The Orange region of New South Wales is one of Australia's newest premium regions being favoured for its high altitude cool climate. Situated approximately 270 km west of Sydney the topography and soils of the Orange region are dominated by the extinct volcano, Mt Canobolas. The present day peak of the mountain is at 1400m and vineyards in the region are planted at elevations as high as 1100m with the lowest elevations in the region being 600m.

The great diversity of elevation, climate and topography offer vineyard sites suitable for a wide range of grape varieties from Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling in the coldest sites to Shiraz and Cabernet in the warmer.

Soils in the central part of the region are derived from the basaltic lavas of the old volcano, and primarily consist of deep red to brown free draining clay loams which have long been used for apple and stonefruit orchards.

The slopes of Mt Canobolas provide the additional viticultural advantage of cold air drainage preventing frosts in the growing season.

Wines from the Orange region have a distinctly elegant structure across almost all varieties which can be attributed to the cool climate growing conditions. Red wines are typically deep blackish-red in colour with a bouquet and palate profile easily recognized and distinctive of the area.

Pepper Tree's Orange vineyard is located in the Boree Lane area 12 kms west of Orange on the midslopes of Mt Canobolas. The vineyard site sits in a small subvalley protected on 3 sides with a sunny northerly aspect. Elevations vary from 740m to 800m and the site is capable of ripening all the main red varieties as well as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Cabernet, Merlot & Shiraz all produce wines with deep red colours and intense palate complexity. The wines typically have a lighter more elegant structure than those of warmer areas with light lifted fruit acids lengthening the palate. In addition to the main red varieties, small blocks of Pinot Noir (for sparkling base) & Zinfandel have been planted. Zinfandel produces rich spice and berry characters with crimson red colours. This variety seems well suited to the Orange region and the wines show great promise.

Chardonnay is the main white variety on the vineyard and as in other parts of the Orange region produces wine of very high quality. Flavours tend to be from the vanillin - coconut part of the spectrum with good palate length and acid structure. Chardonnay from the area is suited to malolactic fermentation which provides additional complexity.

Other white varieties grown are Sauvignon Blanc & Verduzzo. Verduzzo produces high alcohol wines with a minerally palate and flavours. The variety originates from the cool areas of northern Italy and seems ideally suited to the Orange region. Verduzzo wines benefit from bottle maturation.

Several other varieties will be trialled on our Orange vineyard in the future including Viognier and Pinot Gris.