Specialising in cool climate wine, Delatite’s winery and vineyards are on rolling hills at the base of Mt Buller in north-east Victoria. It was established in 1968 by Robert and Vivienne Ritchie and now run by their son David. Our approach to winemaking has been forged from the family’s history of working with the land in Victoria for over 170 years. We’re committed to producing outstanding wines and to biodynamic principles that leave the environment in a better state than when we started.
Over the generations of farming at Delatite there has been a growing awareness that whatever the farming pursuit, their practices should be guided by what is the best for future generations, not by what is simply the easiest today.
All that the small viticulture and winemaking team, at Delatite, does is with the aim of producing very individual wines with great structure and complexity that will also age extremely well, be exceptional partners to a variety of foods, and also be very nice to drink!
In the vineyard the Delatite team follows Rudolf Steiner’s Biodynamic principles as they believe in growing grapes and making wine in as natural a way as possible with minimal intervention/additions. The only fertilisers used are reactive rock phosphate, fish/kelp/fulvic acid, BD 500, cow and sheep manure concentrate and compost teas. No herbicides, insecticides or systemic/curative fungicides are used – the only vine sprays are wettable sulphur, copper and Bacillus thuringiensis.
They continue with their minimal intervention in the winery by allowing natural or ‘wild’ yeast ferments (no commercial yeasts are added), no artificial fining agents and most of the red wines are bottled with minimal or no filtration. This is very much going back to the ‘old ways’ of winemaking but doing this in a modern winery with modern equipment and very good knowledge of the science of winemaking……the best of both worlds. And it is small batch winemaking – all of the Estate and Reserve Block reds are fermented in 1.5-2 tonne batches and the whites are made block by block. This further accentuates the individuality of the wines and allows maximum quality to be achieved from each season.
This dedication to quality and integrity in both the vineyard and winery is also evident in the many awards the winery has received. Delatite Wines has been consistently successful in the show circuit, and favourably reviewed in the media. “This is uncompromising cool climate viticulture and the wines naturally reflect that.” wrote James Halliday’s in his Australian Wine Companion 2018, rating Delatite as a ‘Five Red Star Winery’ from 2009 - 2018.
David Ritchie is the MD and general dogsbody to boot.
He pruned his first vines in 1974, was Cellar hand and chief hand corker on the bottling line when winery the was established in 1982 and has worked continually at the winery since 1985. Called ‘handyman dave’ by his wife and children (he’s no Matt!) David has performed many roles across the business. In addition to running the vineyard he also ran exports, sold wine to Melbourne retail/restaurants for 12 months in the late 80’s, and was assistant winemaker for many years. Today he divides his time between running the company, sales management, and giving his sage advice to Andy and Matt.
With over twenty years of experience in winemaking Andy Browning began working in 1998 at Houghton Wines in Perth Western Australia. For the first ten years of his career Andy has worked at a number of prestigious Western Australian wineries including Plantagenet Wines and Howard Park Wines.
Overseas experience has seen Andy working in Paarl (South Africa), Alsace (France), Burgundy (France) and the Rhine Valley (Germany).
While working at Howard Park Wines, Andy worked in partnership with Pascal Marchand a leading Biodynamic winemaker from Burgundy. From this introduction to Organic/Biodynamic winemaking Andy became fascinated with more natural methods of making wine which lead him to contact David Ritchie of Delatite Wines a leading Organic/Biodynamic Victorian wine producer.
For the last ten Andy has been working with David Ritchie at Delatite in their joint passion for naturally make Organic and Biodynamic wines from Delatite’s world renowned cool climate vineyards.
Matt Green is our Vineyard Manager.
Matt has worked with David for nine years at Delatite and before that he ran a couple of other vineyards in the district that Delatite has advised. He overseas the day to day running of the vineyard doing anything from ensuring everything is always working, to overlooking the pruning and picking teams to slashing and pest control. He’s a great mechanic and welder (attributes sorely needed!), can turn his hand and mind to anything, loves getting a good crop in, hates nasty chemicals and fruit eating birds, and doesn’t mind the odd one or two beers.
2018 AWARDS AND REVIEWS
The James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion has named Delatite a 5 Red Star Winery for the past 6 years and his latest review said:
"With its sweeping views across to the snow-clad Alps, this is uncompromising cool climate viticulture. Increasing vine age (many of the plantings are well over 30 years old), and the adoption of organic (and partial biodynamic) viticulture, seem also to have played a role in providing the red wines with more depth and texture; the white wines are as good as ever; all are wild-yeast fermented."
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