Cabernet Sauvignon was the first variety planted in 1988 on the New Era property – a decision taken largely in recognition of the unique characters capable of being produced in a cool climate region such as the Adelaide Hills. Over the next 27 years Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Merlot and Pinot Noir were planted and have now reached full maturity. Recent additions of some lesser known European varieties such as Sangiovese, Touriga, Nebbiolo and Montepulciano have been included into the varietal range in response to a realisation that the microclimate in this region of the Adelaide Hills has the potential to deliver superior quality red varietal wines in a traditional style.
At New Era we approach our vineyard and winemaking operations with a philosophy focused upon delivering a sustainable future for the business whilst minimising the impact on the biodiversity of the environment and the flora and fauna that is supported by the property. This extends to the family of kangaroos that call New Era home and the flocks of parrots that time their arrival to share vintage with us. A policy of minimal applications of herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals ensures that the New Era vineyard operations have the smallest impact possible on the local ecosystem.
Bob and Iain are personally engaged in the extensive range of manual activities so necessary for the generation of superior quality in the vineyard. Hand pruning to optimise the levels of yield, bunch thinning to achieve just the right number of bunches per vine, shoot thinning to remove some of the weaker shoots and open up the canopy to allow the circulation of air, leaf plucking to enable optimal light penetration to enhance fruit colour development are just a few of the techniques employed to guarantee the production of superior quality grapes that express the unique terroir of our site.
New Era Vineyard’s philosophy on winemaking is one of minimal intervention, which allows the individual terroir of our fruit to express itself through our wines. New Era applies a range of wine making techniques: from the Old World where tradition and the role of terroir lead and the winemaker’s intervention is managed in a minimalist fashion to that of the New World where science and the role of the winemaker are more often emphasized. This approach produces wines that express their origins and the individual and distinctive terroir of New Era Vineyards as well as enhancing the true expression of fruit from the variety.
Our approach to winemaking includes the use of small batch open fermenters with temperature controls, the gentle use of hand plunging to extract maximum colour and flavour while minimising the breakdown of skins and development of extractive and bitter characters, extended fermentation and the process of maceration which enhances flavour, body and mouth-feel as well as strengthening the colour. These practices also have the added benefit of adding complexity and life expectancy to the wine by developing more complex tannins that will soften over a longer period of time. Bob and Iain also utilise a combination of cold soaking and post ferment maceration in conjunction with both wild and inoculated ferments.
Minimal additions of chemicals and preservatives during the winemaking process ensure the wines truly express the terroir of the vineyard and unique seasonal conditions experienced throughout the growing period. The gentle use of a basket press allows the wine to be pressed off skins delicately into a combination of French and American oak where it is aged for up to 24 months. During this aging process the wine is gently racked a number of times: a process that softens tannins clarifies the wine and enhances aromatic qualities. To maintain maximum terroir, all of our red wines are bottled without fining and filtration.