Chris and Gail Aylward started producing wine on the Peninsula in 1997. This began with the planting of the Kooyong site and development of a ‘state of the art’ winery at Kooyong. The focus was top quality wine that suited the climate of the Mornington Peninsula. Quality was maintained by controlling all aspects of production including vineyard management, winemaking and bottling.
Kooyong was sold in 2004 to the Gjerja Family also owners of Port Philip Estate.
After the sale of Kooyong the Aylward family ventured back into the wine scene with a new set-up on the Mornington Peninsula ‘Ocean Eight’. The Ocean Eight Winery was built into the hillside at the family’s property in Shoreham. This enabled a temperature controlled, gravity fed winery that would help enhance the quality of all wine made on site.
While waiting for the first pinot gris, chardonnay and pinot noir crops to be picked Mike Aylward, son of Chris and Gail, travelled extensively through Burgundy, Alsace and Champagne to determine styles and quality winemaking techniques. Mike Aylward visited many of the great Burgundy and Alsatian domains on these travels.
Luke O’Connor joined Ocean Eight in the first year as viticulturist. With such a strong emphasis on vineyard management and quality fruit production, Luke was the perfect man for the job.
All Ocean Eight’s wines are made in small quantities/batches to ensure high quality and a focused style of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris can be achieved.
Ocean Eight has also released a sparkling wine truly inspired by (Champagne) in France. This Sparkling is made in a very limited supply in ideal seasons for sparkling production.