Ten Minutes by Tractor: New Beginnings for Mornington’s Finest
Tuesday, June 18, 2019 in News
Martin Spedding has had a lifelong passion for wine in general and cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in particular. Under his label Ten Minutes by Tractor, he is making some of Australia’s most refined and expressive wines in the Mornington Peninsula. Discover the wines.
At the turn of the century, in Sydney and aged in his late 30s, Spedding found himself in a position to quit a career in financial services and technology to follow his passion.
‘I finally had the opportunity to work out what I wanted to do when I grew up’, he jokes.
Spedding scoured Victoria, Tasmania and New Zealand looking for the perfect site and had almost settled on the Yarra Valley when he met the owners of three Mornington Peninsula vineyards who had come together to form Ten Minutes by Tractor in 1997.
‘It was the perfect scenario -- three tremendous sites in Main Ridge, the coolest part of the region, with each vineyard already known to be quite distinct in terms of its terroir and the style of wines that could be produced using the same grape varieties.'
‘It was the concept of place that was driving me’, he said. ‘It was perfect.’
The quirky name was also perfect, memorable, even hinting at the story of places that were close by but created wines with different personalities, each with its own signature, despite being made using the same grape varieties, the same vineyard practices and the same techniques in the winery.
Spedding bought the Ten Minutes by Tractor Wine Co. from its three family owners in 2003, and 17 years later is taking some big steps into the future.
Until the 2016 vintage, the wines were made off-site, but no longer. The new TMBT winery has 16 cement tanks imported from Italy -- each one weighing 7.5 tonnes and with a capacity of 4.5 tonnes of fruit -- as well as traditional stainless steel and oak.
‘We now also have the perfect set-up for us to receive and sort fruit. And the winery is specially insulated to ensure an ambient temperature that is much lower than normal. Our aim is to make wine exactly as we would like to make it, without any compromise.'
‘It’s the culmination of 15 years of planning and putting together what we need to take us to the next level.
Spedding works with winemaker Imogen Dillon, a transplanted West Australian with international experience who worked in Margaret River with Larry Cherubino and Fermoy Estate before moving to Victoria in 2015 and joining TMBT in 2017.
TMBT is moving towards full organic cultivation and the use of herbicides has been completely eliminated.
‘It’s an elusive goal -- to get to a point where you know you’ve done everything you can to make the best wine you can from a particular site -- it seems crazy at times’.
‘We’re doing everything we can to create conditions that will improve wine quality’, says Spedding. ‘We’re striving to make the best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay we can on the Mornington Peninsula.'