Riverdale Farm Wine
Sample a drop of our handcrafted pinot noir, which reflects our unique terroir
Riverdale Farm Pinot Noir is a classic example of the quality the Great Southern of WA is renowned for.
At our micro-winery, we hand-pick the grapes grown on our farm. Then, our winemaker brother-in-law Brenden Smith works alongside Jim to produce the pinot in small handcrafted batches that match the individuality of each vintage. It truly is a family affair.
Ours is a classic, cool climate pinot noir. Expect characteristics of wine leather, smoke, blackberry, blackcurrant, plum and cherry – with a smooth, lingering finish.
“The most romantic of wines, with so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, so powerful a punch that, like falling in love, they make the blood run hot and the soul wax embarrassingly poetic.”
Joel Fleischman, Vanity Fair
Great Southern pinot noir
Our Great Southern pinot noir is a celebration of the local terroir. Riverdale Farm is on marri country, nestled between lichen-crusted granite outcrops on a north facing slope with an outlook to the Porongurups, and down to the Kalgan River. The granite outcrops serve a valuable purpose, helping to maintain warmth in our vineyard overnight – which in turn enhances the flavour of our grapes.
The Riverdale vineyard is a truly unique site. The vines are planted on rich laterite soils interspersed with those stunning granite outcrops. A north facing aspect and east to west row orientation maintains the optimum solar benefits of the site resulting in premium ripening in this extremely cool climate. Premium Burgundian clones are treated to an immaculate vertical shoot positioned canopy which is then shoot and yield thinned to provide the best ratio of fruit to leaf area, this is done to reflect the strict conditions required by the top Grand Cru French Burgundian houses. The fruit quality and flavour intensity achieved at the site is testament to the focus on providing these optimum growing conditions.
The maritime climate of our Great Southern location is ideal for pinot noir, with temperatures regulated by the influence of the Southern Ocean.
A productive history
Our area of the Great Southern of WA has a productive history spanning tens of thousands of years, and the river at its heart plays a key role. The 140km-long body of water – which originates west of the Stirling Ranges and meanders down to the south coast where it drains into Oyster Harbour – is now named Kalgan River. Its traditional name is Kalganup.
Kalganup is thought to be the Noongar word for ‘place of many waters’ and also ‘place of fishes’. Upstream from our farm and around Oyster Harbour, the remains of Aboriginal fish traps are evident. Thought to be about 7,500 years old, they are best viewed at low tide and interpretive signage makes it a worthwhile visit.
Archaeologist Dr William Ferguson has found artefacts in the district confirming the Menang people’s presence in the area at least 19,000 years ago.
The Lower Kalgan area is one of the state’s earliest farming districts. In 1829, naval surgeon and explorer Thomas Braidwood Wilson remarked that the land along the Kalgan River was suitable for cultivation and well adapted to the growth of the vine. Our small pinot noir vineyard is a nod to early French explorers like Wilson.
Our farm was one of many properties that grew apples and pears in the early days, some for export to Great Britain. The one surviving pear tree is now fenced in the front paddock in a bid to preserve it.