Cumulus is the largest grape grower and winemaker in the Orange region, the premium high altitude wine growing area of New South Wales
Cumulus Wines was established in 2004 when Sydney based Assetinsure acquired the extensive vineyards and state-of-the-art winery from Reynolds Wines. World renowned winemaker Philip Shaw was appointed by Assetinsure to develop the new wine company focusing on cool climate, high-altitude varieties of exceptional quality. Since then, Philip has created exciting wines with innovative packaging, including extremely distinctive label designs.
Cumulus wines have been widely acclaimed by wine judges and recognised with numerous trophies and awards. In 2005 Jeffrey Wilkinson joined as CEO and established a worldwide distribution network. Few wine companies can claim the achievements of Cumulus in such a short time. The Rolling and Climbing labels, enjoyed by wine lovers in over 25 countries, have achieved exceptional global sales.
Cumulus take total control of the product from bud to bottle. The 508-hectareestate, named after the cumulus clouds so prevalent in the region, lies at Molong near Orange. The Estate's surroundings are breathtaking, a picture of panoramic beauty with rolling hills and fertile soils that contribute to the quality of the grapes. The Cumulus vineyard is expertly managed by the vastly experienced David Price and his dedicated team. Cumulus are proud to be involved in a range of programs including biodynamic, organic and sustainable viticultural techniques. These will provide insights for the continual development of sustainable quality at Cumulus.
The rhythmic rises and falls of an expansive 900 hectares, covering a range of altitudes and slopes, led to the Rolling series of wines. Since 1995 over 508 hectares have been planted to ten different grape varietals. Fruit for the Climbing range are grown to about half the estate's land area, where the altitude is above 600 metres (which falls squarely into the Orange GI appellation). Vineyards that which yield fruit for the Rolling label are sited in the Central Ranges region, identical to the Orange GI, and 10-20m lower in altitude. The rich volcanic soils give excellent structure for deep rooted vines while the enhancement of limestone allows for well balanced growth.
Orange is an elevated region dominated by deep limestone, up to 500 metres in places, with moderate to excellent soils based as a result. It is a cool forgiving area with good rainfall, even in mid-summer. Soil types include slate shale soil; well-drained deep red-brown clay, deep red-brown/yellow-brown clay loam with volcanic ash and patches of Terra Rossa with visible limestone. The Orange GI climate is one of the coolest in Australia with a mean January temperature of under 20oC. Mild to warm summers result in temperatures which seldom rise above 30°C. These are offset by cool to cold nights during the growing season. Rainfall is winter-spring dominant.
The three driest months are the ripening period of February, March and April, making supplementary irrigation almost unnecessary. The vines are treated with the respect they deserve, fruit is processed at an ultra-modern wineworks at nearby Cudal, complete with a striking underground barrel hall carved into the area's volcanic stone. Winemakers Debbie Lauritz and Andrew Bilenkji work with world-class facilities to ensure the wines reflect the the best that the Orange region can produce. CEO Jeffrey Wilkinson is a highly respected winemaker in his own right and a veteran of over 25 years in the wine business.
In early 2007, Assetinsure entered into a partnership agreement whereby 51% of the Cumulus Wines shareholding was acquired by the Berardo family of Portugal. The family, headed by Joe Berardo and son Renato, is the largest premium wine producer in Portugal. Joe is passionately involved in the arts; over the years he has created Portugal’s largest art collection. His company owns two of the most historic and impressive vineyards in the country at Loridos and Bacalhoa. Other wine interests are with Eric de Rothschild (of Chateau Lafitte) in their joint ownership of Quinta do Carmo, 33% of Sogrape (Portugal’s largest wine company) and 50% of Colio Wines (one of Canada’s major wine producers)