the byrne wines story
Alex Byrne’s love of farms from a young age was heavily influenced by his time with friends, the Portets, at Taltarni winery during high school. This passion led to Agriculture/Horticulture studies which included work in the Taltarni vineyards as a 17 year old. After many other employment options were explored, including a variety of hospitality and retail wine sales positions, Alex ended up again working for Dominique Portet as a vintage cellar hand in his new Yarra Valley winery in 2002.
In 2004 Alex began studying Wine Science at Deakin and Charles Sturt Universities, while continuing to work in retail wine sales. During the course of the degree, he completed vintages in Margaret River and the Northern Rhone Valley. On completion of his studies, Alex travelled through South America, extensively researching the wine regions of Argentina and Chile while sampling many local wines and all manner of cuisine.
Alex was fortunate to be offered a position working in Gevrey Chambertin in Burgundy for the 2008 vintage. This experience allowed him to learn a lot more about French winemaking, but also to improve his understanding of the geography and the culture of the industry in France. Of course this was accomplished by eating a lot of cheese and drinking a lot of wine.
On his return to Australia at the beginning of 2009, Alex was lucky enough to be offered the position of assistant winemaker at Lethbridge winery. Along with learning a lot about high quality, small volume Australian winemaking he has also been able to persue his own interests in making cool climate Victorian wines of his own.
Being very passionate about crafting world class wines at home, Alex was keen to make Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Australia using the great wines of Burgundy as his inspiration. On his return to Victoria he concluded that Ballarat, where he had grown up without appreciating the cold climate, was the perfect place for growing Pinot and Chardonnay in Australia. The cool climate providing a long growing season to accompany the rocky volcanic soils and produce elegant fruit capable of making subtle and complex wines.
Myola, Coghills Creek
Deep volcanic soils and good rainfall provide a great cool climate vineyard site north of Ballarat, at 450m elevation, on the edge of the great dividing range. The 2010 Pinot Noir was harvested by Tony Ferguson and his team at Myola. Due to many years of unusually low rainfall, yeilds were very low in 2010. The struggling vines produced lighter than normal fruit resulting in a very elegant Pinot Noir.
In 2011, due to the very wet and cold growing season, the resulting Chardonnay was very restrained but the Pinot Noir was unfortunately not up to scratch and was declassified.
In 2012 the conditions were very favourable and resulted in deeper wines, while still retaining the usual driving acid backbone typical of the wines from this region.
Visit website: http://www.myolavineyard.com.au/
Leaky Door, Mount Clear
The 2010 Chardonnay was grown at the Leaky Door vineyard on the southern edge of Ballarat. The rocky goldfields soils and cool temperatures kept the yields very low, with the 2010 Chardonnay under 1 tonne/acre. The cool weather also provides a long ripening period with slow flavour development. This results in intense flavour concentration and great balance due to low alcohol and high acid in the wines.
Leura Park Estate, Curlewis
The 2009 Pinot Noir was hand picked from the Leura Park vineyard on the Bellarine Peninsula. The vineyard has well drained sandy/black clay soils and a relatively low rainfall. Temperatures are moderated by the ocean and humidity is controlled by the strong winds characteristic of the Bellarine.