Winemaking

“The wines of Castle Rock Estate have purity, tension and grace, and speak loudly of their source area, as well as their maker.”

Toni Paterson MW

We’ve come a long way since our first vintage in 1986. Our first vintage was made in the Alkoomi winery, with the grapes loaded into the ute and trailer and carted 100 kilometres to Frankland River. The wine was then bottled in the Swan Valley. While it was well travelled, we were awarded a gold medal for our first Riesling, giving us confidence that we had the right site.

Sam Palmer and Rob Diletti

Our Philosophy

At Castle Rock Estate our philosophy is that ‘Fruit is King’ and therefore our role is to showcase our fruit’s purest expression of where it is grown. Riesling and Pinot Noir are two varieties recognised for their ability to convey terroir (sense of place) due to their delicate but structured nature. We believe that our site is quite unique, and therefore these two varieties are ideal in showcasing our terroir.

In order to achieve this, we need ripe and pristine fruit, that is free of stress and disease. We achieve this through careful vineyard management, focusing on a vine’s fruit load, sunlight penetration and airflow through the canopy/vineyard.

Within the winery we minimise winemaker intervention where possible in order to maintain a wine’s varietal expression. Avoiding unnecessary skin contact, maceration and oxidation is how we achieve this with white varietals. Whereas when working with red varietals, we follow more traditional winemaking methods such as the use of oak barrels, whole bunch fermentations, and extended maceration to build complexity and structure, but never at the detriment of varietal expression.

The Winery

Our winery, built in 2001, marked a new era, and gave us further control over the entire process.

Planned by Rob and Angelo, the winery building makes use of the natural slope of the land and is built on two levels. The grapes are crushed and fermented on the upper level, then gravity fed into the press below, thus doing away with the need to pump the must. This is very important for Riesling as it reduces skin and seeds which give the juice hard phenolics.

The upper level houses four six tonne red fermenters. When the reds have finished fermenting, the press can be positioned below and filled simply by opening the door.

The solar powered winery is a blend of age old, proven techniques and state of the art equipment. The use of gravity ensures we are not over reliant on machines and we believe we have the right balance to maximise quality.

The wine is bottled on site by a portable bottling line which is set up on the back of a semi-trailer. This is an ideal arrangement as we aren’t sending the wine away in a bulk tanker and we don’t need to outlay huge capital for a bottling line. Bottling on site means we can be sure that the quality and freshness of the wine is maintained.