Kooyong Wines is a small winery hailing from the Port Philip Estate. The winery strives to grow and cultivate the highest quality of fruit that can express the terroir of the vineyard where it is grown. The philosophy that Kooyong follows is that a soil and vineyard biota should be established such that balanced vine sustainability can be maintained in the environment.
All wines are entirely domain grown, vinified and bottled with the objective of conveying a sense of the place and the season in which they were grown. A fine balance between scrupulous attention to detail and minimal intervention allows wine to fully express provenance; preserving the inherent characteristics present in the fruit while making wines of elegance, finesse, texture, complexity and structure.
Practices in the winery are minimalist. The fermentation of all wines occurs naturally by way of native ambient yeasts. This is also the case for the malolactic fermentations. Wholly French oak is used for all barrel matured wines, red and white. All the red wines are unfined and unfiltered. The white wines are all unfined and at times also unfiltered.
Kooyong has established a strong reputation as one of the Mornington Peninsula's top producers. Vines were first planted here in 1996, and the first vintage was 1999. 'We're pushing on 20 years old with some of the vines,' says winemaker Glen Hayley, who recently took over from long-time chief Sandro Mosele, who has gone to 10 Minutes x Tractor. Kooyong was begun by the Aylward family, who sold it to current owners the Gjergjas in 2004. [The Aylwards now run small boutique operation Ocean Eight.]
The cellar door and winery is now at the very grand and imposing Port Phillip Estate, but most of the vineyards are on the northern side of the peninsular, in Tuerong. I visited both. The soils here are more of a sandy/clay loam, as opposed to the red volcanic soils higher up. These soils are shallow and dry out quicker, resulting in more robust Pinots and whites with really intense flavour, as well as good acidity. Glen Hayley worked for six years under Sandro, so don't expect these wines, which are widely acclaimed, to change much in style in the near future. I was really impressed. The focus is solely on Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which is what Mornington does best. – Jamie Goode