In 1973 the Girolamo family selected 40 acres near the pristine beaches of Aldinga Bay and under the picturesque hills of Sellicks as the site for their vineyards. Recognising that the combination of Mediterranean type climate, fertile biscay soils and the influence of cooling sea breezes from the Gulf of St Vincent would provide an ideal environment for the production of premium grapes they planted Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
From the original plantings on this property only the Shiraz and Grenache remain. The vines from this vineyard, now over three decades old, often form the basis for our Shiraz varietal wines – the concentration of flavours and aromatic characteristics derived from these old, low yielding vines add another dimension of complexity and elegance to the Aldinga Bay Shiraz.
In 1995, the 140 acre vineyard development commenced on Sellicks Hill situated at the foot of the Mt Lofty Ranges. Best vineyard practices were employed, including vertical trellising on north-south rows to allow greater fruit exposure, close planting to control vegetative vigour, the planting of windbreaks to protect from the vines from the Sellicks Hill gully winds.
On the consensus that the vineyard was of primary importance, if wines were to reach their greatest potential, minimal irrigation was introduced with soil moisture levels monitored by neutron probes and gypsum blocks. This allowed for both the preservation of our precious water resources and an increase in the quality of fruit.
After initial plantings of Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc – varieties renown for producing quality wines in the McLaren Vale region, Aldinga Bay began their campaign of introducing new and emerging varieties to their vineyards. 1996 saw the first plantings of the Italian varieties – Sangiovese, Barbera and Nebbiolo.
Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc were also planted to provide the winery with a further blending option when making Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot based wines.
With every facet of the vineyard operations dedicated to the production of premium fruit, the culmination of the season’s work sees harvest conducted by machine in the cool of the morning, when the grapes are in peak condition. The harvest is then transferred to the modern winery, just minutes away on the same property, where crushing and processing are quickly commenced.
While the sunny days, mild nights, star filled skies and fertile soils are the ideal growing conditions for the 180 acres of vineyard planted on the Aldinga Bay McLaren Vale vineyards. We also reach beyond our boundaries seeking exceptional parcels of fruit from some of Australia’s best know wine regions, including Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, and Clare Valley. With each region having different climates, soils and characters our wine offering is based around regional selection, thus enabling our winemakers to achieve wine styles and characters of consistently great quality.
“When we make our wines, we know we are working with some of the best grapes Australia has to offer.” Nick Girolamo
In early 1979, on the site of its original vineyard, construction began on the purpose-built winery for the processing of grapes. By December of that year the winery and cellar door was officially opened.
The original design focus was on a facility for the production of premium wines; equipped with refrigerated stainless steel fermentation tanks, and utilizing new technology winemaking equipment. Continual expansions and upgrades to the facilities has seen the winery’s production capabilities increase to 100,000 cases per year.
Our winery also contains a sizable array of French and American oak hogsheads and barriques, where our red wines rest quietly for months or even years as they develop their oak maturation characters.
Aldinga Bay believe that it’s the human element that produces the truly memorable wines. Our winemaking team has a hand in every stage of the process, from taste testing grapes from each vineyard to determine the perfect harvest time, to crushing, fermentation and maturation ensuring each parcel is treated separately to emphasise their individual characteristics, and then working their magic during final blending to bring these parcels together. Creating wines we are truly proud to put our name to.