History of Riesling at Delatite

Riesling first arrived at Delatite in 1967 as a bundle of cuttings from Jim Irvine, a legendary winemaker from South Australia. 

Although the winery’s founder, Robert Ritchie, could hardly remember the conversation on Mt Buller that led to their arrival, his wife, Vivienne popped them in the vegetable garden and they went on with their normal farming activities.After a few calls to Jim the following year they were finally planted out in the Spring of 1968.

Four years later, he and Vivienne made their first wine, using a small press and a baby’s bath.

Like all home brewers, they thought it had promise, but realised they would need some help to make it viable.

They approached John Brown from Brown Brothers, one of the best-known wineries in north-east Victoria, and the following year he made their first commercial wine. They called it simply 'DelatiteSpecial Individual VineyardRiesling’.

Brown Brothers continued to make Delatite’s wine until 1982 when their daughter Ros started making it at Mansfield, at their own winery.

“That first riesling,” says her brother David, now the winery’s managing director. “Won three gold medals at its first three shows, as well as a few silver and bronzes.”

Later she developed the Late Harvest and the VS (Reserve ‘Vivienne’s Block’) rieslings that are still sold to this day.

For the last 12 years they have been made by Andy Browning, who has continued to develop the variety and now Delatite produces three rieslings and uses it in a further blends, the 'Hell's Window' natural wine and the 'MansField' Five white blend.

Why does Delatite produce great Riesling? 

Vivienne puts it down to the location and placement.

“I think the reason we have produced such good Riesling is because of the climate, soil and altitude,” she says.

Viticulture practice is also very important. "Growing the grapes biodynamically has really changed the fruit profile and has had a huge effect on our vines." David says.

Delatite's Riesling have done exceptionally well in James Halliday’ Wine Companion this year, with the2019 Reserve ‘Vivienne’s Block’ Rieslingreceiving94 pointsthe2019 Estate Rieslingreceiving93 pointsand the2019 Estate Late Harvest Rieslingreceiving best of the best in its variety and a rating of96 points

Ned Goodwin from James Halliday's Wine Companion said ‘Riesling is truly this estate's tour de force… (it) is light years away from the hard Australian standard. And all the better for it.”