There’s a close relationship between the importation of clones into Australia and the development of modern Australian Chardonnay.
Firstly, if you’re wondering what a clone is, you’re not alone! We know there are different varieties when it comes to grape vines (Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Shiraz etc.), however not all Chardonnay vines, for instance, are the same. Within the Chardonnay family, there are genetically distinct sub-types of the variety – this is what we call a ‘clone’. In fact, the work we do at the Yalumba Nursery is to take a cutting from a mother plant to propagate and plant a new vine.
But, aren’t Chardonnay grapes the same? Great question! While Chardonnay grapes will show characteristics typical of the variety – relatively dry, fresh and crisp notes of apple, pear, citrus and peach – clones play a role in creating the style of Chardonnay that ends up in your glass. Each different clone has different characteristics, flavours, body and acid profiles. They also ripen at slightly different times and perform differently across various growing conditions.<
Part of the work that has been done in the Heggies Vineyard is selecting the right clones to suit our estate here in Eden Valley - the climate conditions and soil profile, as well as the style of wine that we wish Heggies Chardonnay to be.
Heggies Vineyard was a pioneer vineyard of the Bernard clones in Australia. Close-planted Bernard (also known as Burgundian and Dijon) Chardonnay clones form the backbone of the Heggies Chardonnay style. They create an extremely low-yielding viticultural environment that requires careful management, but rewards with exceptional fruit quality. Some of the original clonal selection plantings are over 30 years old.
While clones do have an influence on the wine in your glass, there are many other factors to take into careful consideration – most of all, place.
With its rolling hills in the high country of Eden Valley, native bush land surrounds, strong clonal selection and its series of micro-climates, there truly is no place like Heggies.