We acquired Caroline Hills in 1975 as a 62 acre property of two paddocks, a ruined weatherboard cottage, a dairy, old cypress trees and a single ancient snow gum. We started growing things - trees, shrubs, vegetables and fruit, and inevitably, vines.
Our first vines, Cabernet Sauvignon, were planted in the orchard block in 1988. Over the next few years these provided us with a small practical classroom where we learnt the basics of vine management and made some wine.
In 1994, work commenced on the current vineyard site, expanding the Cabernet with several clones and and adding a few rows of Cabernet Franc and Merlot to see how they would go. Most of the first hectare was planted to Pinot Noir (clone D5V12). Terry started studies in viticulture and wine making through Charles Sturt University, and more theory was added to our practice. The Pinot plantings were further expanded in 1999 with 3 hectares of Clone MV6.
The most recent addition has been a 1.2 hectare block of Pinot Gris ( Clone D1V7) to the south of the earlier plantings. This block was planted in the winter of 2006 and wiped out by the heavy spring frosts that year. It was replanted in 2007 and most vines are now well and truly established.
The statue of Saint Marcellin Champagnat looks out over the vineyard, and found a home with us as the result of Terry's long association with Tenison Woods College in Mount Gambier.
All vines are shoot positioned, predominantly as Vertically Shoot Positioned (VSP) treatments with two foliage wires. We have experimented with a Scott Henry trellis on the first 15 rows of the Cabernet in an attempt to overcome the vigour problem in the Cabernet. The jury is still out.