Pinot Noir is known to be the most difficult variety of grape to grow. The Pinot Noir grape has a thin light pigmented skin. This fragile barrier makes pinot noir vulnerable to extreme weather conditions. Pinot noir requires particular soil types that have excellent drainage and cool climatic conditions to enable slow ripening. The Mornington Peninsula has a cool maritime climate, with particularly fertile soils. This makes the Peninsula one of the few places in the world suitable for growing pinot noir.
With this in mind, Ocean Eight has done its diligence selecting the ideal vineyard location. The vines were planted in 1999. The age on the Ocean Eight Pinot Noir Vineyard is shown in the quality and structure of the Ocean Eight Pinot Noir.
The winemaking is a very simple process. The grapes are picked by hand and delivered to our gravity fed winery. The ferment on skin is kept cool with constant plunging. This cool ferment builds fantastic aromatics in pinot noir. The plunging helps extract flavour and colour from the skins of pinot noir. Once fermentation is complete, the wine is pressed into barrel and stored at a constant temperature in our unique underground barrel room for 12 months.
The Ocean Eight pinot noir is crafted to highlight perfume and distinct varietal characters in this variety. We are proud to be producing pinot noir on the Mornington Peninsula.
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.