History is an integral component of winemaking as vintners rely on the past to guide them in the present. To understand the task at hand, they must have an awareness of what came before them and how it shaped and impacted their current situation.
Wine is rooted in the past. Origins of grapes, time tested techniques, geological processes, comprehension of climatic elements and familial legacies all help form the glass of wine poured today. Therefore, winemakers must maintain a healthy respect for history.
Punt Road Winery displays that tribute and understanding in a variety of ways. The first and most obvious is in its name. Punt Road was an important thoroughfare to nearby Melbourne, supplying the burgeoning city with produce from the opposite banks of the Yarra River in the mid 1800s. The dirt road of that bygone era was surrounded by some of the first vines planted in Victoria. Today, Punt Road Winery grows its grapes on those important foundational vineyards.
Punt Road Wines is owned and operated by the Napoleone family who has enjoyed success with apple and pear orchards since the 1940s. 40 years later, they planted vines on their Coldstream property, 50km east of Melbourne. The success of the vines propelled the family to purchase an adjacent vineyard site, which they named Emperor’s Prize vineyard to commemorate the award-winning wines produced there in the 19th century. For years the family was content with selling their delectable fruit to various producers in the area until they felt compelled to build a modern winery in 1999. Now, the winery sources the majority of its grapes from estate vines planted on 75 hectares of Yarra Valley’s fertile reaches.
The maestro in charge of crafting those grapes into wine is Kate Goodman, who brings an abundance of winemaking knowledge and skill. A graduate of Charles Sturt University, she earned a Bachelor of Applied Science in Oenology before heading out into the world to put her education to work. Her winemaking career took her to some of the most famous wine regions in the world, including McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Champagne, Spain, and California. She also developed her talents for six years at Seppelt’s Great Western Winery before joining Punt Road in 2000. Kate has shown an impressive aptitude in her endeavours, evidenced by the acclaim of her wines in the media and presence on wine lists at first-class restaurants. She was also selected to attend the “Future Leaders Program” in 2007 hosted by the Winemakers Federation of Australia and has sat on numerous judging panels for wine competitions.
Kate’s keen eye has guided the winery ever since, ensuring the proper varietals were planted at select sites, and carefully harvesting fruit at precise moments of optimum ripeness. Punt Road takes advantages of the numerous microclimates found within the Napoleone and Emperor’s Prize vineyards and have grown sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, chardonnay, pinot noir, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot with great success. The winery has also cultivated small plantings of petit verdot, viognier, and cabernet franc.
From that fruit, Punt Road produces a wide array of wines within two ranges. The first, Airlie Bank, is intended to showcase the varietal characteristics of the Yarra Valley. With focus on fruit and approachability, Punt Road offers this line as an everyday option. The second line, Punt Road, strives to display the specific terroir of the estate vineyards. Kate only harvests the best fruit for these wines, mostly from the oldest vines on the property, and aims to deliver concentration and complexity.
Punt Road welcomes guests to their cellar door to share in its wines and enjoy the relaxed environment complete with a designated Petanque court. Yet, no matter if customers are learning about the nuances of wine through a tasting or watching their children roam the grounds during a barbeque, they will certainly gain an appreciation for the history of Punt Road, Yarra Valley, and Victoria.