BY FARR | Geelong
WINEMAKER: NICK FARR
SIZE: 36 acres, 5500 cases
SOILS: Limestone, red and black volcanic loam, some quartz gravel
VARIETIES IMPORTED: Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Noir
By Farr has shot to the top echelon of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay growers in Australia since its first vintage in 1994. Thoughtfully planted and meticulously tended, By Farr is located in the Moorabool Valley of Bannockburn, an area between Geelong and Ballarat, 100km southwest of Melbourne. The vineyards are based on ancient river deposits within the Moorabool Valley. Thousands of years later, we are reaping the rewards of these complex and mineral-rich soils, which lend their unique characteristics to these vineyards.
Gary Farr founded the winery. His experience as a winemaker was shaped by time spent at Domain Dujac in Burgundy, Cristom in Oregon and Calera in California. He continues to make pilgrimages to Domain Dujac, as he has done for the past two decades, continuing to learn more whilst sharing his own expertise about the craft of growing and making wine that is a true expression of site.
Nick Farr currently steers the ship and readily acknowledges the influence of his father in his winemaking and viticultural practices. While he was growing up Nick worked alongside his father on the family estate before a stint at Rosemount in the Hunter Valley in the late 90s. This was followed by more vintages with Gary in the Bannockburn area, where Nick commenced his label Farr Rising. Nick’s international experience includes Cristom in Oregon, Au Bon Climate in California and Domaine Dujac in Burgundy.
There are six different soils spread across the Farr property, with the two main types being rich, friable red and black volcanic loam, and limestone, which dominates the loam in some areas. The other soils are quartz gravel through a red volcanic soil, ironstone (called buckshot) in grey sandy loam with a heavy clay base, sandstone base, and volcanic lava rock. The soil’s good drainage and low fertility are crucial in ensuring small yields of intensely flavoured fruit.
The microclimate of the Moorabool Valley is influenced by winds from the western plains and bracing sea breezes, which regulate the temperature on long, sunny days and cool the air overnight. This climate is key to producing naturally balanced, low-yield fruit that is rich in flavour.
Winemaking sees a focus on natural ferments, flow by gravity, whole bunch pressing and ferments, Alliers French barrique and extended elevage. As Nick states, “The wines we make are not mainstream — they are expressions of our vineyard and our land and what we like to drink. That is what we promise to deliver.”