The DiGiorgio family believes passionately that you can not make great wine from ordinary grapes, and that lower yields and maximisation of fruit expression is the secret to quality wine production.
In keeping with this belief, the family vineyard development and management practices are of the highest order. These include:
- Regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) to regulate the irrigation to minimal levels, there by achieving more intense varietal expression and concentration of fruit flavour. Both electric and machine driven irrigation systems are backed up by each other to provide accurate irrigation scheduling.
- Inter-row planting of fine grasses to create a balanced environment with a view to increase weed competition and reduce vine vigour, hence achieving again, greater fruit intensity.
- Minimal use of herbicides, pesticides and general agri-chemicals, however, recognising that quality must not be compromised by the invasion of pests or diseases.
- Canopy management practices including trimming to maximize air flow and reduce the incidence of disease before chemical useage
- The investment of frost protection both overhead sprinklers and frost fans exhibits the commitment to sustained ripening of the fruit through to vintage.
- The vineyards are audited annually to maintain the Quality Assured Grape Grower status is maintained.
The DiGiorgio family is proud that it has been able to almost totally control the development and management of their vineyards with the resources of the family business. The family's vineyard holdings are divided between Lucindale and Coonawarra.
In 1989 the DiGiorgio family set aside four hectares on their Lucindale farm for vines. After much consideration of microclimate, average sunlight hours, water supply and soil testing, the first two hectares of Pinot Noir and two hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon were planted.
As a result of its initial success, the family gradually developed the vineyard to its 126 hectares with the final planting in 1998. The varieties planted now encompass Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The vineyard plantings at Lucindale total 126 hectares and comprise the following:
- 99 hectares Cabernet Sauvignon
- 10 hectares Chardonnay
- 9 hectares Merlot
- 2 hectares Pinot Noir
- 6 hectares Shiraz
When one looks at the first plantings in 1989, and the last in 1998, the vineyard now has a significant area of mature vines providing and ideal source of premium quality wine grapes for the family label.
The DiGiorgio Coonawarra vineyard, planted on the famous 'terra rossa' strip of soil surrounding the family winery, forms part of what was the original site of the Coonawarra Fruit Growing Colony, established by John Riddoch in 1890. Now more than 115 years old, a few knarled old shiraz vines still exist from the original colony's plantings, making a dramatic statement about the key location of the DiGiorgio Family winery and vineyards.
The Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz vines date back to 1963, with other varieties planted in 1979. These mature vineyards are carefully maintained to produce small crops of intensely flavoured fruit, and make an ideal source of premium grapes for the DiGiorgio Family Coonawarra label.
The vineyard totals 227.53 hectares, and comprises:
- 3 hectares Cabernet Franc
- 160.64 hectares Cabernet Sauvignon
- 23.93 hectares Merlot
- 3 hectares Pinot Noir
- 17.74 hectares Shiraz
- 18.82 hectares Chardonnay
- 0.4 hectares Tempranillo