Chalmers began operating in the 1980s when Bruce and Jenni Chalmers established a vineyard in Euston, NSW, which became one of the largest privately owned vineyards in Australia. They have since sold this vineyard and created two smaller plots in Heathcote in Central Victoria, as well as Merbein in the Murray-Darling basin. The Heathcote property had previously been used for cereal cropping so Bruce and Jenni had to start from scratch, planting vines in 2009. The site currently grows 24 varieties and provides the fruit for all the Chalmers-branded wine, as well as selling grapes to more than 40 winemakers, from ‘garagiste’ to well-established. The Merbein vineyard is used for imported varieties, both for distribution to other wineries around the country, and for small amounts to be put into bottle for release. The main purpose of the Merbein vineyard is to conduct experimental winemaking, testing such things as harvest date, root stock and drought tolerance.
Chalmers release wines under six different labels, in a range of styles from sparkling, white, rosé, red and dessert, and for a range of budgets. The Chalmers label features well-known drops such as fiano and lambrusco, as well as more obscure varieties like vermentino, aglianico and sagrantino. The Chalmers Project features their experimental wines from the Merbein nursery, ‘where all the fun happens.’ It includes wines you’d struggle to find elsewhere in Australia, such as ribolla gialla, pecorino, falanghina, inzolia and piedirosso. Montevecchio are wines to ‘simplify your life’, featuring blends of grapes released as a white, rosé, red or sparkling. The Dott. range exists as a way of testing grape varieties that ‘originate in the humid and oceanic North East of Italy and growing them in the inland dry climate and red, mineral rich soils of northern Heathcote.’ Essentially, Chalmers is all about experimentation, diversity of flavour, and having fun.
For more information on Chalmers and their exciting offerings, check out their website.