At The Bar with Marnong Estate winemaker Alex Beckett

An epic new winery and larger cellar door offering will open at Marnong Estate in early 2024 – a sprawling, 1200 acre, hidden-gem vineyard in the hills of Mickleham, about 35 kilometres from the CBD.

Winemaker Alex Beckett, born and raised in the Hunter Valley NSW, moved to Marnong Estate three months ago to dedicate to a new way of farming life and help steers their wine production.

His foray into wine dates back to his first job selling it by the glass and bottle at Tyrell’s Cellar Door aged 18 – all whilst studying linguistics. Before long, Beckett’s love of languages took a backseat. He enrolled into the University of Adelaide where he trained in viticulture and oenology and the rest is a journey that’s still unfolding.

An overseas trip to Germany helped affirm his love of Riesling – working with wine producer Gunderloch in the Rheinhessen region. He returned to Australia with a wealth of knowledge and found his feet as an enthusiastic winemaker in the Adelaide Hills.

His current focus at Marnong Estate is on the “preservation of history and tradition of Australian wine while also introducing innovation combined with a sustainable farming ethos.”

With north-facing slopes and a 300-metre elevation, Marnong Estate capitalises on the area’s cool climate and rainfall.

In 2016, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir were planted. Italian grape varieties Fiano and Montelpulciano came the following year and in 2021, Sangiovese and Malbec were introduced.

On-site accommodation includes luxe studio or one-bedroom apartments with private balconies boasting stunning views of rolling hills and native flora and fauna.

Italian dining space Cucina 3064 is filled with locals chomping on crisp, thin pizzas and relishing perfect affogato desserts. While fine dining is found at the neighbouring La Vètta restaurant.

Beckett is excited about the state-of-the-art build, nestled in the valley and due to be completed by early next year.

“It’s going to be this focal point for the community to really take ownership of,” says Beckett.

MY CITY

Beckett has wonderful memories growing up in the Hunter Valley. As he explains: “I fell in love with the community and the ethos. No-one comes to work on a bad day when there’s wine around, right?”

FAVOURITE DRINK

Krug Champagne with any type of fried chicken – as long as it’s salty and has lots of fat.

FAVOURITE DISH

Lobster ravioli with saffron bisque at Flotilla, Newcastle.

FAVOURITE INTERSTATE BAR

Bar Copains, Surry Hills in Sydney for its exceptional selection of local and international wines and brilliant share plates.

WHAT MAKES A GOOD SELECTION OF WINES

Having a mix of local and international tipples so that people get to experience different styles. Diversity is very important.

FAVOURITE WINE

Champagne and sparkling wines are the ideal summer drink. Bellebonne Rosè from Tasmanian sparkling wine guru Natalie Fryer is a current favourite.

FAVOURITE WINE AND FOOD PAIRINGS

Modern Australian Chardonnay with char siu and fennel risotto

FAVOURITE MELBOURNE EATERIES

Françe-Soir, South Yarra, Osteria Ilaria, CBD, The Recreation Bistro and Bottleshop, Fitzroy

FAVORITE WINE FOR SUMMER

Giant Steps in the Yarra Valley – for always pushing the boundaries of what great Chardonnay and Pinot can be.

NEXT DESTINATION

Jura in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comtè region in Eastern France where I hope to find nutty cheeses and nutty wines.

 

 

 

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