Located at 64 metres above sea level and less than 10km from the coast, the Oranje Tractor vineyard experiences a true maritime climate. Similar maritime-climate wine regions include Bordeaux, Champagne, Alsace, most of Germany and Tasmania and these all enjoy a long, cool growing season that is ideal for growing grapes for wines of distinction with impressive structure, natural acidity and minerality. Our latitude - 34°58'40.97"S - also puts the vineyard smack bang in between the 30th and 50th parallels which is where the majority of the world's premium wine production takes place.
The Great Southern Wine Region is a vast geographical area – the largest in Australia, and one of the largest in the world – and thus has a variety of climate classifications. On the south coast, due to the close proximity to a large body of water (the Southern Ocean) we have cold wet winters and mild summers. Annual rainfall is around 900 mm, with more than half of that falling between May and September (Winter and Spring).
The mean January temperature (wine-geek speak for assessing grape growing conditions) is 19.1oC which places us in the same category as Chablis, Friuli, Tasmania and Champagne. Our summer - December until the end of March - is generally warm and dry but can experience numerous rain events, with average daily temperatures considerably cooler than most other Australian wine regions.
The gentle slopes of the Oranje Tractor vineyard that you can see here today are what’s left after 2500 million or more years of exposure to the forces of nature and the retreat of the ocean. Our valley (where our home is located) is white sand that goes many metres deep, yet the slopes, where the vines grow, have ancient gravelly soils, perfect for achieving outstanding quality from our vines.
The combination of latitude, climate and soils all help to produce key component flavours in our fruit; minerality, delicate fruit flavours, beautiful natural acidity, and thus enable the wines to achieve balance, elegance and subtlety.