Almost 20 years ago, when Chalmers began to make wines from the many new varieties they had imported, often they were making the very first example of these wines in Australia. Coming from purely a viticultural perspective they were trying to understand if these grapes were suitable for growing unique and distinctive wine in their new home.
So rather than work with a winemaker whose approach is to craft and mould a great wine using all the tools and techniques at hand, they set out to work with a winemaker who would let the fruit speak for itself, without interfering too much in the process. The wine in bottle had to be an honest and transparent translation of the grapes, the season and the vineyard.
For this reason, from their first vintage in 2003 Chalmers worked with Kooyong winery whose then winemaker Sandro Mosele was a proponent of minimal intervention winemaking; now a somewhat overused industry buzz word but back then a rare but growing philosophy in Australia. Today, and since 2017, the wines are now being made by the Chalmers family themselves at their new Merbein winery where the philosophy remains the same: Wild ferments, no acid additions wherever possible, no filtration or fining processes that aren’t necessary.
In the vineyard every care is taken to grow the grapes with the least environmental impact using organic nutrition and fungicide programs and non residual weed control. Grapes are all harvested at the optimum balance ripeness and acidity as determined by flavour tasting. The hand picked fruit is often refrigerated overnight before processing the next day.
The combination of unique characteristics from the varieties and sites with mindful, hands-off winemaking leads to authentic expressions which create the common thread across the diverse ranges of wine made by Chalmers.