Chardonnay - Sailor Seeks Horse
"...incredibly exclusive, tiny production Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that has gained them a list of accolades and a reputation for producing some of Tasmania’s most highly sought after wines."
In 2005, Paul and Gilli Lipscombe decided to bite the bullet, resign from their jobs in London and pursue a dream of working for themselves. They looked to be intellectually challenged, physical, creative and produce something together that they could be proud of and decided to embark on an ambition to make their own wine. After working a vintage in the Languedoc with three different producers, then travelled to Margaret River to study winemaking and viticulture, Gilli doing the degree and Paul undertaking the post-grad diploma.
They spent the next four years gaining as much experience as possible working in Margaret River, Oregon and New Zealand for winery’s such as Xanadu, Woodlands, Beaux Frères, Chehalem and Mt Pleasant, with the constant goal in mind of eventually finding the best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyard in Australia. Their pursuits led them to Tasmania, feeling that the Huon Valley would be the place to settle. There they found a run down, 6.5 hectare, north east facing vineyard that was planted with Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo which had been planted in 2005 and abandoned a few years later.
By the time Paul and Gilli found it, most of the vines were either dead or on their last legs. However, after getting a vineyard assessment from a viticultural liaison officer who called the vineyard “one of the greatest viticultural challenges he’d ever seen” felt that due to its location, it was worth reviving. So they pulled up the Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo as well as the worst of the Pinot Noir vines and decided to try to coax the rest of the vine back to life, as well as planting additional Pinot and Chardonnay.
The name was taken from a handwritten sign on the wall of their local coffee shop which said “sailor seeks horse”. The person who wrote it had sailed around the world and ridden coast to coast across the US on a mule and had decided to travel around Tasmania on a horse and didn’t have one. This struck a chord with Paul and Gilli as it encompassed the idea of what they were trying to do. Something a little bit crazy, with not much money and needing a little help from the people around them.
Paul and Gilli’s story encapsulates an image of both romanticism and achievement, being brave enough to pursue a dream, bringing a derelict, long-forgotten vineyard back to life and dedicating themselves to an unrelenting pursuit of quality. Winning the Jimmy Watson Trophy for work they’d done at a neighbouring vineyard, they are both highly skilled winemakers with a wealth of experience, an acute ambition and precise attention to detail. Their hard work and dedication has resulted in the incredibly exclusive, tiny production of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, that has gained them a list of accolades, along with a reputation for producing some of Tasmania’s most highly sought after wines.
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