About Us

The Process


Vineyard

We strive for the best growing practices in the vineyard. Making the most of the excellent soil we have and good airflow to gently nurture the fruit until the day they are picked.


Winery

With experienced winemakers employing a combination of traditional and modern techniques we are able to continually learn what works best with our fruit.

Wines

The end result of the effort put in both in the vineyard and in the winery, results in the premium wine that is Derwent Estate.

The very first time I entered the property, I knew immediately that something spectacular would emerge.John Schuts, Winemaker

Discover the Derwent heritage

Caring, since the very beginning

The land, planted in history

When we say family operated – that’s exactly what we mean, with 3 generations of family members currently involved in the business. Planted on the historic Mt Nassau property which has been in the current owners family since 1913. Derwent Estate Wines came about as part of the diversification program of the property but now is a majority of the time spent, while still running a few sheep in the background.

The property has seen a vast array of ventures over the last 100 years or so including Sheep, Cattle, Vegetable production, seed crops, poppies, quarrying and the production of lime. Viticulture is the next exciting phase in the history of Mt Nassau.


The Vineyard

Nestled perfectly on North facing slopes which run down to the Derwent River, the vineyard has a perfect aspect for the production of cool climate wine grapes. Prevailing Westerly winds keep good airflow through the vines and air circulation is critical in keeping the vineyard disease free. Here at Derwent Estate we do not use any Insecticides or nasty Pesticides at all. We prefer a softer Integrated Pest Management approach to disease control.

From humble beginnings in 1992 of one variety and block, stage 1 of our planting was increased to 4 varieties and over 4.5 hectares by 1997. As Derwent Estate and Grantons reputation grew for producing stunning fruit, keen interest was attracted by several major wine companies for us to grow small parcels of super premium fruit for them. This saw stage 2 of the vineyard development commence in 2003 as a 5.3 hectare planting which supplied grapes for the Bay of Fires Wines and the Penfolds Yattarna label. We currently have 10 hectares under vine which includes 5 different varieties.



The Winery

Our winery was built just in time for the 2014 vintage and is constructed out of straw bales and then rendered. Straw bales have excellent natural insulation properties which is important in keeping the winemaking process going along smoothly.

It is constantly being modified to accommodate the growing needs of Derwent Estate. It is a hub of activity almost 24 hours a day from March until around June and then stays constant for the rest of the year but the staff do get a bit more rest after June.

Meet the Derwent team

Meet our team below. These people oversee the whole operation with the help of many workers throughout the season.

Andrew

Viticulturist

Andrew

Derwent Estate has been family owned since 1912, Andrew has been helping out as a child every weekend and after school so it was a natural progression to end up working in the business.
After college, Andrew spent a few years with Winemaking Tasmania and Stefano Lubiana gaining some experience, before returning home to work full time in 1998. While working, Andrew studied viticulture to further his knowledge.
Andrew has two children, Lyla and Tully, but it could be said Alby his dog is his third as wherever Andrew is, Alby is close behind. Andrew’s interests are based around the outdoors and include mountain bikes, cycling, kayaking, flying his drone, and spending time with the girls.


Jacqui

Assistant Winemaker

Jacqui

Jacqui was destined to be a winemaker from a young age. Her parents would take her around on wine tours as they loved wine and jokingly said she should become a winemaker.
She started as a vineyard hand then went and studied viticulture and winemaking before becoming viticulturist at Clemens Hill Vineyard. She won a travel grant to attend a sustainable viticulture and winemaking conference in France and after the conference Jacqui volunteered at Derwent Estate for the 2014 vintage. She continued working at Cape Bernier vineyard in Tasmania before starting full time at Derwent Estate in the summer of 2015.
Her interests include gardening, sewing, getting crafty spending time with her two daughters, husband, and their Vizsla cross Bullarab dog named Gus.

John

Winemaker

John

John grew up in Western Australia and studied Winemaking and Viticulture at Curtin University in Perth. After completing his studies he worked at three wineries in Western Australia; Moss Wood, Amberley Estate, and Capel Vale.
In 2003 John moved to Tasmania seeing the potential in Tasmanian wine and began working as a contract winemaker at Winemaking Tasmania. While working as a winemaker at Winemaking Tasmania he was also vineyard manager at Clemens Hill Vineyard. In 2007 John went and completed a vintage in Burgundy at Domaine Ballorin et Fils. In 2014 John joined Derwent Estate and oversaw the building of the winery in time for the 2014 Vintage.
John enjoys, fine food, coffee, and will drop most jobs if the wind gets up in order to go kite boarding. His 3 year old son Joe is also seen regularly around the winery helping out on the tools.


Alby

Resident Vineyard Dog

Alby

Alby is a 3 year old Australian Sheppard and he can be found anywhere Andrew is. Andrew may be Alby's owner but Alby is definitely in charge in his mind. Alby doesn't really stop running around all day and loves to chase the rabbits out of 'his' vineyard.

Secretly Alby likes eating ripe grapes and when we are picking, a constant eye is needed to be kept on him so he doesn't eat too many of the grapes.