A former Chef and Sommelier, David Chapman began Allies in 2003, whilst working at a local Mornington winery. The first wine was just few barrels of Pinot Noir from a vineyard around the corner in Tuerong. Today there is a bit more, but the quantity is limited by the number of acres Chapman can manage by himself. His mission is to handcraft rich, silky and perfumed Pinot Noir, showcasing the diversity of the beautiful Mornington Peninsula through wines taken from different townships. Recently, David purchased a property in South Gippsland. Planting will commence in late 2020 and the first wines will be available in 2024.
David works intensively in the vineyards, ensuring that each bunch is perfectly positioned and exposed to achieve ripe, pure flavours and supple tannins. Winemaking is intentionally careful and is guided by a philosophy that when just ripe, the grape is perfect, and any intervention has the potential to make it less so. Everything is hand harvested, the grapes are rigorously sorted both in the vineyard and winery, cold soaked for a few days, fermented warm then remain on skins until the tannins are supple, then gently basket pressed to ensure the highest quality. The style of the Allies wines derives from David’s broad interest in the world of wine and are blend new world fruit with old world reserve and intrigue.
David’s vineyard approach is most closely described by the French term ‘Lutte Raisonnée’ which is literally translated to reasoned fight but in practice is a pragmatic approach to organic farming. Strong, healthy vines will fight disease on their own and healthy, living soils that are rich with organic matter yield healthy vines. Meticulous vineyard management to keep to canopies light filled and dry, reduces disease pressure. Together, this means that in most cases the vineyards can be successfully run organically but if vine health is under threat, then preventative sprays are possible. Integrated Pest Management, biodiversity zones, cover crops, organic fertilizers and minimal cultivation work with the ecosystem and encourage greater protective biodiversity. The winery utilises solar power and rainwater, cleaning chemicals are used carefully, and the wines are made and raised using the minimum additives and machine power.