Hanging Rock Winery: A Family Affair- Metro West magazine (Tim Coronel) June 2014
Many wineries start out as family-run businesses, but over the years they often get bought up by bigger concerns, consolidated, and sold off again. So it's relatively rare these days for a wine company to stay in family hands for over 30 years, and for the second generation to take over the reins. Meet the Ellis' of Hanging Rock Winery...
Back in the 1970s Ann Tyrrell, the daughter of the famous Hunter Valley wine dynasty, met John Ellis, the young-gun winemaker recently hired to launch what would become one of Australia's big-name wine brands, Rosemount. Once Rosemount was established, John and Ann moved to Echuca to Tisdal's before locating their dream spot to start up their own winery: a farm called 'Jim Jim' at Newham, in the shadow of Hanging Rock in the scenic Macedon Ranges. The first vines were planted in 1983.
Fast-forward thirty years and not only has Hanging Rock Winery thrived but a second generation of Ellises now hold key positions: daughter Ruth handles all the sales and marketing and son Rob (pictured above) is chief winemaker.
What to drink
Hanging Rock origionally made its name with sparkling wines and the Sparkling Macedon is still winning awards and creating smiles with every cork popped. Pinot Noir thrives in the cool climate at Macedon, making a svelte red, while a perfect patch at Heathcote provides grapes for a full-bodied Shiraz. Hanging Rock makes a wide range of white wines including Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. Andrew at cellar door is your frindly guide to vintages new and old.
John Ellis always wanted to diversify and to provide meat to match his wines, and a few years ago Hanging Rock started a herd of uncommon Speckle Park beef cattle. The beef is from two-year-old animals and is sold with all the same information you would expect to see on a wine label, including: age, hang-time, breed, tasting-notes, where they grew up... and of course wine matching tips!
Hanging Rock Winery is only an hour out of Melbourne. Hit the Calder Freeway and stay on it past Mt Macedon. At the Woodend turn-off, turn right onto the C324 and follow it past the back of Hanging Rock and the Woodend Racecourse. In the tiny village of Newham, turn left at the only crossroads into Jim Rd and you can't miss the winery atop the first rise.