Photos below show the preparation of the 2-acre block in 1989 with John Tulloch as Vineyard and Viticulture Manager, as he remains today.
Pam Waugh with John Tulloch and Jessie the dog. (Below)
Following photos show the planting by hand over the weekend of 18 August 1990. Eight people led by John Tulloch planted 200 vines each in two days.
Victoria Foster hand-picking the first tiny crop in January 1993. 37 cases were produced.
The story depicted in these photos is dedicated to the life and work of Pam Waugh.
Pam chose the land because of the beauty of its trees and surroundings and her creativity, many skills and generosity made Elysium what it is today. Pam died in March 2014, but is never far from Elysium.
About Our Vineyard
Elysium Vineyard is the home of rare aged vintages of Gold medal Elysium Limited Release Verdelho, awarded 92 by James Halliday, and described as “consistently successful” by wine writer Huon Hooke. The vines producing these wines come from root stock from the original 80-year old Tulloch vines nearby. For those who like a mature white, Elysium wines are made to age in the traditional Hunter style, but equally can be enjoyed as young, fresh wines.
Elysium wines are on the lists of many top Sydney and Hunter restaurants. Guests enjoy a complimentary wine tasting and Elysium wines are available for purchase in the cottage at cellar door prices.
Elysium Vineyard is a 2-acre block in Broke Fordwich, Hunter Valley, and is owned and operated by Victoria Foster. The vines were planted in 1990 using root stock from the original Tulloch 8-acre verdelho vineyard adjacent to Elysium, which was planted in 1936. At that time, the fruit was used to make “crème de vin”, a Madeira-style fortified wine. Elysium vineyard is unirrigated and the vines draw on a water table provided by the proximity to Wollombi Brook. The soil is rich, sandy and alluvial making for an ideal terroir to produce perfect verdelho fruit. John Tulloch is Vineyard Manager, employing traditional viticultural practices such as low trellising.
The fruit is picked early at 12 to 12.5 beaume and with good natural acids to achieve the desired style of intense fruitiness and a long, dry palate finish. There is no residual sugar and the structure of the wine is firm and balanced on front, middle and back palates. There is some seasonal variation, but the aim is to produce a consistent style, which demonstrates this variety at its best. This style has been developed over eight vintages in collaboration with Bruce Tyrrell and senior Tyrrells winemaker, Andrew Spinaze, who is 2004 Australian Winemaker of the Year. 2003 and 2005 vintages were made by Nick Paterson, Finalist in 2004 Australian Young Winemaker of the Year.
As the wine ages, the exotic fruit characters give way to the Hunter honey and straw characters. The wine has great longevity and at 8-12 years of age, has developed a deep golden colour, intense honeyed fruitiness with a madeira-like richness, but with a dry, flinty finish. When young, the wine displays the pronounced fruitiness of the variety. It is ideal drunk with seafood.
2003 Elysium Limited Release Verdelho:
“The vigneron at Elysium Vineyard in the Hunter Valley has every right to be proud of her new vintage Verdelho. It is a fresh and vibrant wine, with none of the dreaded coarseness or alcoholic hotness that can so often spoil this variety. The nose, with its tones of lemon zest and fresh apple, is inviting. And the palate, which is both structured and balanced, tastes of fresh fruit salad.
There is a hint of grassiness, which improves rather than detracts from the wine and the finish is crisp and clean. A classy partner to a long, lazy lunch, though perfectly delightful served alone”—Review by Toni Paterson, Master of Wine.
REVIEW OF 2005 ELYSIUM IN "WINE:WHAT TO DRINK 2006" BY TONI PATERSON, MASTER OF WINE
“Elysium is a small producer in the Hunter Valley with a passion for Verdelho. Their latest release is a stylish wine with lots of focused fruit and excellent depth of flavour.
The nose is fresh and inviting and the palate is just brimming with stone fruit flavours. It has lovely balanced acidity and some attractive spice. This is a perfect lunch wine as it has good flavour without being too heavy. If you are looking for a lesser-known wine, this is a good wine to try."
2005 ELYSIUM WAS NAMED ONE OF THE TOP THREE VERDELHOS IN AUSTRALIA BY THE AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND WINE INDUSTRY JOURNAL, OCTOBER 2007
James Halliday awarded Elysium 4.5 stars in his 2005 Wine Companion and leading Australian wine writer Huon Hooke described Elysium Verdelho as “consistently successful” (Good Living, September 2001) and Lindy Millan described it as the “best verdelho in the Hunter Valley” in April 2003. The wine features on top-end restaurant lists in Sydney and the Hunter Valley. It was on Darling Mills list from 1996-2002, and on Roberts, Pokolbin from 1994-2001.
Top wine lists include: Casuarina Restaurant, Terroir Pokolbin, the Old George and Dragon, Maitland, Feast at Avoca Beach, Wildfire Restaurant (Sommelier’s Choice), Ocean Room, Dannys Seafood Restaurant, Bilson’s Restaurant; Number One Wine Bar; Bird, Cow, Fish; Billy Kwong, Chi at Coogee; Quay Restaurant, Sydney (2004 Restaurant of the Year) , Wase Japanese Restaurant Balmain, Restaurant Balzac, Tabou, Altitude Restaurant, Bistro Stock in Balmain, The Ginger Room in Old Parliament House Canberra, Yoshii; Laris in Shanghai, China. Royal Sydney Golf Club.
HUNTER RESTAURANT LISTS 2013-14
Margan restaurant: 2012 vintage
Bistro Molines: 2013 vintage
The wines have a very strong Show history, and the 1999 vintage was awarded a Gold medal at the 2003 Hunter Valley Wine Show.
The 2012 vintage won an award from the French Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
In 2003 for the first time, a tonne of Elysium fruit was used to make a Madeira style, aged in small Alliers oak barriques and released in 2009.
HISTORY OF ELYSIUM VINEYARD
The Property was purchased in August 1985 by Victoria Foster and Pam Waugh and was named “Elysium”, 30 years ago. The photographs on the left show the preparation, planting and first picking of our multi-award winning vineyard. 2015 marks the Quarter-Century of the vinyard.
Tyrrells Vineyards have made the wine since the 1995 vintage, developing the traditional Hunter style which is the hallmark of Elysium Verdelho and has created its reputation as a fine dry-style wine made for ageing. In 1995, the vineyard produced 4 tonnes to the acre.
Elysium Wine can be purchased from our cellar door or directly from the proprietor, Vigneron Victoria Foster by contacting 0417 282 746 or email firstname.lastname@example.org