WHEN Tessa Brown and Jeremy Schmolzer planned a tree change to the North East they were after a particular block.
With plans to make cool-climate wines, Ms Brown said they hunted Beechworth and Stanley for the perfect site.
“Absolutely the last one we looked at was the pick of the bunch,” she said.
“It was happenstance we got that block.”
From the Mornington Peninsula and Melbourne respectively, Ms Brown and Mr Schmolzer bought their Stanley property in 2013 to establish their vineyard Thorley.
Today they use their own grapes and those grown within the Beechworth GI region to make wines under their Schmolzer & Brown label.
An architect by trade Mr Schmolzer shares the winemaking role with his partner Ms Brown, a viticulturist and winemaker.
“We wanted to make cooler climate wines,” Mr Schmolzer said.
“But we can grow a lot broader variety of winegrapes because of the site specific aspects; the site is really north-facing.
“We have the highest nebbiolo planting in Victoria if not Australia.”
Beechworth boutique winery Sentio Wines owner Chris Catlow is making single vineyard wines that reflect site and place.
Having worked in the Mornington Peninsula and France, Wodonga-born Mr Catlow said he was making chardonnay from grapes grown at Beechworth, Alpine Valleys, Macedon Ranges, Yarra Valley and Tumbarbumba.
“The style is quite modern; it’s my attempt to reflect the places they’re from,” he said.
“There’s a lot more attention to picking and balance and getting that right.”
With help from dad Tony, Mr Catlow also makes a pinot noir, shiraz and sangiovese from Beechworth grapes under the Sentio Wines label.
Schmolzer & Brown and Sentio Wines will join other Beechworth small producers to host Romancing the Vine on May 19.
Part of the High Country Harvest festival, the event is an intimate, roving adventure of wine and food.
Sally Lynch, of Taste Trekkers, will provide delicious morsels cooked with fire at five locations.
Tessa Brown (Vignerons Schmolzer & Brown), Chris Catlow (Sentio Wines), Adrian Rodda (A.Rodda Wines), Mark Walpole (Fighting Gully Road) and Pete Graham (Domenica Wines) will share their winemaking stories.
The event starts at Cellar Door Wine Store with a coffee, pastry and heart starter, before heading to the hills of Beechworth to visit grape growers and winemakers.
Romancing the Vine runs from 10am to 4pm.