The Porongurup ranges, a large ancient rocky outcrop jutting up from the surrounding farmlands, gives its name to a small sub-region of cool climate elevated vineyards. The winters here are bitterly cold and the soils are extremely ancient, mean, producing low yielding vines.
A feature of the climate is a night-time thermal zone, created by a layer of warm air which rises above the denser cold air sliding down the hillsides of the sub region and settling on the lower valley floor. It is on these slopes that most of the vineyards are planted. The excellent air drainage further diminishes the risk of frost. Throughout the region, soil types are often named after the dominant eucalypt species of the location.
"Most of the plantings at our Mount Barker/Porongurup vineyard are between 300 and 380m which I understand are some of the highest in WA (higher than most adjacent Porongurups vineyards). All of the super premium / icon blocks within our vineyard have been specifically selected for their relatively low temperature variability (ie southerly and easterly aspects with forest to the north and west plus close proximity to large gully wall dams)."
The Porongurup Range is about 1.1 to 1.4 billion years old which puts its formation in the ‘Proterozoic’ Eon. ‘Proterozoic’ is technically more precise than the term ‘Precambrian’ which is used loosely to describe everything that pre-dates the ‘Cambrian’ Period which started 550 million years ago. The Porongurup range formed when Australia collided with Antarctica. 50 or 60 million years ago, when mammals started roaming the earth, the Porongurup range was an island off the coastline that was back at the Stirling Ranges at the time.
Apart from the old age of most of the vines (30 to 35 years which are some of the original plantings in the region), the outstanding characteristics of this vineyard are its northerly aspect and its location mid to lower slope on the abrupt granite outcrop of the Porongurup Range.
Trellis system is VSP with intensive canopy management. Viticulture has been predominantly bio-dynamic for the past five years. The original blocks are not irrigated. Water is restricted and all blocks are low capacity and low yielding. Yields are typically in the order of 2 to 3 t/ha. Note: Gibraltar Rock Vineyard is not biodynamically certified.
- Geographical Indication: Porongurups
- Region: The Great Southern, Western Australia
- Soil: Extremely ancient, deep karri loams derived from weathered granite.