Giant Steps buys Bastard Hill vineyard

By Anna Webster

29 Aug, 2022

The Yarra Valley winery will add another single vineyard wine to its portfolio. 

Yarra Valley winery Giant Steps has acquired a new vineyard. Aptly named Bastard Hill for its steep slope and high altitude, it joins the iconic Applejack and Sexton vineyards as the third single vineyard site owned by the winery in the Yarra Valley winegrowing region. 

Located in the subregion of Gladysdale, the 31ha property was planted to pinot noir and chardonnay in the 1980s by viticulturalist Ray Guerin for BRL Hardy. While initially the site was dedicated to the production of premium sparkling wines, it quickly developed a reputation as one of the country’s greatest sites for still wines, producing grapes for iconic wines such as the Eileen Hardy Chardonnay. 

A man and woman pose in front of a vineyardAshley Wood and Melanie Chester.

Despite being one of Australia’s most fiercely pedigreed sites, Giant Steps' Manager of Viticulture Ashley Wood and Head Winemaker Melanie Chester say there’s some work to do to get the vineyard up to scratch. 

“The historical fruit supply requirements mean that there has been various pruning and canopy management methods applied since planting,” says Ashley. Starting with the 2022 pruning season, they’ll work to improve the vine canopy, balance the crop load, and improve overall vine and soil health through regenerative farming practices. 

“It’s a slow journey but we can’t wait to see the results,” says Ashley. “It will be like restoring a beautiful old home.” 

Still, Ashley and Melanie are "cautiously optimistic" that they’ll be able to start making a few barrels of Bastard Hill wines from as early as next year. 

“It’s rare today to find such a unique viticultural site,” says Ashley. “The opportunity to champion these cool climate varietals here at Bastard Hill under the guidance of Giant Steps’ winemakers and viticulture will inevitability result in wines of exceptional quality and longevity to be enjoyed for years to come.”