A PIONEERING SPIRIT AND THE EXPLORATION OF NEW POSSIBILITIES
Australia, the Earth’s oldest continent in the world had always intrigued Michel Chapoutier. The diversity of ancient soils and terroirs in a region south of the equator, almost a world away from France inspired a vision: to grow Rhone Valley grapes in Australia. This vision was the beginning of a long journey of discovery and appreciation for the land.
In 1997 Michel realized this vision, with the creation of Domaine Tournon. Located in Victoria, on the south-eastern side of the continent, the region is recognized for is diversity of soils and microclimates. Within Victoria, two unique subzones (GI) Heathcote and Pyrenees were identified. Here, Michel and his team planted non-grafted vines from 19th century clonal selections, imported from Europe before the advent of phylloxera. These vineyards were then and continue to be farmed organically.
For Tournon, establishing a vineyard in a new land, while exciting, also provided many unique challenges. Kangaroos, often in groups of 200 roamed through the vineyards. Cockatoos, enticed by and eating all the red grapes. Moreover, strict water management, and the ever-present threat of fires proved daunting. Ultimately, humility, respect, and a deep desire to learn enabled Tournon to overcome these challenges and succeed.