Gapsted Wines is the premium brand from the Victorian Alps Winery. Small parcels of fruit are hand selected and crafted into these meticulous wines of distinction. The range focuses on single varietals and innovative wines, including the Gapsted Ballerina Canopy series, Gapsted Limited Release and Gapsted Valley Selection. The Victorian Alps winery was established in 1997 by six great friends who were also wine professionals. Their extensive experience in the industry and their passion for the region were central to the success of the winery over its relatively short existence. In 1999 the first wines were released under the Gapsted brand and in 2001 the stunning and award winning Cellar Door was opened.
The winery and cellar door are located on the Great Alpine Road, one of Australia’s premier touring routes. The road meanders its way along the stunningly picturesque Ovens Valley, up through the rugged Victorian mountain ranges to the height of 1700 metres, before winding down the other side and ending at Australia’s sun drenched southern coastline. The owners of Victorian Alps Winery are all passionate wine people with Shayne Cunningham, John Cavendon and Pat Murtagh providing the inspiration for the state.
John & Pat grew up together on neighbouring farms in the district. After their wild youth days of bush dances and courting girls, they settled down with loved ones, and planted vineyards. Shayne was a winemaker in the northern district of Australia, and would travel regularly to the North East Victorian region to sample grapes. He met John and Pat and they instantly became friends through their common love of the region, good food and fantastic wines. They all had a dream to build their own winery and decided to become business partners. After many long nights of planning and (the occasional tipple), the dream of Victorian Alps Winery became a reality. Today the winery crushes 11,000 tons and has storage capacity of over 9 million litres.
The unique combination of having a winemaker and growers as owners, allows the estate to have total control over the winemaking process from growing the fruit, right through to making the wine and distribution. Unlike larger commercial wineries, the estate avoids massive blending to intentionally create the same generic flavoured wine year in year out. Each wine is individual and carries the winemakers own signature, personality, and distinctiveness. It is a labour of love and passion from three mates that desire to produce special and personally appealing wines.
Careful and meticulous winemaking practices and specialized viticulture are utilized to ensure the highest quality cool climate wines are produced. Central to the process is the ballerina method of canopy vine management that allows the gentle morning sunlight and soft mountain breezes to delicately ripen the fruit, producing vibrant colours and intense fruit flavours. This distinctive canopy is symbolized by the Gapsted Wines ballerina icon.
The estate has a team of three excellent winemakers who are willing to throw their thoughts into the ring. They have virtually unlimited access to ultra premium cool climate fruit, grown by the partners of the estate, and a large modern winery producing a small premium product. All these factors combine to give Gapsted great structure and support, with the nimbleness to act as a boutique producer. The winemaking team places great emphasis on the importance of research and development and a significant part of this is experimenting with new varieties. The varieties also showcase the region; in particular the King Valley which is widely recognised as a pre-eminent area for alternate grape varieties, particularly those from the Mediterranean region. Gapsted now have an extensive range of Limited Release wines and intend to continue to develop the portfolio of unusual varieties.
The Victorian Alps Winery has spent many years producing wine for some of Australia's most prominent companies and in developing the premium Gapsted brand. The alpine influence is attributed to the altitude, cool alpine breezes, high rainfall and snow run off in spring providing abundant clear, fresh water. The water is naturally the coolest, clearest and cleanest with natural rivers, lakes and springs in abundance. These attributes combined with the cool nights contribute to unique climatic conditions of the King and Alpine Valleys. The cool ripening conditions prevent high levels of transpiration thus allowing grapes to retain natural acids, sugars and esters creating intense, lifted fruit flavours.