Have you ever sat around enjoying a drink with your friends and imagined ‘What if we could…..??’.
Maree Collis and Ray Nadeson are not your average winemaker/owners of a boutique winery. Both were initially trained as research scientists and hold PhD degrees in chemistry and medicine, respectively. Mid career they made the decision to pursue their alternate passion and together with friend Adrian Thomas established Lethbridge Wines in 1996. Both Maree and Ray completed their winemaking degree at Charles Sturt University after which Ray concluded "winemaking is not really that different to science, both are creative and both involve 99% perspiration, 1% inspiration".
Not surprisingly, the site at Lethbridge was selected based on scientific principles such as soil type, degree days and other climatic indicators, yet after purchasing the property in Lethbridge they discovered an ancient old wooden fermentation vat in one of the old sheds. Further investigation revealed that site had originally been planted by Swiss vignerons in the 1870's before the scourge of phylloxera decimated the Geelong wine region. This story is compelling in the connection between traditional wisdom and modern science.
The focus of Lethbridge Wines is to produce wines that are textural, savoury and reveal characters true to variety and terroir. The wines of Lethbridge are generally single varietal wines or mirror a traditional European blend. The winemaking team, led by Ray Nadeson, are committed to excellence. The fruit, if not estate grown, is from selected special sites tended by passionate people. The barrels are directly imported, with Ray even visiting the forests with the Coopers to select the trees to be felled and the wines are benchmarked with the best in the world. Each vintage something new is learned.
While best known for the varieties of the Geelong region, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Shiraz, Lethbridge also produce a wide range which includes Riesling, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Merlot, Sangiovese and more, with the most recent exciting addition to the vineyard and cellar being Gamay.