Experience the fun of the vineyard without the hard work

You don’t have to attend all the activities associated with the winemaking. Even if you wanted to see how the pruning is done, you are welcome to just come up (drink some wine) watch and we will take care of the rest. The same is true for just about everything else as well. We will let you know when things are happening and if you can’t get there we’ll fill the gaps. The picking and the crush day is the BIG day, so you should make sure you can be at this. We usually have 4 – 8 picking/crushing days (Saturdays and Sundays) so there is some flexibility there as there is for most of the other activities. As always, we keep you updated as we head to each stage and of course, the glory remains all yours!

We love dogs at Shiraz Republic. Our cellar door, farm and winery is dog friendly, but please be ready to have your dogs on a lead as there is often livestock on the farm in addition to other dogs, including our very own wine dogs, Annie & Clancy, who are sometimes at the cellar door with their owners. (Annie & Clancy are even on Instagram...)

As for accommodation, we welcome dogs in our Bills Shed studio - but not our other units (Vineyard Views) - sorry!

Kids are always welcome at Shiraz Republic!

However, please be mindful that Shiraz Republic is a working farm and all kids remain under your supervision. Similarly, some of the equipment used in our Rent-A-Row winemaking equipment isn't suitable for use by children, but we try to incorporate them into the fun of winemaking as much as possible. 

The grapes should be picked when they are physiologically ripe. Once the grapes are harvested, the physical and chemical components of the grape which will influence the wine’s quality are essentially set so determining the optimal moment of ripeness may be considered the most crucial decision in winemaking.

There are several factors that contribute to the ripeness of the grape. As the grapes go through veraison, sugars in the grapes will continue to rise as acid levels fall. The balance between sugar (as well as the potential alcohol level) and acids is considered one of the most critical aspects of producing quality wine so both the must weight and “total acidity”, as well as the pH of the grapes, are evaluated to determine ripeness.

Modern winemakers and viticulturists focus on achieving “physiological” ripeness in the grapes.  This refers to a more complete ripeness of tannins and other phenolic compounds in the grapes that contribute to the color, flavor and aroma of wine.

Each week, after veraison, I test the grapes to determine their ripeness.  Picking will start once the grapes reach 13 Baume. This should translate into wine with a little more than 13% alcohol.Each week from late January I publish a  table which shows the progressive ripening of the different blocks and clones, the expected yield and likely picking date. Picking usually starts in March, sometimes early sometimes later, but once I start testing you can see the emerging pattern and start to organise your equipment and helpers.

Picking usually starts in March, sometimes early sometimes later. As the season progresses I publish on the website the expected picking dates for each block of fruit.
Follow us on Instagram or Facebook for more regular updates.

Harvest usually runs over 3 or 4 weekends. It depends greatly on the weather.  A sustained spell of hot weather can ripen the fruit very quickly and it’s a scramble to get it picked.  Rain and cool weather can slow the process down.

The fun of making wine is best when experienced with family and friends.
Our Shareholder package is shared between 2 people. You can ‘add a share’ to increase your group size and receive more wine.

Otherwise, for a group we recommend buying one of our Demijohn (~3 dozen) , Double Demijohn (~ 6 dozen) or Barrique (~25 dozen) as this gives you your own batch of wine to share amongst yourself or a group and these packages don’t have any firm limits on numbers, just make sure you make enough wine to go around!

As for each stage (Demijohn packages), the numbers we recommend for each stage are:

Picking/Crushing, we recommend 2-4 people for a demijohn, 2-6 people for a double demijohn and 4-12 people for a barrique.

Pressing, we recommend 2-4 people for a demijohn, 2-6 people for a double demijohn and 5-10 people for a barrique.

Racking, we recommend 2-4 people for a demijohn, 2-4 people for a double demijohn and 3-5 people for a barrique.

Bottling, we recommend 2-6 people for a demijohn, 4-8 people for a double demijohn and 5-10 people for a barrique. We’ve noticed that most people want a bottle for helping, so make sure you will have enough wine for everyone.

The Shareholder Package received 6 bottles. Shareholders can order additional wine to take home at The Bottling Party.
The Demijohn package will yield 33 bottles.
The Double Demijohn package will yield 72 bottles.
The Barrique package will yield 300 bottles.

These are approximate amounts. Factors such as sediment, wastage and how much of the wine you drink while bottling can affect final number of bottles.

The Shareholder Package received 6 bottles. Shareholders can order additional wine to take home at The Bottling Party.
The Demijohn package will yield 33 bottles.
The Double Demijohn package will yield 72 bottles.
The Barrique package will yield 300 bottles.

These are approximate amounts. Factors such as sediment, wastage and how much of the wine you drink while bottling can affect final number of bottles.

Whenever you are dealing with nature (or anything for that matter) there is always risk and risk management is a key consideration for us in running The Shiraz Republic. We have been making wine from our own grapes since 2005 and have during that time been through several natural events like flood, mildew, fire, frost and drought and managed them without significant disruption to production.

  • In 2009 at the height of the Millennium drought when water was expensive and scarce we were still able to access secure water through the Colbinabbin-Cornella pipeline which serves our property. Our vineyard is also served by efficient micro-drip irrigation.
  • In 2009 and 2014 when there were large bushfire events in southern Victoria, the threat of smoke damage failed to materialise, though as a safeguard we did have our grapes scientifically analysed for smoke taint anyway. There wasn’t any.
  • In 2010 we had severe frost in the district – we suffered minor losses but still made wine and supplied grapes to all our customers. One approach we use to mitigate against frost is to plant short stem varieties of wheat and canola crops in surrounding paddocks to allow cold air to flow away from the vineyard.
  • In 2013 we had a grassfire that started on a neighbour’s property and burnt half our vineyard. While we lost half the crop we reduced our own winemaking to ensure that customers received their grapes. We've since had a major upgrade of our own fire-fighting equipment. Revised our Fire plan and no longer use straw mulch in vineyard.

Finally, our priority is supporting our Rent-A-Row winemakers and ongoing grape customers over all else. So in the event of a grape shortage for any reason, we choose to make less wine ourselves to ensure our customers have a supply of grapes for their winemaking. We have also extended our relationships with other vineyards in the district which give us an alternate source of supply in the event of a localised disaster. We refer to this as the long paddock, but the point is we will make sure you’re able to make an excellent Shiraz wine with us.

A lot of the time when someone receives the fantastic gift of Rent-A-Row, their email address and phone number don’t get passed on to us.

In the lead up to Harvest, we send out an email to the person who purchased the package asking for contact details of the recipient.

If you haven’t heard from us, it is more than likely we don’t have your details. You can use the contact form below, or email us at info@shirazrepublic.com.au. Please include the name of the awesome friend who bought the Rent-A-Row package, as that is how it will be entered in our database.

If it has been a while since you received the Rent-A-Row gift, please get in contact with us to commence the winemaking process with the next vintage.

We recommend using Canva online software. It is free and user friendly.

Our Demijohn, Double Demijohn and Barrique packages includes the printing of their own personalised label design.

The specifications for labels are:

– a single 152x102mm artwork, with 1mm bleeds (6in by 4in – a wide label that wraps around the bottle);

– 300 dpi resolution;

– we recommend using only the ‘free’ images and templates in Canva

– print ready (ie: all we have to do is print it with no editing to be made);

– outline all text;

– colour is CMYK;

– share with rentarow@shirazrepublic.com.au in Canva with editing ability. (Allows us to edit formatting and alignment for our label printer)


Pruning – June – July

Growing – September – February


Harvest (Picking and Crushing) – Mid-February – March

Pressing Off– 1-2 week after Crush (March)

Racking and Monitoring

Malolactic Fermentation – April – May

Racking & Oak Addition – June – July

Bottling and Labelling

Label design – September – October

Bottling – November – December

Drinking & Storage

Drinking – 1-2 years from bottling

Cellaring – 5-10 years

All of our Rent-A-Row stages are booked via an online calendar booking system. When we are ready to take bookings, the link will be sent to you, and it will be a ‘first in, first booked’ basis. If you want to book in for a date that isn’t within the timeframe of the calendar, please contact us to find an alternative date that suits you and The Shiraz Republic.

At most stages of Rent-A-Row, we are able to give you an idea of the timeframe for the stage in advance, so you can coordinate your group. This usually means we have a number of people wanting to ‘pre-book’, but unfortunately, we are unable to book Citizens into the system prior to the calendar going ‘live’.

We understand that most of the stages of Rent-A-row are at times of the year that are busy for a lot of people – it’s busy for us as well, with both the winery and our personal lives. We try to give as much notice as we can so you can organise your visit. Please see the FAQ ‘What’s involved in Rent-A-Row?’ for a rough guideline on when each stage occurs. We also try to give information at each stage on what’s happening next.

Each wine will be different, but we recommend trying your wine early but it’s likely that it will reach it’s prime after 1-2 years. If the wine is tasting young, we recommend using a decanter to aerate the wine. Many young wines can be tight or closed on the nose or palate. As the wine is slowly poured from the bottle to the decanter it takes in oxygen, which helps open up the aromas and flavors. Highly tannic and full-bodied wines benefit most from this – wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet blends, Shiraz, and Shiraz blends.

Decanting a young wine is easy: Just pour it into the decanter. Let it sit for twenty minutes or so before you serve it, and you’ll likely notice a dramatic increase in subtlety and complexity. If you have the luxury of time, continue tasting the wine over a period of hours. It may keep evolving and improving. If you’re patient, you will be able to experience the maturing of your wine over a number of years with careful cellaring – enjoy it however you feel. 

Harvest starts in February/March, depending on what the season has been like. A hotter summer usually means an earlier start, while a wetter summer tends to delay harvest.

We regularly update our InstagramFacebook and blogs in the lead up to harvest, to keep our Citizens well informed.

You are welcome to bring your own lunch, snacks or platters.

We offer food every day, either our house pizzas or via a food stall, so please support the food stall if they are present – otherwise we have no issue with self-catering. 

Please note that our licence doesn’t allow BYO alcohol.

From Moonee Ponds, it will take about an hour and 50 minutes.

From Burwood, it will take about two hours and 15 minutes.

From Sandringham, it will take about 2 hours 20 minutes.

From Narre Warren, it will take about 2 and a half hours.

From Werribee, it will take about 2 hours.

From Echuca, it will take about 50 minutes.

From Bendigo, it will take about 40 minutes.

From Shepparton, it will take about an hour and 10 minutes.

These are approximate travel times only. Please factor in things such as weather, traffic, roadworks when planning your trip.

If you’re visiting to work on your wine, enter via the first gate (vineyard) park along fence, then have a cuppa (or a beer or wine!) at the cellar door and check in with staff while you're there.

Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your booking time. This allows you to stretch your legs, visit the facilities and enjoy the view of the vineyard before we get started.

The best way to find us is to enter ‘The Shiraz Republic’ into Google Maps. Our address for Google (and most modern map services) is 507 Hamblin Rd, Cornella VIC 3551.
Older satnavs won’t recognise this address but may have success with 1515 Heathcote-Rochester Rd, Cornella VIC 3551. Call 03 5433 6338 if you get lost!

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