Rowlee is situated at the foot of Mount Canobolas in Orange NSW, in basalt soils with the highest point at 920 metres located at the Southern end, gradually falling to the North at 900 metres. This fall is of benefit in protection from spring frosts in assisting with the flow of cold air through the vineyard. The site also experiences falls of snow throughout winter – perfect for the production of cool climate wines.
The Rowlee Vineyard has not always been home to grapes, but rather in the mid 1800’s a large grazing property with a holding of 2000 acres. While the original size of the property has been downsized to a picturesque 80 acres, the original homestead, circa 1880’s, is still as grand and maintained as her earliest of days.
The 20 acres of vineyard, first planted by Nik and Deonne Samodol in 2000 when the property was purchased, include varieties of Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling, and later expanded to include Nebbiolo, Arneis and Sauvignon Blanc.
Initially, the vineyard was established to keep semi retired owner Nik ‘busy’ and whilst only a modest holding, the philosophy behind its single vineyard production was, and still is, to produce and hand tender fruit of the highest quality.
Site selection was based on local experience and suggestions from Charles Sturt University (CSU) viticulture experts.
With the site and the climate being right, the product of the vines was also – resulting in some award winning wines, a product of the Rowlee fruit.
It was at this point, consultant viticulturist to the Samodol family, Tim Esson, started trying to convince Nik that it was time Rowlee stood on its own ‘legs’.
In 2013 Nik and Deonne, along with their daughter Nicole, joined forces with Tim Esson and his family to create ‘Rowlee Wines’. Later that same year the first vintages of Arneis, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo were produced. The harvest and production was done in consultation with leading winemaker PJ Charteris.