JINKS CREEK WINERY - is situated in a green wedge environmental zone on the edge of the Bunyip State Park. The unique and rustic surroundings at the foothills of the picturesque Black Snake Ranges in Tonimbuk are home to kangaroos, wild deer and a myriad of bird life, reflecting the largely organic philosophy of the owners, Abi and Andrew Clarke.
Winemaker Andrew Clarke was the second recipient of a winemaking scholarship from the Victorian Wine Industry Association in 1979, and the first to bravely plant a vineyard in West Gippsland in the 1970's. After working in wineries in California and France, and learning from Australian industry icons Brown Brothers and Rick Kinzbrunner of Giaconda, Andrew decided to branch out and create his own label, originally making Jinks Creek wine from an old apple shed, which was upgraded to a new winery in 2003.
As a winemaker and viticulturalist trained in the French style, Andrew likes to reflect the terroir of the vineyard where possible, so has adopted a philosophy of minimal interference regarding fertilizing and irrigation of the granite soil.
This philosophy is maintained in his winemaking methods with minimal inputs, lots of solids, some wild ferments and minimal filtration. The method uses open-top fermenters, basket-pressing and top-quality French oak, yet the character of each wine is entirely different and demonstrates the true meaning of "terroir" in Victoria. As part of his aim, in addition to his own plantings of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignoon Balnc and Pinot Gris, Andrew has created a tripartite range of 3 Shiraz made from grapes sourced from the different Victorian regions of Longford (East Gippsland), the Yarra Valley and Heathcote.
Now rated at 5-stars by James Halliday, and reviewed with marks over 90 by American wine guru Robert Parker Jnr, Jinks Creek Winery has an exclusive boutique appeal. The wine is sold in top restaurants in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, with export sales to New York and Singapore and more recently to France and the U.K.
The quirky Jinks Creek labels are the work of Esther Erlich who is best known for her gritty style of portraiture. Erlich's vivid and unique decorative style has made her one of Australia's most collectable artists and won her the prestigious Doug Moran Portrait Prize in 1998 and 2000 Archibald Prize People's Choice Award.
Perched above the vineyard with an exclusive view of the Bunyip State Forest and Black Snake Ranges, a refurbished 100-year old woolshed has been renovated to house a restaurant, art gallery and cellar-door. This unique and atmospheric venue is constructed entirely from recycled materials sourced from Gippsland, including old lining boards, a kauri pine dance floor and beautifully preserved pressed tin ceiling. Huge industrial steel windows open out onto the picturesque deck, next to the sculpture garden and contemporary artworks by well-known Australian artists including Esther Erlich, Christopher Lees, Willy Sheather and Mark Knight.
Open on Sundays for wood-fired pizzas and wine-tasting, the venue is available for private functions by arrangement, and a nearby Victorian weatherboard cottage provides secluded accommodation above the vineyard.
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