Founder and winemaker Ken King planted the vineyard in 1990, selecting the early ripening Burgundy varieties Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the vineyard is planted on a south slope to deliberately delay the ripening of the fruit, which enables full varietal flavours to develop.
The vines are vigorous but kept in balance by dry growing techniques and careful hand pruning each year onto a single fruiting wire. Ken developed the business as a one-man band for over a decade, establishing a loyal band of local followers, in particular for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Ken’s involvement in winemaking began in 1984 as a member of the Eltham and District Amateur Winemakers Guild. In 1988 Ken purchased the 3ha site prized for its rich black volcanic soils that he refers to as chocolate cake.
In 2013, Chris Ramsay partnered with Ken as co-owner and assistant winemaker. This partnership has allowed Ken and Chris to step up production and increase both wine volume and quality for the Kings of Kangaroo Ground brand.
All wines are made on site in their winery, so they are a true “vine to bottle” operation. They believe in capturing the moment when the grapes are at their peak and transferring that instant into the wine. Their wine making techniques are highly traditional, with minimal intervention in the process, but a touch of science to ensure the best result.
Their winemaking philosophy is very traditional, with minimal handling to let the fruit express itself in the wine… most of the winemaking processes are done by hand, with their crusher/destemmer, bag press and pump being the main modern equipment used to make the wine.
They use cultured yeasts and nutrients in our ferments, with only the minimal additional of preservative 220 (sulphur dioxide) during winemaking. They do not use egg, fish or animal products at all in our winemaking, all wines are clarified by natural settling and filtering, so all wines are vegan compliant.
They are committed to sustainable practices at Kings of Kangaroo Ground, both in the vineyard and in our winemaking practices.
In the vineyard they employ the following practices:
- They work the vines by hand, including winter and summer pruning
- They don’t burn their prunings, they are mulched back into the soil
- They only irrigate when absolutely necessary at the height of summer heat
- They don’t fertilise, the rich volcanic soil provides all that the vines need
- They don’t use pesticides in the vineyard, most insects are our friends
- They only pick the fruit by hand
Over time they are working to understand their carbon footprint, with the objective of being demonstrably carbon neutral within a few years.
Credit – Kings of Kangaroo Ground