Quarry Hill is a boutique, family owned and run vineyard situated just outside Canberra and is part of the Canberra cool-climate region, with elevations ranging from 630m up to 655m. Established in 1999 by Professor Deane Terrell, ex-vice-chancellor of the Australian National University, it was named after a section of the property that provided rock for the construction of the Barton Highway. Rock is indeed a feature of the vineyard, which has a diversity of geology including granite, quartz, limestone and shale.
Another distinctive feature is the terraces that have been cut into the steep slope of the hillside, the easterly aspect of these stepped, terraced rows provides excellent morning sun exposure, and by management of the vine canopy on the western side, the intense afternoon sun can be controlled.
The steepness of the vineyard has made it exceptionally frost-resistant, and the rocky soil ensures good drainage. Warm days and very cool nights provide slow ripening fruit, retaining good acids and aromatics.
While the first plantings at Quarry Hill were of Pinot Noir in 1999, the vineyard’s four and a half hectares are largely devoted to Shiraz with small blocks of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot, expanding in 2006 when Tempranillo and Savagnin (thought to be Albariño at the time) were added. We plan to soon be producing a red Rhône blend, which will involve Grenache, Mataro/Mourvedre, Shiraz, Cinsault and Roussanne.
The site is naturally low yielding and throughout the life of the vineyard, the emphasis has been on producing high quality grapes for delivery to some of the region’s leading winemakers, and for our own vintages.