Vineyards and Viticulture
Parker Coonawarra Estate’s ‘Abbey’ vineyard is located on the highly regarded southern end of Coonawarra’s famed ‘cigar strip’ of terra rossa soil. The 20Ha vineyard is Cabernet Sauvignon predominant, with small pockets of Merlot and Petit Verdot. The Cabernet Sauvignon is planted to Reynella vine selection; original cuttings from Bordeaux, sourced before Phylloxera decimated the vineyards throughout France in the late 1800’s.
Coonawarra’s terra rossa strip of soil is one of the most renowned growing locations of the New World, and the oldest of the Limestone Coast soils. Comprised largely of rich aolian clay over limestone, these infamous red soils are most notable for their free draining ability and success growing the resilient Cabernet Sauvignon grape.
Parker Coonawarra Estate’s winemaking philosophy pays complete respect to these unique soils, as well as the quality and age of the vines, producing wines that maximize the full potential of this spectacular growing location.
Pruning is conducted to manage bud numbers and limit the crop to circa five tonnes per hectare for optimum fruit quality. Unfruitful shoots are removed after fruit set. Before veraison, the crop is assessed using berry displacement data, with bunch thinning then employed to further manage the yields for optimum quality.
An holistic approach to pest management is taken that requires understanding of the pest and its lifecycle. We promote natural control options that avoid the use of synthetic chemicals and instead, encourage timely application of natural control measures.
Precise drip irrigation is used sparingly to maintain canopy function and control vigour. All valves are computer controlled to ensure watering is only used where and when it is required.
Weather conditions are constantly monitored by a weather station in the vineyard to assist the decision making process in vineyard operations.
Our soils are ancient and therefore fragile. To conserve their integrity, we sow permanent grasses to encourage nutrient recycling, pest control, organic matter production, and biological activity. This in turn preserves soil texture and protects the soil from compaction, slaking and erosion. The Terra Rossa soils of the Abbey vineyard have also been electromagnetically surveyed to assist in our understanding of the subtle differences between each section of the vineyard. This has given us detailed information of soil composition, salinity status, porosity, and Terra Rossa depth to limestone in every corner of the vineyard. This detailed understanding assists with decision making in the vineyard and ultimately fruit quality.
As the vineyard is at the southern end of Coonawarra, vintage can sometimes occur up to 14 days later than the northern end, generally starting in mid-April. With budburst around 7 to 21 September, this provides a very long 220-240 day growing season and is widely considered to be the main reason Coonawarra produces wines with such intense flavour and bouquet.