File size must be less than 2Mb
You must have online publishing permission or full ownership of this image
File types (jpg, png, gif)
22 December 2021
BY SARAH MATTHEWS
Rebecca Drummond and her brother Aaron grew up surrounded by vineyards on the Mornington Peninsula, so it came as little surprise when they decided to have a go at making their own wine.
By their own admission their first vintage in 2002 was ‘terrible’, but their early love of winemaking was never extinguished, just put on the backburner until the time was right.
After taking separate paths at university and in their working lives, the Drummonds decided to have another go at winemaking, buying a vineyard on the eastern slopes of the Grampians in 2013.
Article continues below
Once a staple of Mount Langi Ghiran winery and formerly owned by late renowned Victorian winemaker Trevor Mast, the Drummonds renamed their vineyard Fallen Giants.
Last month, Fallen Giants became the toast of Melbourne Royal Wine Awards, one of Australia’s oldest and most respected wine shows, rewarding excellence in Australian winemaking.
The Halls Gap winery won several awards, including the top honour, the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy for its 2019 Fallen Giants Shiraz.
“The Jimmy Watson is one of the most prestigious wine awards in the industry so I don’t think you ever expect to win it,” Ms Drummond said.
“It’s for the best young red in Australia and it’s up against some amazing wines.
“We were invited to the awards so I thought we might have won a trophy. I knew we had at least got a gold and I thought maybe we would win the best Victorian shiraz. We did, and then we won the Trevor Mast Trophy for the best Australian shiraz. Trevor is a real idol of the industry and he used to own our vineyard, and loved this vineyard as well, so it’s really special.”
Ms Drummond said winning the Jimmy Watson trophy came as a complete shock.
“For this award, along with shiraz, you’re also up against pinots and cabernets and all these lovely wines. We love our wine but we were still really shocked to win,” she said.
Ms Drummond said she knew it was a ‘good wine’ from an early stage, thanks to the quality of the fruit.
“Its flavour and intensity were really beautiful and we were really happy with the wine itself and knew it was an exceptional vintage,” she said.
Ms Drummond paid tribute to Justin Purser of Best’s Great Western, who made the wine.
She said every aspect of the winemaking process played its part.
“You can’t make great wine with bad fruit, but you also need a great winemaker,” she said. “The two have to work together and we’re very lucky to work with Justin.”
The Drummonds grow riesling, shiraz and cabernet grapes and make five wines under the Fallen Giants label, two shiraz, one rosé, a riesling and a cabernet.
“I do love them all in their own ways,” Ms Drummond said.
“I don’t have a favourite, it depends on what mood I’m in or what the weather is like, or what I’m eating.”
Ms Drummond said the vineyard’s success at the wine awards would help put the business on the map.
“We’re a relatively new business in the industry, our brand is still quite new even though the vineyard has been here for a long time,” she said.
“The win helps make consumers more aware of Fallen Giants, so it’s good for our brand and the region.”
Ms Drummond said she was passionate about raising awareness of the strength of the Grampians wine region.
“Some people are not fully aware of how great the region is and its significant wine history,” she said.
As is the case with most businesses, Fallen Giants has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in regard to sales.
“We have the cellar door and obviously tourism slowed right down,” Ms Drummond said.
“We sell quite a lot of wine into restaurants in the city, so that affected us, and we definitely felt the loss of metropolitan visitors.
“Tourism is definitely coming back strongly since metro Melbourne opened up. We’re seeing more business in the region than usual at this time of year, mostly from metro visitors.”
Ms Drummond said she and her brother, who is general manager of Craggy Range Winery in New Zealand, had worked hard to develop Fallen Giants and plan to continue to make a difference on the property.
“Aaron runs one of the top wineries in New Zealand but we both have our roles,” she said.
“We’ve made a lot of changes in the vineyard in the past few years, such as going organic.
“We’re only part of the way there with what we want to do. I’d like to plant some more grapes and also keep producing top quality wines along the way.
“We think it’s a really special place with so much potential.”
Before buying a vineyard, Ms Drummond’s background was in finance.
She said working on the land and living in the Grampians provided great opportunities for her daughters, 13 and 10.
“There’s a nice community here. It’s only a small community, you certainly felt that during lockdown – I reckon there was more wildlife in the main street of Halls Gap than people,” she said.
“The girls enjoy spending time in the vineyard and have a good appreciation of what goes into producing a bottle of wine. I think it’s good for them to see where things come from.”
The entire December 22, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!
The entire December 22, 2021 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!