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Jim Lumbers and Anne Caine established Lerida Estate in 1997, starting with a degraded pasture carefully selected for its viticultural and tourism potential. They are committed to building Lerida Estate into a substantial wine business targeting the “luxury goods” segment of the market with exceptional wines.
Lerida Estate has already won numerous medals and awards for its wines (see achievements), as well as the ACT Chief Ministers’ Export Award, and a Commendation in the 2007 Canberra and Region Tourism Awards.
Jim and Anne approached architect Glenn Murcutt to design a winery for their unique site between the mountains and the lake. The result is a spectacular building which exposes the flow of whole wine making from crushing to fermentation, barrel storage and cellar door operations. Visitors can watch the process from the cellar door, and during harvest, even participate in the winemaking process.
What are we trying to achieve?
Lerida Estate is the manifestation of Jim’s long-held passion to make an outstanding pinot noir. The selection of Lerida as the site for his dream was influenced by the work of Dr. Edgar Riek at next-door Lake George Wines. With wild yeast and a strong focus on naturally ripened bunch tannins, Edgar had succeeded in making some of the best New World Pinots we have seen.
Drawing on Edgar's experience, the objective is a pinot made from low-yielding vines with elegant, secondary flavours using wild yeast and minimal intervention. In other words, Australian quality fruit with an overtone of French-style elegance and complexity.
Nevertheless, a winery based solely on a one grape variety is not a realistic proposition, at least in this country. Jim and Anne decided to produce a range of white and red wines both 'easy drinking' wines, as well as super premium wines. After pinot, the main varieties are chardonnay, pinot gris and merlot, with small quantities of Shiraz, Cabernet Franc and Viognier.
Most years, a French winemaker is invited to join the Lerida vintage team to bring an old world perspective to the winemaking process with a view to achieving the best possible results, not only with Pinot Noir, but also the other classic French varieties planted at Lerida. To Jim and Anne’s delight, both Pinot Gris and Chardonnay also seem to perform outstanding well on this exceptional site.
In addition to grapes grown on the estate, Lerida Estate purchases grapes from other growers in the Canberra District. These are seen as complementing those available from the estate. The main variety we source from other Canberra District vineyards is Shiraz as we do not have a large number of Shiraz vines. We use our Lake George Shiraz for our flagship Shiraz Viognier.
Jim & Anne's son James is currently at Australian National University studying Science. In his spare time James assists with the cellar door and deliveries, and is a great person to discuss ideas for the business with. He has a great palate and a comes up with some amazing descriptors for wine he tastes.