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The Yarra Valley’s Best Kept Secret?

This long-established, yet relatively undiscovered Dixon’s Creek gem has entered a new and exciting chapter and are well on their way to receiving the accolades and recognition a site and team of this calibre deserve. The fruit and wines from this respected vineyard have always been highly respected and sought after, and in the past, the winemaking was outsourced to a gamut of respected and talented Australian winemakers, including Rick Kinzbrunner of Giaconda. 

Back in 2017 Helmut Konecsny, the owner of Rochford Wines, purchased Toolangi Vineyards and immediately started ringing in the changes. Under this new, hands-on ownership and with talented young winemaker Kaspar Hermann at the helm, Toolangi have the wind in their sails. In Hermann, the Toolangi vineyard has found its winemaking Prince Charming. In addition to Mount Mary, where he worked as assistant winemaker for eight years before joining Toolangi.  Hermann’s CV includes stints at Seville Estate, Coldstream Hills and Punch. Working alongside Hermann is viticulturist Brian Heslop. A Kiwi by birth, Brian cut his teeth in some of Aotearoa's most venerated and visionary Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards: Pyramid Valley and Bell Hill. He also brings to the table a commitment to sustainability and biodiversity, embracing organic, biodynamic and regenerative practices in the vineyard. 

Although Toolangi is a vineyard and label steeped in of history the region, in recent years new ownership and confident viticultural and winemaking changes have breathed new life into this Yarra Valley gem.

Together, the pair’s chief goal is to bring the vineyard back to the heart of the Toolangi story, with the focus on rejuvenating and upgrading the work in the vines. This was, after all, one of only two Yarra producers to engage the services of renowned soil scientist Claude Bourguignon, when Bibendum Wine Co. brought him out to Australia in 2018. Bourguignon’s recommendations have already begun to be implemented, including the transition to under vine cultivation and the reduction of inputs in the vineyard… And the work continues.

Hermann is steering the winemaking towards a less worked style, ensuring further purity, finesse, structure and elegance. It didn’t take this talented craftsman long to develop a distinctive and cohesive identity as compared to those of Toolangi 1.0, which, as mentioned, was the product of a roster of external (if very talented) winemakers. In the vines, Ammerlaan presides over some prime Yarra Valley real estate. First planted in 1995, the Toolangi now boasts 13 hectares under vine. An ideally situated vineyard, located right next to the Toolangi State Forest—its well-drained, gentle slopes and a coveted north-east orientation only begin to tell the story of this appealing, unique and characterful vineyard.  

When Helmut Konecsny arrived in 2017, the original plan was to condense the range into just two tiers of wine—the Toolangi and Toolangi Paul’s Lane labels. But the vineyard had other ideas—in searching to revive the unique DNA of this site, the team quickly realised the individual personalities and quality coming from the vineyards’ exiting Block parcels was simply too great to pass up. These ‘Block’ wines are produced from the most privileged, low-yielding parcels of Dixon’s Creek vineyard. In particular, the F-Block Chardonnay is cropped from the vineyard’s highest and coolest area, abutting the Toolangi State Forest. The soils here are relatively shallow and rockier, resulting in low yields of intensely flavoured, bright and finely structured fruit. We’ve tasted many a Puligny of lessor quality. And so it goes with the E Block Pinot Noir sourced from two rows of 18-year-old MV6 vines. 

What a difference just a few years can make. Taking nothing away from Toolangi’s fine history, the triple whammy of new ownership, full control of winemaking and the introduction of a talented new winemaker has breathed new life into this already fabulous grower. If you do not know the wines, we strongly suggest you take a look. 

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“A producer that demonstrates a deep commitment to terroir in producing Australia’s finest and most distinctive wines.” Nick Stock, Good Wine Guide

Halliday Red 5 Star Winery - Outstanding winery regularly producing wines of exemplary quality and typicity.



Primary Region

Yarra Valley, Victoria


Winemaker: Kaspar Hermann



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