Where all the fun happens. Every year Chalmers makes experimental wines from the nursery source blocks in Merbein as well as the every growing Heathcote plantings. Not to be locked away in the lab – these wines are made public and can be found in a wine bar or indie bottle shop near you. You can’t miss the colourful labels.
There is no shortage of ideas at Chalmers and a fabulously diverse and interesting supply of grapes too. This results in upwards of 15 different trial ferments every year at the Merbein winery where Bart and Tennille have been working on this project since 2012 when the first #bucketwines were made. The early bucketwines wre literally made in buckets and 5-35 litre glass demijohns, recently they have grown to 100-300kg batches where winemaking conditions are more similar to regular production. Since 2015, the Chalmers Project label has been applied to these wines, in a fixed set of 10 colours. Essentially the 10 colours are put in place to keep the reins on a team with endless enthusiasm for the new and interesting.
Not only are the Project wines about testing varieties and sites, they’re also about posing winemaking questions which couldn’t normally be tackled in the mainstream regular ranges of wine. The results of these trials all feed into decision making at Chalmers and have already informed the selection of varieties for new plantings at Heathcote as well as winemaking practices to be applied more broadly in the Chalmers Merbein Winery. The experience and knowledge this project generates allows Chalmers to not only improve their own wines, but also to be able to supply their vine and grape customers with more detailed information about just how their varieties perform in all aspects of production – from the farm to the table.