She-Oak Hill Vineyard is located on the western side of the Northern Highway, five kilometers north of the township of Heathcote in the heart of the Heathcote Region.
The vineyard was planted in the spring of 1975. Along with Mt Ida, Huntleigh and Jasper Hill, She Oak Hill was one of the pioneering vineyards in the region. Gordon’s family added to the original vineyard with a further planting of Shiraz and Chardonnay in 1996. These vines have gone on to establish deep roots in the mineral rich Cambrian soil, and with extensive use of straw mulching, the dry grown vines produce a relatively low yield of premium fruit.
The vines are expertly cane pruned by Laurie Conforti who learned his viticulture skills in the small northern Italian village of Dubino and who has assisted the Leckie family in the management of the vineyard since 1976. Twenty buds per vine are retained depending on seasonal conditions and the vigour of each vine . The emerging shoots are positioned by hand between a pair of foliage wires to to allow for maximum penetration of sunlight into the vines to promote even ripening and enhance the flavour of the fruit.
The soil is aerated and mulched to improve soil structure and significant emphasis has been put into the planting of trees indigenous to the area to provide wind breaks, reduce the impact of monoculture and to provide habitat and a corridor to the Mt Ida National Park for native birds and wildlife.
She Oak Hill Vineyard aims to utilise biological control of threats to fruit quality in preference to chemical control and looks to healthy soils, beneficial insects and canopy management as the most satisfying methods of producing premium fruit.
The grapes are hand picked at harvest with an emphasis on quality to ensure the grapes are in peak condition for delivery to the winery.
The wine is made at neighbouring Sanguine Estate by Mark Hunter whose commitment to labour intensive, traditional wine making techniques are in line with the philosophy behind the vineyard operations.
The Chardonnay is harvested in early March, about three weeks before the Shiraz, and the wine is fermented with the natural yeasts from the vineyard and matured in small French oak barriques for 12 months and 18 months respectively until bottling.
She Oak Hill Vineyard produces approximately 500 cases of Shiraz and 120 cases of chardonnay from fruit exculsively grown at She Oak Hill.