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Mother Block

Njeri Njeri Country - Merbein, Murray Darling, Vicotria


To put it simply, a greater diversity of grape varieties provides a clearer expression of place. And grape varieties that are more suited to the land they are on provide for greater sustainability and better wine.

Mother Block is built on the foundation of these ideas. It is the home of much of the mother vine material used to propagate the Italian grape varieties and clones planted across Australia. Though this may seem like a niche industry, it is not. No other country outside Italy is planting the diversity of Mediterranean grapes that Australia is — and the land and wine is better for it.

Bruce and Jenni Chalmers established a farm in Merbein, at the center of Mildura in the Murray Darling GI of Victoria. Their initial produce was the typical set of grapes that have called the moderate, continental climate of north/central Europe home: shiraz, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, etc. But realizing that these grapes were not well-suited to their warm, dry Mediterranean climate, they began looking for another set of grapes. By 1998, the family was the Australian agent for the Italian nursery Vivai Cooperativi Rauscedo (VCR) with a clear mission to establish a more diverse set of grapes that find homes in climates and soils more similar to the Australian landscape than those already planted.

Today, the Chalmers family has more than 75 different grape varieties and clones in their nursery ranging from aglianico and ansonica to pavana and uva di troia. They even have the Serbian grape slankamenka bela, and over a dozen different varieties used for rootstock like ramsey and fercal. These, along with many others, foster a more sustainable wine-growing industry in Australia. Mother Block is Australia’s varietal diversity in a bottle, and hints at the future of Australian wine: innovative, sustainable, beautiful, and delicious!

"You look at these bush vine wines and think: it’s true, you can make quality anywhere. This little tiny block in Merbein totally can do that.”
Bart van Olphen

What Jane and Jon Have to Say…

These wines represent the future of wine – for real. Using smart vine material (that they imported themselves) and innovative viticulture, the Chalmers family is growing high-quality grapes with little irrigation and making fresh, food-friendly wines that are wildly affordable. Our go-to sips!

2021   2022

2022    2023

2021   2022

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