Red Wax Cap

Product information

Place of Changing Wines ‘Clos de la Connerie’ Pinot Noir Late Bottling 2019

Pinot Noir from Macedon, Victoria, Australia


$84ea in any 3+
$80ea in any 6+
Closure: Diam


Clos de la Connerie – Protected from west making for a warmer site with good soil volume. No new oak. Lovely tannins, fine and energetic. Own roots MV6. Liquorice, just a beautiful texture. Spiced and brooding with richness and length. Fanning out a little. This will develop nicely into something special. This note was from the 1st bottling. Really want to see this wine, the longer aged wine and the direction the winery intends to take.

Savoury, bloody, darker, lovely acid, mineral, fine long.

Out of stock

Check out all of the wines by Place of Changing Winds

Why is this Wine so Yummy?

The Clos de la Connerie is a name that we have given to the part of the vineyard we first planted in 2012, a continuous north and northeast-facing amphitheatre of Pinot Noir. The vines here have a density of 12,500 vines per hectare and tend to produce a darker, more structured wine that seems to be built for very long aging.

As you can see, in 2019 we produced two bottlings of the Clos in order to better understand how this wine behaves through maturation in cask. Both bottlings are the same wine; we simply held one barrique of the final blend in cask for an additional four months (this is the version bottled with the red wax cap). Both wines will benefit from further aging although the red waxed version is clearly more open for business. Both wines are deep and powerful, yet still offer great seduction. We have no track record, but these wines taste like they will live for decades. We used one-third whole-bunch in 2019. It’s still very early days for these muscular wines, especially the first bottling. We certainly recommend people open the late-bottled version first and hold back as much as they can on the black capsule version.

No fining or filtration. Minimal SO2. Bottled by gravity, June 2020. There were 913 bottles produced of the first bottling (black cap) and 260 bottles produced of the second (red wax).

An industry retrospective & economic reality check

Back in 1998 the 2025 Wine Industry Strategy was released. All sorts of numbers were bandied about, including new planting area to be reached by 2025. That target was hit in either the year 2000 or 2001. The growth was insane and often ill-considered.

It had been a dry few years following the wet 1996 and sites that were swamps in a wet year were being planted by those new to regions like the Yarra Valley.

Vine material was not always of the best quality, and, vineyard preparation often followed a recipe. That is simply what was done.

With such rapid expansion, the end result was the wrong varieties were often planted on bad sites, and, the skill to nurture vines through their early years was not available.

The reality is the industry is rooted, there is an incredible number of wineries that are simply not viable, while we celebrate makers of good vino who keep their prices down, most of the time they’re living on the edge. Making 50c off a $30 bottle of wine.

Flood, frost, fire, phylloxera, global warming, and, drought making the odds of success at the roulette table much more appealing.

All of this means that of the innumerable parts of the vineryard / winery system a winery can pay attention to many just can’t be achieved through lack of finances and time.

Enter Rob Walters and his partner Kate Millard. In 2011 with the help of Michael Dhillon of Bindi, they found a site to plant in Bullegranook, Macedon.

Planting a small vineyard with up to 30,000 vine per hectare requiring several times the standard labour to manage, is economic insanity.

The scale of the vineyard is clear, vines are very low to the ground and planted very close to one and other

Passion and cashflow from other sources, turning a small fortune into a minuscule one is the driver for this project just like so many other wine ventures.

An incredible amount of thought has gone into this project, with both feet firmly all in, applying a whole of system approach that any bean counter would consider crazy.

The Place of Changing Winds (POCW) is starting to reveal it’s potential.

Rob being an importer of some of the worlds best wines has had exposure to some of the great wine minds. They have shared their wisdom and contributed to this unique project.

There may be things about the project that people will find confusing or disagree with. What you have to admire is the single-minded intent of making the best glass of vino they can. And, like so many in the industry the sacrifices they are willing to make to get there.

These early results are showing great promise.

About Place of Changing Winds

From Rob Walters:

Place of Changing Winds is an organic, high-density vineyard located in Bullengarook, a small hamlet in the Macedon Ranges of Victoria. Changing Winds takes its name from the original inhabitants, the Wurundjeri people, who named the place where the vines are currently planted Warekilla (or Place of Changing Winds). This characteristic still holds true today.

Situated at 500 metres above sea level, the ancient soils here are riddled with quartz, quartzite and sandstone and only Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is grown. The vines are planted very closely at a range of densities—from 12,000 to 33,000 vines/ha. The average density is over 15,000 vines/ha. Through decades of research and engagement we have developed our own version of organic practice, a model specifically adapted to our place and our vision. This model is designed to produce wines of the highest possible quality and the maximum expression of place.

In the Vineyard

Our system of practice has come out of research into historic practice, close observation of many great growers, and trial and error in our place.

Our practices include:

· Super high-density plantings: vines planted at 12,500, 14,000, 20,000, 25,000, and 33,000 vines/ha.

· Extremely low yield per vine—currently <250gm per vine (mainly driven by competition but also our soils and practices).

· Organic certified.

· Poussard pruning for five years now. Essentially, we form a two- or three-arm goblet, which is pruned in a way to maximise sap flow and minimise wood disease. This is a much more labour-intensive type of pruning, but the health benefits for the vine are significant.

· High canopy, with plaiting and arching of vines—no trimming.

· Co-plantation of plant material for part of the vineyard.

· An organic compost program designed to stimulate life in the soil, not vigour.

· We do a lot of work by hand.

In fact, across the entire vineyard, apart from some cultivation and organic treatments by tractor in some areas, everything is done by hand. This includes pruning, shoot thinning, lateral removal, hand weeding, arching shoots, shoot positioning and picking. We also do a great deal of our spraying by backpack on foot. We estimate that we visit each of our vines around ten times per year for some kind of manual work (by hand). There are also parts of the vineyard that have no tractor work at all – i.e., everything is done by hand or with a winch. All this is both for precision and to minimise compaction.

· Where we do use a tractor, it is a very light, <700kg machine on Caterpillar tracks, again to minimise compaction. It can run over your foot without injury.

· We also rarely use contract labour—only for some hand weeding and lateral removal—to ensure the standard of our work is extremely high.

· All of this work requires more than one, directly employed full-time person per hectare of vines. The resulting fruit cost is in the realm of $25-30K/tonne at the moment.

· The Estate wines are all grown, made and bottled, via our own bottling line, on-site. (The Syrah wines are also made and bottled by us.)

These practices haven’t come from nowhere. They are what I have observed at the Estates of a number of great growers, and those I have seen achieve outstanding results. Of course, I did not see all of these practices used at one single producer, and we have adapted them to our place.

In the Winery

More to come.

The 2019 Vintage at Place of Changing Winds

This was the first serious vintage for Place of Changing Winds. It was a fine season with good rainfall to the end of December, followed by a dry and largely easy growing period with no disease pressure right up to harvest. The yields were very small, as indicated above, although this was more reflective of our vine density (between 12,000 and 33,000 vines/ha) and our farming practice than it was of the vintage. The small, ripe berries gave colour and structure easily and so we watched the macerations very carefully, making sure not to over extract.

Where in the World is Place of Changing Winds?

Place of Changing Winds is in Bullengarook within the Macedon Ranges, one of Victoria’s cool climate wine regions. Look to the north and a little west of Melbourne.

Click to enlarge 🔎
96 Points

Planting density 14,000 vines per ha. Excellent depth to its crimson hue; the fragrant bouquet has a blend of dark cherry and plum fruit, the intense mouthfeel silky and supple. 33% whole bunch shows its hand, just enough to add complexity. All class… drink to 2032.

James Halliday

Where in the world does the magic happen?

Bullengarook VIC, Australia