Sourcing fruit from some of the best vineyards in the Hunter, Hilltops and Canberra wine regions in New South Wales, we engage passionate growers that work tirelessly to deliver the best fruit possible. Our growers also firmly believe in sustainable vineyard practices, with a view to leaving the land in a better condition for the next generation.
In the winery, we employ a thoughtful combination of new and old world practices to deliver high quality, innovative wines. These wines represent some of the best examples of regional, modern Australian style, produced on a boutique scale. Fermentation with naturally occurring yeast, and partial fermentation of whites on skins, are two key practices we have implemented to great effect. With our reds, fermentation in open tanks, hand plunging, and shorter maturation periods in premium French oak puncheons illustrate a combined traditional / modern approach to winemaking that helps us to deliver wines that strike a fine balance between fruit flavour and complexity. Ultimately, we seek to produce quality wines that tell a story of the season and region. The wines should offer drinking appeal from day one, but also have the potential age gracefully.
Matt holds a Bachelor of Wine Science and Graduate Diploma of Business Administration from Charles Sturt University. He has been involved at various levels of winemaking and wine business management for the last sixteen years. Starting out as a Trainee Winemaker in the Hunter Valley, Matt then gained invaluable experience making wine in the United States and France before heading to Coldstream Hills in the Yarra Valley. In 2003, he finally settled in the Hunter Valley where he was ultimately promoted to the dual role of Winemaker and General Manager at a leading boutique winery.
In 2011, Matt decided to step out and establish the Gundog Estate wine business and cellar door. Under Matt’s management and winemaking, Gundog Estate has consistently been awarded a prestigious five-star winery rating from Australia’s leading wine critic — James Halliday. During his time in the Hunter, Matt’s wines have gained many accolades. In 2010, Matt was recognised as the “Hunter Valley’s Rising Star,” and in 2015, finalist for Winemaker of the Year at the Hunter Valley Wine Industry Awards.
Geoff Burton is a veteran of the Australian film and television industries where he has worked as a cinematographer and director on over fifty Australian feature films and hundreds of television dramas and documentaries. His first feature film was SUNDAY TOO FAR AWAY and the most recent BLESSED. He claims it was during the early years of his career when travelling extensively overseas that he came to discover the delights of fine food and wine. Living and working as a freelance film maker in Europe turned him into an obsessive Francophile with a passion for the wines of the Rhone Valley and Bordeaux regions.
Sharon Bell is an anthropologist and academic with a distinguished career working in Australian universities. It was during her years of field research for her PhD in Asia that introduced her to the diversity of national cuisines and the development of a life-long interest in innovative food and wine. Sharon Bell is also a documentary filmmaker and the production company she set up with Geoff Burton in the 1970’s continues to produce quality films for the international market.
The canine member of the family is the Cocker Spaniel and failed gundog Karl Marx. He hates the sound of gunfire, but successfully bothers the rabbits on the vineyard and provides the model for our GUNDOG ESTATE label.
The Hunter Valley boasts one of the most unique climates of any premium Australian grape growing region. High summer temperatures, humidity, and rainfall make the area unsuitable for many late ripening grape varieties, but are critical elements in the success of the Hunter’s most important variety, Semillon.
Flavour and sugar is accumulated early in the season, allowing us to pick our Semillon before much of the rain arrives from the North. This early harvesting also ensures the grapes have a high natural acidity; the most important attribute in the ageing potential of this unique wine style.
We source our Semillon and Shiraz from four key sites in the Lower Hunter Valley; the Vernon vineyard in Mount View, and Somerset, Tinklers and Will’s Hill vineyards in Pokolbin. These vineyards are situated on some of the best terroirs in the Hunter, offering a range of aspects and soils to deliver a diversity of style.
In 1998 Canberra District officially became one of 56 G.I.s, Geographic Indicators, which define the most significant wine growing regions, and zones, within the Australian continent.
Anyone who has experienced Canberra winters would not argue against the further definition of “cool climate wine region” to best identify the style of wines that the 40 or so wineries within the region so successfully produce.
Vineyards situated in Murrumbateman are our principle sources of Shiraz, and consistently deliver some of the highest quality fruit we have the pleasure of working with.
On the Gundog Estate vineyard, we cultivate Cabernet Sauvignon for the specific purpose of making our Rosé. The vineyard is located close to the historic village of Gundaroo, just to the north of Canberra.
Across these sites, the irrigated vines thrive on loamy clay pre-Cambrian era soils, amongst the oldest on the planet. Combined with a classic continental climate of low rainfall, freezing winters and a wide temperature range during the growing months, the regional terroir is truly unique and expressive.
Situated in South Western NSW at an average altitude of 540m, the Hilltops region could once boast significant vineyard plantings going as far back as 1860. However, most of the vineyard area was significantly reduced following disruptions caused by World War II and the subsequent labour shortages. Since the late 90’s, the region has seen considerable increases in vineyard area, and wine quality.
We currently source Shiraz from two of the leading growers in the region; Brian Freeman (Freeman Vineyards) and Jason and Alecia Brown (Moppity Vineyards). While each vineyard delivers a distinct and contrasting style of Shiraz, both highlight the unique regional qualities of extraordinary fruit drive and richness of flavour, coupled to fine tannin and a medium bodied frame.