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Sample wines from one of Australia’s top emerging wineries while enjoying sweeping views of Victoria’s food bowl at the new Lightfoot & Sons cellar door in East Gippsland.

Set on a bluff overlooking the Mitchell River, the family-owned winery and vineyard was established in 1995 by Brian and Helen Lightfoot, who fell in love with the stunning location.


Chosen for its unusual soil structure – a terra rossa over limestone – the vineyard was planted to grow and supply grapes for other wineries, but Lightfoot & Sons launched their own wine brand when esteemed winemaker Alastair Butt joined the family business in 2007.


Lightfoot & Sons is now run by two of the Lightfoot sons, businessman and marketer Rob and winemaker Tom, who share responsibilities for operating the business, managing the vineyard and cellar, and producing the wines, along with Alastair Butt.


“Our wines are an expression of our vineyard and there is no better way to enjoy them than with a view of the grapes below,” Tom Lightfoot said.


“From the cellar door deck, you see the vines stretching along the limestone bluff and the terra rossa soil. While you are tasting the wine, you can see a dissection of what goes into growing the fruit.”


All wines are 100 per cent estate grown, made and bottled, and reflect the unique of the Myrtle Point Vineyard and the Gippsland Lakes district.


The vineyard grows grapes for pinot, chardonnay and shiraz, and the winemakers use traditional, sustainable techniques while continuing to experiment with wild yeast ferments and different types of oak barrels, sourced from coopers in France. The work has paid off.


In November, Lightfoot & Sons’ 2015 Homeblock Chardonnay was named by wine guru James Halliday as one of the 100 best wines in Australia. When broken down by class, the same wine was one of the top 20 Australian whites in the over-$20 price range. Halliday’s 2018 Wine Companion, the industry bible, lists the same wine as one of the 47 best chardonnays, awarding it a score of 97 out of a possible 100 points.


“We have spent 10 years focusing on producing high quality wines but our magnificent location, with its spectacular views of the vineyard, the Mitchell River food bowl and the Lindenow Valley agricultural lands, meant we always hoped to be able to open a cellar door to better connect our customers to the vineyard,” Rob Lightfoot said.


The cellar door includes a top-floor viewing deck, which sits over a cellar carved into the side of the hill, providing natural, climate-controlled temperatures. The wine is pressed on the top floor and gravity fed through stainless steel tubes into barrels in the cellar beneath.


The cellar door fit-out also was a family affair, with Rob and Tom’s brother, Nick, a builder, directing the project, with assistance from Brian and Tom. The interior and furniture feature locally sourced materials, including timber pallets from the winery.


“We have sourced reclaimed timber from the old Calulu Bridge and Gippsland Lakes jetties, along with concrete, steel and plywood,” Rob said. “The reclaimed timbers add a softness to the industrial building, in some ways referencing the vineyard and winery itself.”


Lightfoot & Sons cellar door is open from 11am-5pm Friday to Sunday. It will open every day from 27 December to 31 January. Visitors can enjoy the wines with tasting platters of local Gippsland produce and cheese - for additional information see www.lightfootwines.com