Brown says each winery in Beechworth has its own unique microclimate that highlights not only the individuality of the region as a whole, but also an individuality between producers. “Few Ordovician shale and mudstone sites occur at higher altitude,” says Brown. “Ours occurs because there’s a massive lump of more recent granite beneath the ancient sediments.”
It is this rare deposit that Brown credits for the unique flavour and character of their Beechworth wines. “It grows us fruit that should taste like it comes from nowhere but here,” she says.
“You tend to build things into the other regions with winemaking,” says Chris. “Beechworth is just a place that shows balance and power at the same time.”
He agrees with Brown that the distinct soil profile in Beechworth gives his wines their edge. “The structure is linked to the soil profile so much in Beechy. The wines on shale and clay are structured but open with the chardonnay,” he says.
Having visited the region consistently over the past 10 years, Melbourne-based wine professional and acclaimed sommelier Sally Humble says she can’t help but notice the region’s solidarity. “[There is] a wonderful yet quiet sense of camaraderie between growers in the region with a cluster of tiny producers, encouraging one another. The region’s growth hasn’t expanded laterally; rather, wine quality has only gone up.”
It’s these remarkable growers and winemakers who persevered through the difficult vintage of 2020 to come out the other side with a sense of community and a wine offering that’s stronger than ever.
The traditional owners have not been formally recognised for the area of Beechworth. There is recognition of the Yorta Yorta people’s surrounding lands, but the courts rejected their original land title claim in 1998. Newly discovered historical evidence suggests the Pallanganmiddang people inhabited the region of Beechworth.
Hailed as rising stars, Tessa Brown and Jeremy Schmölzer continue to prove themselves talented winemakers. Their red-fruited pinot is beloved by winemakers, industry insiders and anyone with taste buds.