Prancing Horse Estate
39 Paringa Rd, Red Hill South, VIC
03 5989 2602
A devotion to biodynamic flow and outstanding wines.
The ‘Wild One,’ a vibrant horse sculpture by Deborah Halpern, rears up amongst the grape vines and is a symbol of respect for the environment at the unique Red Hill South vineyard of Prancing Horse Estate. Demonstrated by their use of organic and biodynamic viticulture, owners Tony and Cathie Hancy believe that wine should be a pure expression of the terroir, and that respect for the land constitutes core operating principles. Their wines capture everything we love about the great Burgundy varieties- Chardonnay and Pinot Noir: the elegance, the fragrance, the natural texture.
Tony’s interest in wine started when he completed his MBA and began working for an American food company. Frequent visits to France fuelled this interest. The simple version of his story: Young Australian goes to Burgundy. Becomes fascinated by the way Burgundian wines speak of the vineyard. Comes back and stays true to Pinot’s motherland by seeking a path to make wines with a true “sense of place.” Over the past 25 years he has travelled extensively to all parts of the country, especially Burgundy. In 2002, he purchased the former Mornington Peninsula vineyard, “Lavender Bay” with its mature Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines. Applying viticultural philosophies and practices acquired from working with practitioners in France, Tony changed the dynamics of the vineyard to allow the natural flow of energy to create the perfect wine-growing environment. He also changed the name to “Prancing Horse Estate.”
The property has been a working vineyard for over twenty-two years, but as Tony says, many techniques have changed over this time. “Today we follow the ebbs and flows of nature using strict biodynamic principles to ensure we harvest grapes that have purity, allowing full flavours to present in the wine,” Tony said.
Prancing Horse’s winemaker, Sergio Carlei suggests environmentally responsible viticulture enhances his winemaking options. He said, “Soil to a vine is like blood to a human being. We know that toxins in the blood lead to all sorts of health problems in people and the same holds true for plants – toxic soil leads to poor vine health. Most importantly, a clean vineyard allows the true flavours in the fruit to be expressed, which results in better tasting and better balanced wines”.
Prancing Horse’s mission is to improve wine quality and optimise fruit flavours, the natural way. “If we look at biodynamic fruit,” Sergio said, “the tannins often present richer and riper. These natural preserving agents soften with the ageing process and add complexity to the wine, that’s the idea of ageing. The wines have real length and wonderful depth and as the vines get older, they just get better and better.”
In 2006, Tony pursued his passion for French wine by producing a range of high quality Burgundy wines made by celebrated winemaker, Pascal Marchand (the man behind Domaine de la Vougeraie). This venture was then extended in 2008 to include Chablis wines made by Patrick Piuze, previously the winemaker at Jean-Marc Brocard. “Whether it is in Burgundy, Chablis or Red Hill South, today we aim for balanced wines of volume, velvet and vigour,” said Tony. “I want to make wines that reveal the natural terroir and our passion for sustainable farming.”