Wattle Park - Adelaide Hills
The Johnston family started their journey in the wine industry in 1892, with Alexander Campbell Johnston purchasing 250 acres in McLaren Vale, which at the time had 20 acres of Grenache and Zante Currants in production.
In the early 1980’s, current Pirramimma custodian’s Geoff and Louise Johnston explored the considerable Adelaide Hills wine region, looking for the idyllic site to plant a cool climate vineyard that closely matched the temperature summations of Bordeaux.
In 1985 after a comprehensive search, throughout the Adelaide Hills, we selected a rugged rocky hilltop at Kuitpo, to plant our high altitude vineyard. The topography was perfect for grape growing, with top soil of shallow dark grey/brown loam, interspersed with lateralized Ironstone pebbles and pockets of quartzite, layered in the Kaolin yellow/brown mottled clay sub soil.
The picturesque Heritage Listed, Kuitpo Hills Vineyard was established in 1986, covering 20 Hectares of closely planted, low yielding Chardonnay, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. In 2012 we replaced the Semillon with Malbec, with cuttings coming from old mother vines which were planted in the 1960’s. We are very confident the early ripening Malbec will excel in our environment and produce premium cool climate fruit.
Using compost, humates, microbes and nitrogen rich cover crops, we have embraced biological farming and sustainable practice.
With Geoff’s 40 years winemaking experience at Pirramimma, Louise and son Andrew made the family decision, instead of selling the fruit, we will release a brand from our mature Kuitpo Vineyards. Thus more winemaking duties for Geoffrey. The sensational 2010 Vintage was selected for the inaugural Wattle Park release, which was limited to 2 wines, a straight varietal Shiraz and a Saint Emilion like blend with Merlot dominant, and Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot completing the tripartite.
Andrew Johnston whom manages the PIRRAMIMMA vineyards, is hands on at Kuitpo Hills, ensuring that pristine fruit is produced. Andrew is currently working a vintage at Chateau Haut Goujon, in Pomerol, Saint Emilion. Returning in December, to manage the vineyards through to harvest.
The Wattle Park label was modelled on the Australian Golden Whistler , who is abundant and vibrant in our 30 acre Heritage listed enclave. The Golden Whistler has a range of wonderful singing and whistling tones. The Heritage listing was indorsed in 1995 to protect the rare native orchids, the Donkey Orchid, Green Comb Spider Orchid, Waxlip and many others.
We proudly call this flora, fauna and grape sanctuary our home.