Lethbridge Wines is a situated in the Moorabool valley in the Geelong wine region. Back in the 1860’s the Geelong region was the largest grape-growing region in Victoria, having been established by immigrant Swiss vignerons. Unsurprisingly the varieties planted were said to include ’Hermitage’, Burgundy and Chasselas . The wines produced from the region won numerous prizes at local and European wine shows. When phylloxera was discovered in the region in the early1880’s the vineyard were destroyed and it was not until the late 1960’s early 1970’s that vines were again planted in the Geelong region.
Not surprisingly, the site at Lethbridge was selected based on scientific principles such as soil type, degree days and other climatic indicators. However when we first explored the property we discovered an ancient old wooden fermentation vat in one of the old sheds. Discussion with the previous owner (Ivor Perdrisat) revealed that his family, Swiss in origin, had planted a vineyard on the exact site back in the 1870's before the discovery of phylloxera in the region. The old wine vat has been reincarnated as a beautiful timber tasting bench in the cellar door. This story is compelling in the connection between traditional wisdom and modern science.