Our winemaking philosophy
The Whisson Lake vineyard has been using organic practices for many, many years. Our spray program has always been based on sulphur (and tiny bit of copper), the fertiliser program on fish, seaweed and manures for decades, and we stopped spraying under-vine herbicides in 2015.
Everything we do in the vineyard is focused on improving the health of the soil and the vines with as few inputs as possible.
Our cool climate means our grapes ripen late, in many years just as the vine leaves are turning golden and the nights are growing cold.
That presents a challenge for fermenting, as we take our cues from traditional Burgundian winemaking styles, focusing on small ferments and aiming to get our ferments up around 30 degrees Celsius. We insulate and warm our ferments, because vintage is cold when you are this high in the Piccadilly Valley.
The young wines grow slowly in their barrels for 18 to 20 months on grows lees, we do not filter or fine and use minimal sulphur (30ppm SO2 only).
And now a little about us...
Mark Whisson - Owner & Viticulturist
I studied plant science at university, graduating from the University of Adelaide in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Botany and Biochemistry, and completing an Honours degree in Botany the following year. I then headed over to Canada and gained my Masters of Plant Biochemistry from the University of Alberta in 1981.
Later, I came home to Australia and decided I’d like to work in the wine industry. I was living in Bridgewater and I pestered my neighbour Brian Croser at Petaluma for three months until he gave me a job in 1983.
Within about three weeks I was promoted to vineyard manager and after being involved in the planting of about three or four Adelaide Hills vineyards, I decided to buy some land and plant my own vineyard. (I’ve since planted and managed more than 100 new vineyards, mostly in the Adelaide Hills but also in the Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek, Coonawarra, Yarra Valley and NSW).
Andrie Whisson - Owner & Winemaker
I’m originally from Taichung, a city in the middle of Taiwan’s west coast. I trained as a nurse and worked in surgical intensive care for quite a few years. By 2006 I started to feel a bit worn out and a friend suggested going to Australia, so I applied for the Australian Registered Nurse Training Program and moved to Adelaide in 2007.
We got married in 2010 and straight away I could see that Mark needed a hand (“or four,” says Mark!) so I started helping him out. He trained me from the basics in the vineyard: pruning, bud bashing, grape picking, driving a manual car. I can even drive tractors now.
I really love cooking and I think that helped to develop my palate from a young age. In 2012, I decided I wanted to know more about wine, so I took the Wine and Spirit Education Trust Level 2 and 3 courses. I have also spent every vintage in the winery since 2010.
"Whisson Lake named among 11 producers in a ‘Top Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir Makers’ list."
~ Nick Stock, Australian Gourmet Traveller WINE, August/September 2016.