IN A NUTSHELL
Since 2010 the Yeates family have owned and worked hard to rejuvenate one of Mudgee's first-established vineyards, formerly owned by Rosemount and then Foster's (now Treasury Wine Estates). During their reign, Rosemount had used the vineyard to produce one of their flagship wines, Mountain Blue, which has earned an accolade of medals and a reputation for excellence. Despite the success of Mountain Blue, it's thought that the wine glut and the financial concerns that followed may have been what led Foster's to halt grape & wine production and eventually sell the vineyard to the Yeates family.
Since the sale went through, Sandy, with the help of others has worked hard to restore the vines to full health as well as introducing a variety of new and environmentally responsible techniques to ensure sustainability. The vineyard produces Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes over an area of 16ha, just 5-minutes from Mudgee. As some of Mountain Blue's greatest fans, the Yeates family, with the help of our brilliant winemaker Jacob Stein, are determined to create wines of distinction that will one day sit alongside Mountain Blue in their quality and reputation.
THE YEATES FAMILY
Originally from Sydney, Sandy & Vicki Yeates moved to Mudgee over 30 years ago and settled on a property near Rylstone. Prior to becoming the YEATES vigneron, Sandy was also running a successful cattle stud, Patawalla, on the Rylstone property where he still manages a small herd of cattle. It was here that Sandy & Vicki raised their four children: James, Sarah, Anna & Edwina. With all of the children grown up and living away from home, Vicki and Sandy saw an opportunity to do something new in 2010 and although a little unexpected, selling the bulk of their Rylstone property and taking on a Mudgee vineyard presented itself as an exciting option.
OUR MOVE INTO THE WINE INDUSTRY
In 2010, Australia was facing a devastating wine glut. Many vignerons sold their vineyards and of those that didn't, many opted to leave their grapes on their vines during harvest due to low grape prices or failure to find a buyer. It was during this time that Foster's put one of their most successful vineyards up for sale. Several years prior to this, the vineyard was producing an award-winning wine of outstanding quality, labelled under Rosemount's Mountain Blue. The wine was in high demand and for good reason. One of the label's biggest fans was and still is Sandy. So when the vineyard went on the market, it was no surprise that Sandy (and after some serious negotiation with Vicki) began to seriously contemplate buying it. Everyone they spoke to about buying the vineyard thought they'd be absolutely crazy to do so given the current problems facing the industry, and by all accounts, it probably wasn't a great idea at the time. However, with possibly more heart than head, they went ahead and bought it!
OUR PROGRESS SO FAR
Despite their limited wine knowledge upon taking over the vineyard, the Yeates family (in particular Sandy) had a good understanding of agriculture, were not shy of hard outdoor work and as a bonus had a great love and appreciation for wine. So with all hands on deck, the family began to learn the wine business and revitalisation work on the vineyard commenced. With the help of many generous local people, the family's understanding of grape growing and wine production improved significantly and with this has come a consistent improvement in the quality of the vines & subsequently their grapes.
I think it's safe to say that every member of the Yeates family has at some point or another questioned the decision to buy the vineyard (mostly on cold winter mornings in the midst of pruning). However, all in all, the family believes the decision was absolutely the right one. We are so excited to share with you the product of some very hard work and hope that our wines will only continue to improve with time.
Sandy, Vicki, James, Gemma, Sarah, Jeremy, Edwina, Anna, Harry, Ollie + Penny