Words by Amanda Kennedy Images Supplied
The story goes that one fateful afternoon Peter McQueen’s wife Kim spotted a hare messing around in the top paddock of their newly-purchased vineyard. Whether it was a trick of the sun or just a dusty hare who’d been caught playing in the iron rich soils, the McQueens had stumbled across the name for their vineyard – Red Hare Estate.
While the family may not have explicitly been looking to buy a vineyard, their two-year stint living in Bordeaux in the early 2000s clearly had a lasting impact. So, in 2018 when the opportunity arose to buy five acres a short 10-minute drive north-east of Daylesford, they didn’t hesitate.
‘The thing about hares is that if you have hares on your property, you don’t have rabbits and that’s good when growing vines,’ Peter explains. ‘We actually let the grass grow under the vines for the hares to rest in because they don’t burrow and therefore don’t destroy vines.’
Since purchasing the property, the main focus has been improving the vineyard and its soil because all good wine begins in the vineyard. Later this year, the plan is to double the size of land under vine to 10 acres, adding pinot noir and gamay. Longer-term plans include an on-site winery.
With the vineyard ticking along nicely, the next logical step was to work on the cellar door. Recent renovations resulted in a classy yet casual cellar door ready to welcome up to 60 guests. With a roaring fire to keep you warm over winter, an outdoor area will be opened closer to spring to make the most of the estate’s naturally picturesque setting and the resident coterie of animals.
Just this last weekend, we had our first birth from the Suffolk sheep who are the caretakers on our Pinot Gris block which is right opposite the cellar door. So, when you come visit you’ll see lambs frolicking amongst the vines.
The food menu is purposefully kept simple allowing the tight range of wines to shine. The popular charcuterie selection is thanks to Castlemaine favourite, Oakwood Smallgoods. Based at artisan food hub, The Mill, Ralf Fink has been winning fans far and wide with his European-style charcuterie.
Peter recommends pairing some charcuterie with a glass of the estate-grown 2021 Pinot Gris. The wine’s rich, silky texture is a great match for the delicately spiced cured meats. Partially barrel-aged, the wine shows luscious notes of peaches and pears with hints of apple, orange blossom, and cinnamon.
Red Hare Estate is located halfway between Daylesford and Malmsbury, on the Daylesford-Malmsbury Road, a few minutes outside Glenlyon. Group and corporate functions are available by appointment.
WHAT: Red Hare Estate
WHERE: 1225 Daylesford-Malmsbury Rd, Denver
WHEN: Friday to Monday 11am – 4pm (5pm Saturday/Sunday), Closed Tue – Thurs
MORE INFO: Red Hare Estate
We wish to acknowledge the Dja Dja Wurrung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.