Bill Downie

South Australia, south australia Australia

Bill Downie is famous for his striking William Downie Pinot Noirs from Gippsland (where he lives), the Yarra Valley (where he makes the wines) and the Mornington Peninsula. These wines are produced in tiny quantities, so Bill spends most of his time telling people his wines are sold out.

When he came across this biodynamic Petit Verdot vineyard in South Australia, he saw an opportunity to make an accessibly priced wine that would be available in greater volume. As the vineyard has been organically managed for many years, and was recently certified as biodynamic, he also saw a site that fitted in with the philosophy of grape growing he pursues on his own vineyard in Gippsland. Situated on the Murray River, close to the town of New Residence, the Petit Verdot vineyard is planted on deep red sandy loam. Unlike many vineyards in this part of Australia, it is tended by hand, so the quality of the grapes is outstanding.

Bill is typically modest about the winemaking. “This wine made itself,” he says. “Beautifully ripe grapes were harvested in the cool evening and the naturally occurring yeast in the vineyard piggybacked on the grapes into the winery. This yeast conducted the fermentation, and once finished, slowly settled to the bottom of the tank. The clear wine was taken off the top and bottled unfiltered.” The resulting wine has a deep colour and dark berry fruit on the nose that is nicely supported by rustic tannins on the palate. The wine offers value and individuality from one of Australia’s great young talents.


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