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Giant Steps takes Bastard Hill in its stride

Published:  23 August, 2022

Giant Steps has acquired fellow Yarra Valley winery Bastard Hill, adding to its reach in Victoria.

The 31ha Bastard Hill vineyard, situated in the Gladysdale sub-region in Upper Yarra, is planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – two varieties championed early on in Yarra by Giant Steps founder Phil Sexton, who helped put the region on the map for quality expressions of these wines.

The steep slopes of the aptly named 300-400m high Bastard Hill were planted in the 1980s, originally for production of sparkling wine, becoming recognised as one of Australia’s great Chardonnay sites, with fruit sourced from here for the iconic Eileen Hardy Chardonnay.

Giant Steps’ Sexton said of the purchase: “As passionate owners and farmers of some of the best premium wine producing sites in the Yarra Valley, we are excited to add this vineyard to the Giant Steps single vineyard family and return this unique vineyard to the iconic status it rightly deserves.”

Bastard Hill joins Applejack vineyard, also an Upper Yarra single vineyard, in the Giant Steps fold, with current owner Jackson Family Wines saying the purchase continued “its pursuit of site expression”.

Christopher Jackson, second-generation owner of Jackson Family Wines, added: “The dramatic landscape of Bastard Hill reflects viticulture at its most extreme.

“The extremity of the site sets the stage for Giant Steps to continue to tell the story of the Yarra through the lens of transparent varieties, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.”

Giant Steps was established in Yarra Valley by Sexton in 1998, in a search for “purity and finesse’ in Australian Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, at a time when the pendulum began to swing from rich, oaky styles, to leaner, fresher, more poised wines.