Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard
166 Harris Rd, Lenswood, South Australia
08 8389 8339
Every week for five years, Sharon Pearson commuted from her property in the Adelaide Hills to Sydney where she worked. Back home, husband Garry was knee deep in building a new cellar door for their patch of paradise, Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard. This level of dedication is just one example of the effort and work that the husband and wife team have put into the five-star winery.
Garry was working in the wine sales business and Sharon was executive producer for a film and television company in Sydney when the lure of winemaking became too much. After an exhaustive search spanning six years, they found the perfect spot to take up a new adventure.
Established in 1992, Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard is a sustainable boutique winery located high in the Adelaide Hills. The first wines were produced in 1997 and in 1998 one of the first cellar doors in the region was opened on the property. In 2009 Sharon and Garry took over, continuing the environmentally friendly practices that the winery was built on.
Together with their team, which includes dogs Lofty and Ranger, the duo creates cool climate premium wines with minimal intervention. The focus is on producing single vineyard, estate grown wines that enhance the boutique nature of the vineyard and cellar door.
The vineyard is located 550 metres above sea level, making it a cool climate area. The undulating and steep-sloping terrain minimises the risk of frost while the high altitude and protection of the site also reduces the chance of a heat wave during summer. It plays host to 19,000 vines, consisting of chardonnay, pinot noir, riesling and sauvignon blanc, planted in soil that is rich with white quartz and sandstone.
The entire crop is hand-pruned and hand picked, making Mt Lofty Ranges one of the few remaining vineyards to use this traditional method. Harvest ranges from mid-March to early April for pinot noir, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, while riesling continues up until early May. It’s fully fitted with a drip-fed irrigation system, but this is kept to a minimum to allow the wines to display the true characteristics of each vintage. Garry and Sharon work as sustainably as possible, maintaining half the property as native bushland and welcoming local flora and fauna, including koalas, kangaroos, echidnas and birdlife.
The new big tin-shed Cellar Door was opened in 2013 and was designed around large beams found at the old Port Adelaide wool stores. The whole building was created with reclaimed materials in mind, with Jarrah floorboards from a 1923 Kadina farmhouse also featuring. The rustic, barn-like cellar door boasts panoramic views, a 360-degree central open fireplace, bi-fold doors and tiered decks sloping down the vineyard for outdoor dining.
Here, guests can pair Mt Lofty’s award-winning wines with fantastic fare, courtesy of Head Chef, Matt Fitton. Previously the Sous Chef at Playford restaurant in Adelaide, Matt has a bucket of awards under his belt, including finalist in the 2015 Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year – a testament to his passion for fresh produce and dedication to excellence in his cooking. He furthered his craft in 2014 when he embarked on a six-week culinary journey through Europe, stopping by to work at some of the world’s best restaurants, including Michelin-starred Restaurant Dabbous in London.
Matt takes inspiration from chefs such as Ben Shewry, Simon Rogan and Ollie Dabbous, following their lead in technical ability, sustainability and utilising local produce without sacrificing flavour.