VINDEN WINES | Pokolbin, New South Wales
Angus Vinden grew up in the small subregion of Pokolbin - the epicenter of the Hunter Valley wine zone - on the vineyard property his parents established in 1990. The family winery was named Vinden Estate, and Angus completed his first harvest at the age of 7. He studied viticulture alongside getting an architecture degree at TAFE, and in 2014, his father offered him a role to manage the family property and grow it into something special. The legend of Angus Vinden began.
Hunter Valley is Australia's oldest commercial wine region dating back to 1828. The region is associated with some of the hottest temperatures for growing vines in all of Australia. The main grapes are chardonnay, semillon, and shiraz. Within the Hunter Valley is the small subregion of Pokolbin which was created in 2010. This area has been planted to vineyards for more than 150 years and the first region to plant the semillon grape. Being in the heart of Hunter Valley, Pokolbin is one of Australia's most northerly vineyard areas. It is a very hot part of New South Wales, but the temps are moderated by frequent afternoon cloud cover and gentle sea breezes. Angus uses fruit for his wines from the two vineyard sites that he owns - Vinden Estate & Somerset Vineyards.
The Vinden Headcase
Though Angus changed the winery name from Vinden Estate to Vinden Wines, he has continued to maintain the original label in addition to creating his offshoot project - the Vinden Headcase - a series that balances tradition with innovation. His goal is to create wines that sit outside the styles commonly associated with Hunter Valley, which are generally reductive, acid bomb examples of semillon and high alcohol shiraz. Instead, Angus is opting for a style that is more light-to-medium bodied with texture and nuance. In the winery, the Vinden Headcase is pretty simple, with ambient yeasts employed and a responsive rather than prescriptive approach to winemaking. Oak is all French, all neutral, and minimal sulphur is used at bottling.
Somerset Vineyard was originally planted in 1891, but the vines were unfortunately ripped up during WWII as the demand for war time food outweighed grapes. Luckily in 1965, replating began to reestablish one of the great sites in the original Parish of Pokolbin. As a hillside site, it has fine sandy loam soils and boasts a limestone hillside with granular red volcanic clay. Chenin blanc, fiano, semillon, gewurztraminer, chardonnay, verdelho, shiraz, and tempranillo are grown here.
Angus and Hannah Vinden bought Somerset Vineyard in September 2021 only months after the passing of longtime owner and friend, Glen Howard, whose family have tended the vines since the 19th century. Angus started working with Glen in the mid-2010s, when Augus was also in the process of taking over his family's wine business. He started to buy grapes from Glen to up his production of his Vinden label, and the two built a strong relationship. So strong actually that before his passing, Glen expressed his desire for Angus to take over the vineyard.
Before taking over, Vinden had already persuaded Howard to start converting Somerset Vineyard to organic viticulture. It is farmed with great care, and it is truly an amazing site.