The vineyard was established by Rick Kinzbrunner, a mechanical engineer who became interested in wine in the early 1970's and spent the next ten years traveling to wine-growing areas overseas learning as much as possible. After a brief stint in New Zealand he studied at Davis University in California and worked at some of the most respected wineries in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, namely Stag's Leap, Simi and Matanzas Creek. In Europe he worked a 'stage' with the Moueix group, co-owner of the fabled Chateau Petrus.
After returning to Australia in 1980 to take up a position as assistant winemaker at Brown Brothers Milawa he purchased land near the old Everton Hills Vineyard, and in 1982 commenced planting the classic varieties Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and a small amount of Pinot Noir which was followed in 1986 by another acre. In the last five years further plantings of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay have occurred, with a small amount of Roussanne. Total area under vines in the original vineyard is now 3ha. Recent plantings have added a further 3ha.
At an altitude of 400 metres (1330 feet) the site, which is a south facing slope so that the vines do not receive the direct impact of the sun's rays, is relatively cool. It is in a small valley which benefits from a light breeze much ofï¿½ the time; useful in controlling disease.
The soil is a granitic loam over decomposed gravel and clay. The clay is important allowing sustained water-release to the vine roots; while the soil, being not too rich, is ideal for wine quality as yields are naturally regulated; approximate harvest being limited to two tonnes per acre. The vines are drip irrigated in some years only when necessary to prevent stress.
Average rainfall is 700 mm, a little of which can be received during summer. Nights are generally cool with days being fairly warm, providing ideal ripening conditions. Vintage occurs between mid-March and mid-April depending on the season; all grapes are hand picked in the cool of the early morning.
The winery overlooks the vineyard and is constructed of local granite blocks and hand-made bricks. The wines are hand-crafted; in the case of the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir using traditional Burgundian methods, and the Cabernet, Merlot and Cabernet Franc according to classical Bordeaux techniques including long maceration. Only top quality French oak is employed.
The first release of Giaconda wines was in 1987 with the 1986 Chardonnay and the 1985 Cabernet blend. Total production has been around 1000 dozen. This will now increase due to the recent plantings to approximately 2000 - 2500 dozen. The wines have been keenly received by winemakers, retailers and enthusiasts alike. The wine press has accorded them many accolades and placed them at or near the top in a number of masked tastings.OUR LOCATION
Giaconda Vineyard and Winery is situated nine kilometers southwest of Beechworth on the Wangaratta Road in Northeastern Victoria, in the foothills and within sight of the Victorian Alps.