McLaren Vale winery Wirra Wirra has made a significant foray into cool-climate Adelaide Hills with the acquisition of prime Pinot Noir producer Ashton Hills.

McLaren Vale based winery, Wirra Wirra, has forayed into Adelaide Hills

Founded by Stephen George in 1982, Ashton Hills has since built a strong reputation for being one of Australia’s strongest proponents of Pinot Noir, sourced from a three-hectare, dry-farmed vineyard in the Piccadilly Valley.

Situated at 570m above sea level, the vineyard includes five different clones of Pinot Noir and eight rows of Riesling, and is also the source of sparkling wine.

Wirra Wirra managing director Andrew Kay pointed out that the deal was not the winery’s first venture into the region.

‘We first made white wines from Adelaide Hills fruit back in 2003, when Greg Trott saw the potential of the cool-climate region, but the red wine opportunity has eluded us until now,’ he said.

‘The chance to build upon the legacy of Stephen’s work was too good to pass up and for it to happen not only with his blessing, but also his ongoing contribution, is incredibly satisfying for us.’

George will continue to play a role in Ashton Hills, living at the winery and remaining involved with the vineyard and winemaking.

He said he felt the legacy of Ashton Hills was ‘in safe and sensitive hands’, adding: ‘In fact, I’m looking forward to helping them work through a long list of opportunities that I have compiled over the years, that lack of time and resources have prevented me from undertaking as a ‘one-man band’.’

Wirra Wirra plans to continue to make its own Adelaide Hills range of white wines, but has not ruled out creating an expanded offering under the Ashton Hills label.

Written by Richard Woodard