Balgownie Estate Wines History
Balgownie Estate was one of the pioneers of commercial winemaking in the Bendigo Region, first planting vines in 1969.
Established by the legendary winemaker Stuart Anderson in 1969, Balgownie Estate was the first vineyard planted in the Bendigo district in more than 80 years. The emergence of Balgownie Estate as a serious red wine producer in the 1970’s led to the rapid expansion of the central goldfields wine growing region and was a significant player in the rebirth of the Victorian wine industry.
The 33 hectare vineyard is situated on a gentle slope overlooking Myer’s Creek at Maiden Gully. This superb site of alluvial soil has major plantings of cabernet sauvignon and shiraz with smaller amounts of pinot noir, chardonnay, merlot, cabernet franc, petit verdot, viognier and sangiovese. The conditions for premium wine grape growing are ideal with long warm summer days ameliorated by very cool overnight temperatures. This allows optimum ripeness while retaining that vital core of acidity.
Balgownie Estate’s red wines were inspired by the classic wines of Bordeaux and the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Hermitage (as Shiraz was known at the time) were highly sought after from the first vintage release in 1972. The style of Balgownie Estate was set through this period with intense and complex wines that were rich yet savoury rather than simple fruity flavours. Moderate alcohol and the intelligent use of oak endowed these wines a rare combination of vibrancy and a genuine sense of honesty, as well as the capacity to develop in the cellar.
Winemakers at Balgownie have been notably loyal and long standing. In over 40 years, there have been just five: impressive in an industry with a pursuit for excellence in wine and where winemakers are prepared to travel the globe in search of it. Winemakers to date start with founder Stuart Anderson. He was succeeded by Mildara Blass Winemaker Lindsay Ross. Tobias Ansted was the first winemaker under current ownership, starting in 1999 and leaving just before his 10 years were due in December 2008. In January 2009 winemaker Mark Lane joined the team and he was succeeded by the Assistant Winemaker Tony Winspear for the 2014 vintage.