Eldridge Estate is David Lloyd!
David trained as a scientist at Monash University. However, his journey to making cool climate wines of excellence goes back to his childhood when his family used to have regular visits to South Australian wineries. David became passionate about Cabernet Sauvignon and after doing a wine course at Charles Sturt University began making Cabernet Sauvignons of excellence in the late 70s in Coonawarra South Australia.
In the early 80’s he tried a 1943 Domaine de la Romanee Conti La Tache and fell in love with the subtle nuances of Pinot Noir. He investigated places to produce Pinot Noir of excellence. Martinborough in New Zealand was studied closely as was Tasmania, the Yarra Valley, Gippsland, Mornington Peninsula and the Adelaide Hills. The search lasted five years and in the meantime David made Pinot Noir for friends in the Yarra Valley as well as consulting to wineries on the Mornington Peninsula. The property now known as Eldridge Estate was planted in 1984 but purchased by David and his late wife Wendy (1954-2014) in April 1995.
Buying an established vineyard reminded David that rather than owning the land, he is its carer, given temporary stewardship. The traditional owners are the Boon Wurung tribe of the Kulin nation who managed this area for thousands of years respecting all its parts whether they be land or plant. It is for this reason that he cares for the land and have tried to avoid excessive use of monoculture style farming. He has also tried to remove invasive plants that are not native such as ragwort and have even participated in establishing predatory moths to control ragwort.The vineyard is rich with the noise of insects, birds and several species of frogs, a status he wishes to continue.
Eldridge Estate is located in Red Hill in one of the most picturesque property in the hinterland. It’s a beautiful setting, but it’s also near perfect to make our single vineyard wines. With 3 hectares (8 acres) under vines, all with superb views of the valley and hills behind the vineyard and winery. The vineyard has an altitude of 225 metres at a Latitude 38 22′ 16″ and Longitude 145 1′ 11″ So in altitude and climate, the site is similar to Burgundy in France.
The soil is a red clay volcanic loam on a north facing slope that drops 45 metres from the top, near Arthurs Seat Road, to the spring-fed dam at the bottom of row 1 (160 metres long). It is protected from harsh winds by natural land forms which result in a long, cool, ripening period. The soils are basaltic loam from the Tertiary period, ie about 30 Million years before present time. This means that the combination of ancient landforms and soil have combined to produce a truly unique set of conditions that encourage the vines to grow deep roots in search of water and nutrients. The vines have been trained into what is known as the Vertical Shoot Position system of canopy management to provide the best possible flavour development at our unique site.