On the grapevine

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RidgeView wines
Photo: Jamie Gilmore Photography

The award-winning RidgeView wines are thanks to the hard work of Dr Darren Scott of Randwick Dental Care in NSW, his wife and family.

“In 2000 we purchased a block of land in the Hunter Valley. At the time there was a lot of tax incentives for people to set up vineyards and we intended to buy something small and established, but instead we purchased 100 acres of dirt and trees. We planted vineyards, built accommodation and in 2010 opened our cellar door and restaurant. RidgeView has become a large and successful business and tourist destination.

“We began winemaking in 2004 and added another vineyard in 2006. We’ve just settled on an adjoining property that will add 14 acres [5.6 hectares] of vineyards to our holdings. In total we own 132 acres [53 Ha] with 36 acres [14.5 Ha] under the vine. We’re quite renowned for our shiraz and winemakers often knock on our door wanting to buy our fruit. My wife Tracey and I share the burden of vigneron and viticulturist. During COVID, with more time on my hands I picked up the secateurs and started pruning—reinvigorating my passion for viticulture. It also gave me more time to concentrate on winemaking.

“A vineyard is always at the mercy of the weather but preparing the soil and setting up the infrastructure is key. When you’re pruning, you’re not only thinking about that vintage, but the following vintage, and the one that comes after that. The Hunter was badly affected by the 2019 bushfires and we weren’t sure if the smoke impacted on our grapes. We did a few micro-ferments and everything seemed fine. The bushfires came after four significant drought years in a row—it’s been diabolical in terms of production. Our vineyard output was down about 75 per cent.

“Our wines have been awarded 5 stars by the James Halliday Wine Companion which was a great achievement. We’ve won silver and gold medals in regional, state and national wine shows, as well as the Hunter Show. We’ve done pretty well, considering our small base compared to some of the bigger players. I feel we are punching above our weight.

“I still work as a dentist and enjoy dentistry—I have no plans of throwing it in. Good family support makes things easier; my wife and all my children help out at the practice or the vineyard in some way. I love the Hunter Valley and being involved with horticulture, sustainability, and viticulture. It’s very rewarding to make some really nice wines that are awarded and recognised. 

“We held a big family meeting recently about the future of RidgeView. All our four children and their partners wanted to continue so we will. RidgeView will now be something to pass onto the next generation.”  

For more information on RidgeView, visit www.ridgeview.com.au

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