O'Shea & Murphy's "Rosebery Hill" Vineyard was established in 1984, with the first vintage produced in 1990.
"Rosebery Hill" is located in a scenic landscape 10km east of Kyneton, at Pipers Creek, on an exceptional site of beautifully drained, rich, red volcanic soil, on the North facing slope of an extinct volcano, at an elevation of 560 metres.
The Vineyard consists of 20 acres of vines (unirrigated, even in the establishment phase) with classical varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, producing low yields (2 to 3 tons per acre) of smaller intensly flavoured berries. Harvest normally commences in May, picking firstly the Merlot and Cabernet Franc, then Cabernet Sauvignon a fortnight later, with only the premium grapes selected for porcessing (12.5 ºbe to 13 ºbe with a pH of 3.25). The balance of the grapes are sold along with small quantities of Shiraz and Chardonnay. Production is limited to 1200 to 1500 cases (20 to 25 tons of fruit).
After destemming, the grapes are crushed into open fermenters where a Bordeaux yeast is introduced. Additions found in most wines, such as Diammonium Phosphate, Sulphur and Tartaric Acid are avioded altogether. All vats are then hand plunged four or more times a day to extract colour and tannins, and to provide the yeast with oxygen. Fermentation proceeds for about 12 days at low teperatures (15ºc). This cool fermentation preserves fruit flavours and bouquet, producing a lighter bodied, intensly fruity and aromatic wine not dominated by tannins. After fermentation the "free run" wine is pumped off and the skins are transfered by hand to an air bag press to extract the remaining wine high in tannins. After settling in stainless steel tanks for a few weeks, the wine is matured in oak puncheons for 21 months, during which time the wine is allowed to go naturally through a "secondary" or malolactic fermentation, which reduces acidity and softens the palate whilst adding complexity and flavour.
Prior to bottling, the desired blend is achieved after much tasting and experimentation (1997 - 60% Cabernet Franc, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon; 1998 - 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Cabernet Franc and 10% Merlot). The wine is then lightly filtered and a minimum of sulphur added.
The bottled wine is held for a further 12 months before release to ensure the wine will delight the consumer on the day or purchase, or reward the collector who chooses to cellar the wine for 5 to 10 years.