Singlefile’s picturesque estate is situated in coastal Denmark – it’s the coolest subregion within the Great Southern and is perfectly suited to cool-climate early-ripening varieties such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Here, Singlefile’s Winemaker Coby Ladwig explains why we love Denmark as a winemaking site.
This coastal subregion of Denmark is the cool-climate rock star on the Great Southern winemaking landscape. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon all thrive in this area, where rain falls heavily throughout the winter months and the mean January temperature is lower than that of both the Mornington Peninsula and the Yarra Valley.
The home of Singlefile and its Chardonnay vineyard are located within the Scotsdale Valley, just seven kilometres from the town of Denmark. Its location benefits from the cool maritime winds that arrive from the Southern Ocean and a terroir of fertile loamy gravelly karri soils and gentle undulations that support the growth of exceptional cool-climate grapes.
So what impact does this cool maritime climate have on the grapes and the wines that are produced? The grapes ripen slowly and therefore have a higher acidity level, which is great because it allows us to enhance the flavour profile before we harvest. This natural acidity enables us to produce wines that have great structure and balance. Our wines such as The Vivienne Chardonnay may have more minerality than those wines produced in warmer climates. Denmark Chardonnays boast more nectarine, citrus and grapefruit characters rather than the riper melon characters of warmer areas.
Another factor that contributes to Denmark’s terroir is its soil composition. Our karri loam soils are incredibly rich in nutrients. A large portion of Denmark countryside was used for dairy farming and timber, so the soils are very productive. In response to having such fertile soils, we need to control the vines to ensure they don’t become too vigorous. So we plant vines close together to provide competition for nutrients, we shoot thin (cut back fruitful shoots to reduce the crop), hedge and leaf pluck to control growth. This practice is vital to ensure good-quality fruit at harvest time.
In the lead up to harvest, the Singlefile team is constantly checking the impact weather is having on the vines. Everything affects the vines, including what happened the previous year. Winter (wet or mild) has a big influence, as does the timing of spring. Summer rainfall can be both a blessing and disaster. It all comes down to the nuances of timing and our strategic vineyard management.
Learn more about Singlefile’s estate Denmark Vineyard right here. Our Great Southern Chardonnay, Family Reserve Chardonnay and The Vivienne Chardonnay are all crafted from cool-climate fruit from our Denmark vineyard.