First planted in 1945 by a local Italian vigneron, and then purchased and expanded by Brown Brothers in 1950, Virago Vineyard has a long viticultural history, in Australian terms. Unfortunately, only the terracing remained from the original vineyards, our two thousand Nebbiolo vines were planted in 2007. Virago Vineyard is planted on a moderately inclined, north-west facing slope at an altitude of 270 metres and consists of a combination of five different Lambia clones on one hectare. The nebbiolo vines were planted by hand, and all pruning, trimming, fruit-thinning, soil tilling and picking is also done by hand each year to ensure a low yield of the highest quality fruit.
Karen Coats was a tax accountant in her previous life, but her passion for Nebbiolo and the Beechworth wine region have made Virago Vineyard her new office of choice. Karen has finally added a Bachelor of Wine Science to her degree collection. Prue Keith is an orthopaedic surgeon by day, night, and weekend, and devotes her free time (that is not occupied by mountain biking, skiing, and trekking to the peaks of mountains) to Virago Vineyard.
Rick Kinzbrunner at Giaconda needs no introduction to Chardonnay lovers in Australia (and the world). The most rewarding day of the year at Virago is the day that we drive our ute up the Beechworth road to the Giaconda winery with bins full of our Nebbiolo grapes! Rick may be best known for his Giaconda Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but he also produces a Giaconda Nebbiolo, having been lured in by the complexity of this seductive grape variety. Rick makes our Virago Nebbiolo in the traditional Italian method. The wine remains on skins for an extended period in a large concrete tank, is then basket pressed and transferred to a 1,600 litre Gamba oval cask for approximately three years of ageing.