Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Are single vineyard wines better?

It is mid vintage when Mike Bann is asked the burning question as to whether the words 'single vineyard' make for better wines or whether it is paying mere lip service to a concept.

Is there a perceivable difference and, if so, how can we tell? The jury may be out on the bigger question but the concept is the rational behind Rapaura Springs' single vineyard range. Here is a conversation with Rapaura's winemaker Mike Bann about the notion of single vineyards...

What was the inspiration for Rapaura Springs single vineyard wines?

The full Rapaura Springs Single Vineyard range was launched in 2020 but we have been working on creating single vineyard wines since 2016, learning about our vineyard sites every  vintage. I treat all of the different portions of fruit that come into the winery as single parcels, fermenting them separately to provide us a range of options when it comes to blending.

How fluid is the range? 

At this stage we have no plans to increase the number of wines in the single vineyard range, however we are always experimenting. To date, we have focused on creating an exceptional Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs from sites we know are best suited to growing these varieties. We are constantly learning about these sites and looking for ways to improve our winemaking but never say never... 

Which wines do you see as the most successful in the series so far?

Bull Paddock Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc is exported around the world, however, for me the Bouldevines Chardonnay is the most successful and is a personal favourite. Over the course of the two vintages we have released, this wine has received multiple accolades and is now tightly allocated. We have been recognised around the world for producing quality Sauvignon Blanc, but this wine demonstrates that our team can make exceptional wines across varieties.

Which ones do you find most challenging to make?  

Our single vineyard Pinot Noir is the most challenging to make. It is a wine that requires time and organisation, beginning with the correct oak selection months prior to vintage. Given how fickle the variety is, we carefully manage it in the vineyard and the winery, and we only release a single vineyard Pinot Noir in the best vintages. Pinot Noir is a varietal that tends to show the most seasonal variation, as the fruit structure and flavour can change significantly from vintage to vintage, and so does the winemaking to reflect this.

Find out more about Rapaura Springs single vineyard series here: