PADTHAWAY ENTRANCE ESTATE

NATIONAL VINEYARD FUND OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED

THE VINEYARD

The Padthaway Entrance Estate vineyard, owned by NVFAL, has developing into a premium A & B grade vineyard producing fruit for famous brands such as Penfolds and Wynns.

The property is located in the northern part of the Padthaway region approximately 280km south east of Adelaide in South Australia.  Padthaway Entrance Estate is located approximately 5 km north west of Padthaway township and 50km north of the main regional town of Naracoorte.

The 68.4ha property is located on the western side of Riddoch Highway and is approximately 90m above sea level.

The property was purchased in 1999 by NVFAL.  Part of the original property was planted in the mid-1990’s with Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet and Chardonnay (9ha) by the Bell family.  The balance was farming land.  NVFAL planted a further 52 ha to Shiraz, Cabernet and Sangiovese over the next 5 years.   
 
The property was traditionally used for cropping and grazing land. 
 
The land is gently undulating and is serviced by a bore for its water supply.  The soils range from reddish brown clay loams over a limestone base.  The land is supplemented with 122 ML water licence from Padthaway Prescribed Wells Area bore field only 20m below the surface.
 
Irrigation is discussed in the Water section below.

THE REGION

Padthaway is a word fashioned from the Patawurutj aborignes.  This place Padthaway means “Good Water”. The region is quite distinct because it is a long cigar shape of 62km by just 8 kilometres. 
The Riddoch highway bisects the entire region for its entire length.

VINEYARD LAYOUT

Today, Padthaway Entrance vineyard is exclusively red varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz after the removal and grafting of Merlot, Sangiovese and Chardonnay since 2010.  The key variety of Shiraz is one of the most famous from the region.
The mix of wine grape varieties planted on Padthaway Entrance Estate were planned by FABAL Operations in conjunction with the major purchaser of grapes from the property, Treasury Wine Estates, the owner of the famous Penfolds and Wynns wine brands.

After the 2013 replanting there is planted to 61.4ha planted.  

 

Shiraz now dominates the planting on the Estate because of its notable reputation in the Padthaway region.  It is also projected that demand will continue in the long term.

CLIMATE AND SOIL

The average rainfall of the northern region of the Clare Valley is approximately 525mm per annum.  More importantly, the majority falls in the winter and spring (May to October) periods with lower likelihood of summer rain during the growing season.  This results in reduced disease pressure from post rain events.  There is low likelihood of hail but frost rick is moderate in lower parts of the site in some years.  There is approximately 1,550 hours of sunshine from October to April of each (the heat degree index).
The land is gently undulating and is serviced by a bore for its water supply.  The property has soils of reddish brown clay loams over an limestone base not unlike the Terra Rosa soils of Coonawarra.  
The vineyard was established around this information (row orientation, dripper systems, planting density available water/drainage) based upon detailed research and investigation by experts in vineyard design and soil mapping.  The entire property has been mapped for potential expansion in the future with either vineyard or other.
Soil nutrition is another important factor that can affect growth and FABAL Operations implemented (pre-planting) and maintains a regime for management of this risk. NVFAL expends considerable resources to ensure that nutrient levels are monitored regularly.

WATER AND IRRIGATION

Grapevines require regular watering to supplement the natural annual rainfall.  To produce the quality of wine grapes expected for this business, the Padthaway Entrance Estate vineyard requires approximately 1.7 to 1.8ML of water per hectare (licence is 1.96ML/ha).  This is supplementary irrigation to the regions annual rainfall.
The norther area of Padthaway has significant ground water for use in irrigation that is of a quality that can be used by itself.  However, depending upon the season, this water can be of higher salinity.
 
NVFAL considers irrigation and its management to be the most important aspect of its operations.  Considerable time was spent on the design of the irrigation system for the Padthaway Entrance Estate vineyard but a risk still exists that the irrigation system may malfunction.  The other major risk factor relates to salinity in the ground water.  FABAL Operations is spending considerable time working on alternative solutions if the ground water was not of a quality to support this premium vineyard.
Irrigation System:  The water is delivered to the grapevines through a series of pumps and mainlines according to the irrigation designed for the vineyard.  The sophisticated ‘in-line’ drip irrigation system, supplied by Netafim Australia in 1999, is considered the most effective supply of irrigation.  The irrigation system is controlled by a computer network which enables the efficient application of the water through centralised control.
 
South Australian Water Entitlements:  As has been seen in past years (and in particular between 2003 and 2010), potential risk exists that the vineyard may have an insufficient water supply in periods of drought.  Accordingly, NVFAL has secured rights to 1202L of PPWA water licence.  Since 1999, NVFAL, has regularly monitored the quality and usability of this water from the bore system.  When issues arise, like during the 8 year drought, alternative strategies are sought to be employed to protect the vineyard from these effects.
Padthaway Prescribed Wells Area: PPWA is controlled by the SA government which monitors the basin in the region.  PPWA is zoned into several sub-regions and the wells supporting Padthaway Entrance Estate are monitored on a periodic basis.
Whilst NVFAL is satisfied that it has secured sufficient water and that the method of delivery via the PPWA permits will be sufficient to provide water for the vines in most years, it is a reality that supply can be restricted due to extremely dry conditions or other unforeseen events.