Inspired by a love affair with the beautiful wine region of Alsace in France, Colmar Estate has been producing exceptional wines since 2014. Located in the highlands of Orange, the vineyard is one of the most picturesque in the region and the drops are just as notable.
It might come as a surprise that this is Bill and Jane Shrapnel’s first venture into the wine world. Despite being wine lovers, their previous careers as a dietitian and a nurse played no part in their decision to purchase a vineyard – in fact, it was pure passion that led them on the journey to opening the now successful and award-winning winery.
The couple had been aware of the Orange wine region for many years, being drawn to the similarity of its wines to those in Alsace. When the opportunity arose to purchase a vineyard there, they couldn’t fight fate. Finally, they had found a place to pay homage to the wines they had come to know and love. The first point of call? Naming the property after a beautiful old French town they’d visited years earlier.
The cool, sunny and continental climate of this region created the perfect environment for superb chardonnays, but Bill and Jane decided to explore a little further. After visiting some of the highest vineyards in Orange they realised that there was much more than just great chardonnay to be found here. They discovered glorious rieslings, rich pinot gris and monumental gewurztraminer, just like those in Alsace.
The six-hectare vineyard, nestled in the slopes of an extinct volcano, sits at an altitude of 980 metres, making it one of the highest vineyards in the country. The unique climate in Orange allows for many cool climate grape varieties to excel, including pinot noir, chardonnay, riesling, pinot gris, gewurztraminer and sauvignon blanc.
Responsible for the delicate hand-picked grapes is winemaker Chris Derrez, who hails from Burgundy. He brings an extra slice of France to the winery, combining his experience at his family’s vineyard estate with a love for all vino, particularly pinot noir.
This fine touch was recognised with Colmar Estate’s pinot noir winning a trophy at the 2015 NSW Wine awards. Its lovely depth of flavour, yet great finesse, makes it the perfect, elegant wine. The 2015 Riesling, a double trophy-winner, boasts classic citrusy aromas of lemon and lime with a delicate palate and zingy natural acidity to finish.
Other trophies were awarded during the first two years, giving Bill and Jane great faith in their site and more ambition to keep producing the best quality wines possible.
Just 10 minutes from the centre of Orange, Colmar Estate’s Cellar Door is beautifully located. Here, you’ll be able to enjoy a glass or two while overlooking the entire vineyard, and come to understand why the Orange wine region is Bill and Jane’s favourite – besides Alsace, that is.