Ocean Eight is a family-owned and run by the Aylward family. Chris and Gail Aylward first made wine on the Mornington Peninsula in 1997 when they established Kooyong Estate. In 2004 the Aylwards sold Kooyong to the owners of Port Phillip Estate and set up Ocean Eight, located on Tucks Road, Shoreham on the southern and cooler side of the Peninsula. There is 17 hectares under vine at Ocean Eight and these vineyards were carefully selected for their potential for fantastic Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. A small volume, state-of-the-art, temperature controlled, gravity-fed winery was built into the hillside at their property. Ocean Eight is named after the eighth hole of the Ocean golf course at the nearby National Golf Course at Cape Schank on the Peninsula.
Pinot Noir: The Mornington Peninsula is a cool climate region with extreme maritime influences – the sea breezes help lower the temperatures, providing crucial relief to the vines. Pinot Noir particularly benefits because the fruit has a thin, delicate skin. The Ocean Eight vineyards are planted on a sandy loam which has excellent drainage – a crucial factor in balanced, flavourful Pinot Noir. The 14 acres of Pinot Noir were planted in 1997 and the clones are a mix of MV6, 114 and 115. Chardonnay: The 6 acres of Chardonnay were planted in 1997. The clones are a mix of P58, I10, 96 and 277. The soil is also sandy loam. Ocean Eight are one of the first wineries to pick the Chardonnay at the beginning of vintage, carefully preserving the fine acidity and citrus flavours that the Verve Chardonnay is renowned for.
Mike Aylward (Chris and Gail’s son) is the winemaker and while waiting for the first vintage at Ocean Eight he travelled through Burgundy, Alsace and Champagne to determine the styles and methods of wines to make. Visiting many of the top French winemakers highlighted two things; meticulous care in grape-growing is the key to quality; while simple winemaking practices usually produce the greatest wines. Mike studied Science at the University of Melbourne; majoring in Genetics and Cell Biology. His wine knowledge and winemaking techniques were developed over the ten years he spent, hands on during the development of the Kooyong vineyards. The Aylward family believe that care and attention in the vineyard and minimal intervention in the winery is fundamental to the quality of their wines. Mike has a passion for Burgundian Pinot Noir and Chardonnay but believes the Mornington Peninsula is developing its own fantastic styles that one day will be as highly sought after as their French counterparts.
Mornington Peninsula, Victoria