Winemaking & Viticulture

Handpicked’s vineyards are chosen for their ability to express the character of the region and the personality of the site. Getting to know those personalities and bringing out the best in them is a major part of the winemaker’s job, and we work closely with our vineyard teams throughout the year.

When we’ve done the right work in the vineyards, and had a bit of luck along the way, we receive fruit that tells its own story of the vineyard and the season. Our job is to listen carefully, hear the different strands of the story and help it unfold in the glass. As the current custodians of the land that holds our vineyards, we accept the responsibility to nurture and improve what has been entrusted to us.

That’s the bedrock of our approach to winemaking.

Chief Winemaker Peter Dillon commits to letting the wines narrate a story of terroir. Expression of the character and personality of the site is front and centre of our winemaking philosophy, treating each parcel individually and teasing out the nuances that make each parcel unique. He oversaw our vineyard holding’s expansion to carefully selected premium sites beyond the Mornington Peninsula, and as a result travels extensively to ensure quality throughout these vineyards and other regions across Australia and the world, where he oversees grape growers who have become part of the family.

We have become intimately familiar with site-specific wines. This familiarity, in combination with the cool-climate pedigree of our Victorian and Tasmanian vineyards has allowed us to craft wines that offer a true sense of place.

Wearing a second hat as Director of Viticulture, Peter practices a vineyard-driven approach to winemaking that accentuates the character, complexity, and geology of each site, for which he and Winemaker Rohan Smith work closely with our dedicated team of viticulturists.

Our wealth of experience working with the gifts of nature is reflected in our wines, allowing Handpicked® Wines to capture the ultimate expression of the land.

Our Winery

Conceived as a boutique winery with a focus on quality over quantity, the building was erected bordering our Capella estate’s lake, which is itself surrounded by 7 hectares of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir plantings.

The winemaking facilities feature a variety of fermentation vessels, from open stainless steel vats to puncheons, along with ceramic, terracotta, or concrete eggs.

The shed that holds our barrel cellar is nestled between the winery and the Capella vineyard, and not only houses all wines that come from its vines, but also from our vineyards in Tasmania or from other regions like Pyrenees, Heathcote, and the occasional outlier. Besides tending for our vines, we also work closely throughout the growing season with reputed winegrowers like the Shelmerdine family at the Springs Vineyard in Tooborac or the John family from the boutique Malakoff vineyard in the Victorian Pyrenees Ranges.

We tailor our oak selection to region and site, and in some cases even to the block where the fruit is sourced from. Generally, we have a preference for French oak and larger format puncheons to hold our wines, but not exclusively in view that we also handle very small premium parcels that require smaller maturation vessels.