Sir Paz Estate was established by the Zapris family in 1997 at Silvan, a picturesque wine producing town of the Yarra Valley, also noted for its market gardening farms
The Yarra Valley has a rich and romantic history as a wine producing region, extending back to 1838 when the first vines were planted by Swiss settlers. By the turn of the century, some 800 acres of prime land had been planted with vines, and the region quickly developed a reputation for producing excellent table wines. Over time, the demand for fashionable fortified wines such as muscat and port increased. This resulted in many winemakers abandoning their vines, unable to earn a living from their produce. By the early part of the 20th century most vineyards in the Yarra Valley had ceased operating. With the resurgence of interest in wine in the late 1960s and early 70s, more and more vineyards were established in the area with growers planting Shiraz, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon varieties.
The most sought after area of the Yarra Valley was a unique belt of volcanic terra rossa (red) soil, famous for consistently producing wines of extraordinary flavours, wonderful bouquet, and rich sublime colour. Sir Paz Estate is situated at the heart of this belt, and is privileged to be part of the enduring history of winemaking in the Yarra Valley.
Formerly a chestnut tree grove, Sir Paz Estate was established by the Zapris family in 1997. The vineyard is located on 35 acres of red volcanic soil in the southern hills of the Valley, idyllically surrounded by cherry and berry orchards. The elevated site suits viticulture perfectly; grapes experience true cool climate conditions, ripening slowly for maximum flavour development. In some seasons, the Shiraz is picked approaching winter in mid May!
The most important element of making first class wine is in the preparation of the vineyard and fruit prior to harvesting. All of the Sir Paz Estate wines are made from grapes strictly grown in the vineyard where the Zapris Family works closely with the estate manager in monitoring flavour development and degrees of ripeness to determine harvest dates. Particular sections of the vineyard are harvested at different times, depending on the variety of the grape and seasonal climatic conditions.
All fruit nonetheless is hand-picked rather than machine harvested, and crushed immediately to minimise the effects of oxidation. Sir Paz also maintain a policy that 40% of all barrels used are new - French and American oak. The wine making processes are then based on the respective varieties and vintage attributes.
First class winemaking begins in the vineyard. This has been the maxim of Sir Paz Estate since the first vines were planted. The Sir Paz 35 acre estate has 4 distinct varieties, Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay and Viognier. Clonal varieties have been meticulously selected to suit terroir, and vineyard management remains the primary focus. Vines are cropped at 1 ½ tonnes per acre, and all grapes are picked by hand. It is the Sir Paz policy to grow no more than 1 to 2 tonnes of grapes per acre, maximising concerted efforts to produce the highest quality wine at all times. French oak hogsheads are exclusively used in maturation, with a minimum of 30% new oak for all red wines. Every Sir Paz Estate wine released is offered in the spirit of upholding and maintaining the stellar reputation that the Yarra Valley has today, achieved.
Whilst the property is meticulously maintained by a highly professional and dedicated team, the most significant feature of the vineyard is its rich red soil 'terra rossa', which enables the winemaker to produce very special wines. This unique aspect of the vineyard inspired the feature logo on the Sir Paz label today; red wines produced on red soil, or quite simply, red on red.