In 1995 the Lightfoot family planted a small vineyard in the pristine Gippsland Lakes region and made small batches of wine each vintage for the enjoyment of family, friends and a handful of local wine enthusiasts. Since then, the vineyard and winery have grown and the second generation of family; sons Rob and Tom Lightfoot, have returned home from working in other wineries in Australia and abroad to be part of the family business. All Lightfoot & Sons’ Myrtle Point wines are made exclusively from grapes grown by the Lightfoot family, at their Myrtle Point vineyard. Located between the foothills of the Great Dividing Range and Bass Strait, the region’s cool semi-maritime climate has proven to be an ideal environment for producing pinot noir, and cool-climate chardonnay and shiraz.
The chosen one: Lightfoot & Sons Myrtle point chardonnay 2012
The wine displays lovely aromas of citrus and white peach followed by fresh grapefruit and stone fruit characters. It has great minerality and is not overly rich.
In the press:
Light straw in colour, with a lovely aroma of citrus and white peach. Fresh grapefruit and stone fruit characters on the palate are complemented by hints of French oak. Barrel fermentation and lees contact add to the complexity and texture of the wine and the natural acidity gives the wine finesse and a lingering finish- 92 points Mike Bennie (Wine Business Monthly, Feb 2014).
A chat with Lightfoot & Sons director Rob Lightfoot:
1. How did you get involved in the world of wine?
My Parents planted a vineyard on our family farm in early 1990’s. My brother Tom and I were still at school then and living on the farm. We used to work in the vineyard on school holidays and weekends.
2. What are some of the biggest changes you have seen in winemaking since you began your career?
For me the biggest change is the stylistic shift away from bigger more tannic wines with higher alcohol levels, towards more elegant medium-bodied wines. We planted our block of pinot noir vines in 1997 based on a fairly small but increasing interest in the variety. Today it is our most popular wine.
3. What makes Lightfoot & Sons wines unique from your point of view?
Undoubtably our ‘Myrtle Point’ vineyard and its location in the Gippsland Lakes District. About three hours east of Melbourne, The Gippsland Lakes District is located between the Great Dividing Range and Bass Strait. The region has a lower annual rainfall than much of Gippsland and enjoys coastal climate which provides sea breezes throughout the growing season. This region’s cool semi-maritime climate has proven to be a particularly well suited for pinot noir and cool-climate styles of chardonnay and shiraz.
4. What do you love most about what you do?
We are a very small vineyard and winery with only 4 full time employees, so we all do a bit of everything. Whether its pruning vines, picking grapes, blending wines, or doing deliveries. It’s very satisfying o be involved in each step of the winemaking process and to have such diversity in what you do every day.
5. What would you hope people say about your wine?
That they think it is as delicious as we do.
6. What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while working in the wine industry?
That it is important the make the wines that are an expression of your vineyard. For us that means cool-climate wines that are elegant, aromatic and have true varietal fruit character.
7. Is there any one wine rule that should be broken?
Many Australian winemakers want to emulate the great wines of Europe. My belief is that Australian wines need to have their own identity and expression, above all reflecting the vineyards and regions they came from.
8. In a commercially driven industry where it’s become easy to cut corners, how do you maintain the integrity of your product?
The integrity of the brand is paramount for us. There will always be wineries making wines more cheaply. Our focus remains on consistently producing quality wines so that wine buyers can have confidence in our brand vintage after vintage.