St Huberts

An iconic brand and pioneer of winemaking in the region, St Huberts lies at the gateway to the picturesque Yarra Valley. Although we have a long and rich history, grape growing and winemaking are progressive and we continue to receive awards and glowing reviews for our wines. Our cellar door is small but boasts a terrific range of wines, from sparkling to sweet together with our flagship Roussanne and Cabernet Sauvignon (and playful Stag Pinot Noir) in between. Importantly, friendly and knowledgeable staff to assist and guide you through the range. Relax under the old elm tree, or picnic with the kids on the grounds with a backdrop of vineyards and rolling hills. St-Huberts

History

It was Hubert de Castella that founded St Huberts in 1862. He came to the colony of Victoria in 1854 at the invitation of his younger brother Paul, (who had bought Yering Station) and had been there since 1849.  Hubert and Paul were some of the many Swiss settlers that were attracted to the colony, thanks to Governor Latrobe and his wife Sophie.

By 1876 St Huberts vineyard was over 200 acres with 70 acres of Hermitage, 20 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and 10 acres of Marsanne.

In 1879 the St Huberts limited liability company was wound up, with the vineyard having survived the 1870’s and even expanding. At this time Hubert acquired Andrew Rowan as a partner, “A man of great force of character” and “always a mastermind in any business he took in hand”.

The 1880’s brought a boom period and saw St Huberts being awarded the prize of Emperor Wilhelm I of Germany at the Great Exhibition in Melbourne in 1881. This success coincided with a new regime at St Huberts, Andrew Rowan taking over the marketing of the wines, leaving Hubert free to manage the estate and its maturing stock of wine.

The boom period of the 1880’s saw St Huberts expand to 250 acres of bearing vines.  The success of the vineyard enabled Hubert to build a rambling homestead in the style of a Swiss chalet. It is remembered by his eldest son Francois as “rather a show place”, often visited by Victorian Governors and overseas notables.

In 1883 Hubert sent Francois at age sixteen, to the famous French wineries Chateau Latour in Bordeaux and Pomard in Burgundy. On his return Francois found his father locked in a struggle with Andrew Rowan over the control of St Huberts. In 1886, Hubert journeyed to Europe leaving St Huberts in the care of young Francois.  Hubert de Castella complained of the difficulties involved in making and selling wine in a distant British colony, but as late as 1886 he had no intention of relinquishing his vision, or the great property he created.

In 1889, St Huberts won one of only fourteen Grand Prix awards at the Paris Exposition, which was a phenomenal achievement.

In 1890 Rowan forced Hubert’s hand persuading him to sell his share outright for £30,000.

In 1901 St Huberts was the largest estate in the Yarra Valley with 260 acres under vine and produced over 20,000 cases of quality wine. By 1902 St Huberts was in the hands of David Mitchell a builder and one of the few men of means left in the area with a passion for viticulture. Mitchell already owned sixty acres of vines in the area and with the purchase of St Huberts became the district’s largest vigneron.

David Mitchell’s death in 1916 and the onset of the Great Depression in the 1920’s precipitated the rapid decline of St Huberts. In the 1920’s the land reverted to grazing and dairy production. Francois de Castella shared his father’s vision for the Yarra Valley and expressed his fond hope in an article in 1943, “that I may live to see the day when the Yarra vineyards will arise once more, like the legendary Phoenix”. Unfortunately, Francois did not live to see the rebirth of the Yarra vineyards and especially his beloved St Huberts, having died in 1953.

In 1966 St Huberts was the first of the replantings in the Yarra Valley.  Tom Cester bought the site specifically for a vineyard amid enormous criticism.  1974 was the first commercial vintage from St Huberts vineyard after a 60 year absence.

Of the original St Huberts property the only trace of the cellars is a hole in the ground, however a brick section of the stables are still standing and the stables have been transformed into a reception venue.

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The People

The Grapes….

David Ammerlaan – Vineyard Manager since 2008
Over 20 years producing quality grapes in and close by the Yarra Valley.

“The challenge and reward, is working with Mother Nature to get the best quality fruit from the vineyard.”

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Jamie Hewet – Grower Liaison Manager since 2006
Over 15 years sourcing quality grapes – guiding and maintaining close relationships with key growers.

“Each combination of variety and site reveals something unique and exciting.”

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The Wine….

Greg Jarratt – Winemaker since 2006
Over 25 vintages around the world – close to 20 in the Yarra Valley.

“Surprises are often a good thing – if you don’t learn something new each vintage, you should go and become an astronaut!”

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The Wines

Sparkling Blanc de Noir:

First made in 2010, the St Huberts Sparkling Blanc de Noir is our first attempt at a “serious sparkling” for the last few decades. We ventured off the valley floor for this wine, and carefully selected parcels of Upper Yarra Valley Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Being a Blanc de Noir, Pinot Noir is the dominant variety, and along with this comes the fruit power and mid palate. A smattering of Chardonnay gives the wine a backbone and draws out the finish. Handpicked fruit is gently whole bunch pressed, and the base wine fermented in its bottle in the “traditionnelle” method. The wine has generally has over four years on lees prior to disgorging, then several months on cork before release.

 

Roussanne:

Roussanne is a late ripening variety originating in the Rhone Valley of France. In 2010, there was only around 90Ha of vines planted in Australia. Fruit is entirely sourced from the St Huberts vineyard, a 1.3 hectare block planted in 1987. Grapes are hand-picked and whole-bunch pressed, followed by full solids fermentation and maturation in a mix of new and seasoned French barrels and stainless steel. On top of being a little rare and different, the wine is aromatic and textured – a real “food wine”…

 

Chardonnay:

Fruit for this Chardonnay is sourced from premium sites in the lower Yarra Valley. The clones selected are predominantly Mendoza and French Dijon. With a mix of destemmed fruit and whole bunch pressing, high solids juice is fermented in a mixture of new and seasoned French oak. The wine spends its entire oak maturation on yeast lees and is racked just prior to blending. A small portion of the wine goes through malo-lactic fermentation to add texture and palate weight.

 

The Stag Pinot Noir:

St Huberts “Hubert the Stag” Pinot is our second tier Pinot offering – serious Pinot at a modest price (sounds like an oxymoron…). First made in 2008, the Stag has won a string of Medals and Accolades in its brief history. Fruit for this wine is harvested from selected premium sites around the Yarra Valley and fermented in small, open fermenters, using whole bunches to add complexity. Maturation took place in a variety of new and seasoned French oak barrels. It is intended as an uncomplicated, fresh, fruit driven wine.

 

Pinot Noir:

St Huberts Pinot is designed to be a ‘fuller’ style Yarra Pinot, with more depth and concentration than many of our local brethren. Fruit is sourced from the St Huberts vineyard and other warmer sites – particularly on the Lower Yarra Valley flats. Typically MV6 clone is the base, often 114 and 115 added for their riper ‘fleshy berry’ characters. In the winery, a percentage of whole bunches in the ferments, wild yeast, a little barrel fermentation, some time on lees, and a lick of good French oak add complexity to the wines. Most importantly the wines have to look varietal – look like Pinot (not dry red), and have regional character.

 

Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot:

For our Cabernet / Merlot fruit parcels are sourced primarily from vineyard sites on the Yarra Valley flats, with a portion of the Merlot from the Upper Yarra. Individual vineyard parcels are fermented in a range of vessels to create some difference in the flavour and tannin profiles. These parcels are then pressed off separately and racked into predominately French oak to develop further depth and complexity. Merlot acts like ‘flesh on the bones’, to round the palate of the wine, and add succulent berry fruit notes to the nose.

 

Cabernet Sauvignon:

Cabernet Sauvignon is our hero variety and flagship wine – designed for aging in the cellar. Fruit parcels are sourced primarily from vineyard sites on the Yarra Valley flats – these sites provide the warmth required to produce rich and flavoursome wines. Individual vineyard parcels are fermented in open vats and closed statics with differing time on skins to make an array of blending options. These parcels are pressed off and racked into French oak barriques to develop further depth and complexity. Our aim is to produce a wine true to the regional style while highlighting Cabernet Sauvignon’s varietal characters.

 

Late Picked Viognier:

We aim to make a wine that dances between elegance and lusciousness. The fruit for this wine is sourced from John Denton’s vineyard near Yarra Glen in the Yarra Valley. The grapes are handpicked as ripe as we can practically get them – in a man vs. bird struggle! After crushing, overnight maceration and pressing, the juice is fermented in stainless steel and arrested a little over half way through resulting in a sweet wine that is rich, but not cloying.

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