Berton Vineyards was established in 1996 by Bob and Cherie Berton when they purchased a block of land in High Eden, a subregion of the Barossa Valley, South Australia. This idyllic property sits 450m above sea level on gently rolling hills - except for the Chardonnay block which is anything but gentle. Bob and Cherie set about planting the first Berton Vineyard cuttings that spring - ten acres of Shiraz and seven acres of Chardonnay - without any permanent water - it wasn't until the following year, in 1998 when the dam filled that the vines got a decent drink. It was due to these conditions and the seemingly hydrophobic podsolic soils that the vines struggled to become established. After a few years where the vines still looked like rootlings, a Swedish friend jokingly called it the bonsai vineyard - and the name stuck and later became the name of their premium Shiraz. High Eden has a high annual rainfall so the vines are looking good these days but they still remember the early days every time they crack open a bottle of Bonsai! After the dam was established and water plentiful, they went on to plant Cabernet sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. In 2005 the decision was made to purchase a winery to process the 100 odd tonnes that was produced at the High Eden Vineyard. In 2005 when the former Southcorp winery in Yenda became available, Bob and Cherie joined with Jamie Bennett, Paul Bartholomaeus and James Ceccato to form Berton Vineyards the company. The winery was purchased and the guys moved to their new home in November 2005. For the next few months, they were kept busy buying up fruit and arranging contact crushing for the 2006 vintage. In January 2006 the first grapes rolled across the weighbridge, and so began the scariest vintage they have all experienced. With very few staff we managed to crush and process 13,000 tonnes. Thankfully life at the winery has become easier since then.
Light yet creamy with tropical flavours of peach, pineapple and citrus, leading to a long and satisfying finish.
This wine is best enjoyed chilled and served with chicken dishes.
Heavy rain in the Riverina just before vintage affected some of the earlier varieties, with sugar levels a little lower than expected for the Chardonnay. The fruit was picked in the first weeks of February and immediately crushed, destemmed, and chilled to drainer and screw-press to minimise juice contact with the red coloured skins of the grape. The juice is then fermented at temperatures of 14° – 16°C using a carefully selected yeast to optimise varietal expression. Finally, the wine is blended and filtered for bottling as soon as possible to retain freshness and crisp fruit flavours.