chief winemaker at Tisdall Winery near Echuca and had spent many hours travelling to what became known as the Heathcote Wine Region. They started their venture by leasing a small vineyard. The wine released in 1987 was an instant success winning a swag of awards. Unfortunately, due to deforestation and rising salinity, this winery became unviable, so they planted their own vineyard in partnership with close friend Athol Guy of the Seekers fame. This vineyard, which John and Ann later bought from Athol, came to be known as “Athol’s Paddock”. The first vintage from Athol’s Paddock was in 1997 and won the trophy for the Best Shiraz at the Victorian Wine Show – not bad for it first showing.
These days John and Ann’s son Robert is the Chief Winemaker at Hanging Rock. Having literally grown up in the winery, Rob has a deep understanding of the Heathcote vineyard and the impact of the variance of the seasons over the years. Rob is passionate about the possibilities of the vineyard and is constantly pushing the boundaries. Along with his accomplished team he has been working towards sustainable, dry land grape growing practices. In the thirty years since Hanging Rock Winery began, the area planted under vine has gone from tens of acres to tens of thousands of acres. The rewards of a thriving and supportive community can be shared with a good mix of smaller, artisan winemakers and larger producers, making the Heathcote Wine region a seriously successful one. To celebrate this milestone, a number of events will be held throughout the year.
For more details and updates visit http://www.hangingrock.com.au