Ashton Hills is a three hectare, dry-grown vineyard that lies in the Piccadilly Valley sub region of the Adelaide Hills on a ridge just below the summit of Mount Lofty. The estate was founded by Stephen George in 1982 and since that time it has built a reputation as one of Australia’s finest proponents of Pinot Noir and cool climate whites.
Location of Vineyard
The Adelaide Hills is Australia’s most vibrant cool climate wine region and it is acknowledged internationally for its distinctive premium wines, viticulture and stunning scenery. The region is located in the Mount Lofty Ranges east of Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia. Stretching in a narrow band approximately 70km long, the highest vineyards are sited between 600-650 metres altitude around the sub region of Piccadilly which Ashton Hills calls home. The Adelaide Hills are universally acknowledged for their distinctive cool climate wines, viticulture and scenery. Nestled in the Piccadilly Valley, the Ashton Hills vineyard is climatically different to the rest of the Hills, being significantly colder and wetter. At one of the highest altitudes in the Adelaide Hills the vines shudder through some of the coolest vintage conditions in the country, with rainfall a whopping 1200mm a year, well over double that of the Barossa Valley. So whether it’s the lifted perfumes and elegant structure of the pinot noir or the crisp purity of the riesling, Piccadilly Valley’s bona-fide cool-climate imprint is a feature of the wines.
Following 30+ vintages at Ashton Hills, Stephen George has become recognised as one of Australia’s finest makers and growers of pinot noir. His philosophy on the winemaking process is very simple, with a focus on minimal intervention and movement of the wine. Fellow winemaker Paul Smith from Wirra Wirra now works closely with Stephen to create each vintage of Ashton Hills wines to the exacting quality that has been its trademark for so many years. The winery itself has an earthen floor and what is best described as “limited” winemaking equipment. Grapes are all hand-picked and gently destemmed, via a small customised, gentle destemmer that keeps as many whole berries as possible. Fermentation involves open air tanks and regular hand plunging with temperatures monitored and managed utilising the cool night time temperatures common during harvest. Skins are then basket pressed and the wine is made without any sulphur additions until bottling. The red wines are raised in a combination of new, aged, neutral French hogshead barrels.