26 February 2021

Moppity Vineyards toasts $5 million Barton Highway development

| Hannah Sparks
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Artist's impression of Moppity Vineyards' future winery and cellar door.

An artist’s impression of Moppity Vineyards’ future winery on the Barton Highway, near Canberra. Image: Supplied.

A well-established wine producer in southern NSW has been given the green light to build a $5 million winery, cellar door, restaurant and warehouse at the gateway to Canberra’s wine region.

Moppity Vineyards owns 395 acres of vineyards in Young and Tumbarumba, producing wines including shiraz, riesling, chardonnay and cabernet, but its grapes are processed by other wineries.

Now the company hopes to build a winery about 15km from Canberra, next door to Capricorn Park at Kerralee on the Barton Highway, processing about 1000 tonnes of grapes annually.

READ ALSO Ripe return for winemakers in Hilltops and Canberra during harvest

It will provide around 35 new jobs across the facilities, while administration and marketing staff currently working in Sydney will relocate to Kerralee.

Moppity Vineyards owners Jason and Alecia Brown bought the 112-acre property in mid-2019 and are already living onsite with their four sons.

They have also established a 20-acre vineyard in addition to the existing five-acre vineyard at the property’s entrance, which will produce viognier, grenache, mourvedre and Riesling grapes.

Jason says the facilities will be state-of-the-art and give visitors a chance to experience their wine from vineyard to glass.

“People want to feel more connected to the process so the first thing we did was plant the vineyard so when people arrive they drive through it,” he says. “We also want our guests to be able to walk through, touch and taste the fruit from the vines.”

Large floor-to-ceiling glass panels will give visitors views from the cellar door into the barrel room, and from the restaurant into the winery.

The cellar door will also feature tasting pods to provide drinkers with a personalised experience, and Jason is looking for a chef to run the restaurant.

Moppity Vineyards has a vast portfolio of about 60 wines across many grape varieties, including French, Spanish and Portuguese, and vintages dating back 16 years.

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“A tasting experience example might be five different shiraz from the same vintage but from different sites, or five shiraz that differ in price point and vintage,” says Jason.

He says Canberra is well positioned between Young and Tumbarumba, and connects the three wine regions.

“Wine producers in Canberra, Hilltops and Tumbarumba are already buying grapes from each other,” he says. “They’re all located on the southwestern slopes of the Great Dividing Range and they’re high altitude – it’s the holy trinity of NSW.

“We can pull our resources together and send people from here out to Hilltops or Tumbarumba. I can see a time when this could be one of the great wine tourism regions of Australia, and Canberra is a gateway to exploring that.”

Jason and Alecia Brown with their four sons in vineyard.

Moppity Vineyards owners Jason and Alecia Brown and their four sons have moved to Kerralee ahead of the build. Photo: Supplied.

Jason also believes his winery on the Barton Highway will act as a flag for the wine region.

“The accessibility and visibility from the highway is amazing, and Canberra is a great spot for tourism,” he says.

“Most vineyards are tucked off the highway, but this one you will be able to see and it will be a beautiful, striking building. People coming in will know this is a wine region.”

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Construction of the facilities are expected to begin in two months and finish after 12 months, just in time for the opening of a winery trail down the road in Murrumbateman.

The 14km cycling and walking trail, which will connect eight cellar doors as well as Murrumbateman village’s retail outlets, park and Abode Hotel, is currently out for tender and due to be completed in late 2021.

Yass Valley Council has secured $2.2 million for the project and will put forward proposals for the operation of complementary experiences such as bike rental, e-bikes and e-scooters.

While Moppity Vineyards’ new cellar door is off the winery trail, it fits Jason’s grand plans to increase tourism numbers to Canberra’s wine region.

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Well done Moppity

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