We are proud of our Adelaide Hills patch and excited to share it with you. We respectfully acknowledge the people of Peramangk Land on which we stand and recognise their connection to culture, community and Country.
Our home vineyard and winery are located behind the township of Oakbank in the beautiful Adelaide Hills. Our grandfather bought this farm in 1939 – and, 60 years later, in 1998, our parents planted vines here. So we are the third generation caring for this land.
We continue to work together as a family – youngest brother Michael Downer is Chief Winemaker; older brother Andrew Downer oversees marketing. Eldest brother Henry sits on our Board.
Our Artisan Series is a nod to our family history – each wine is named after a vintage horse-drawn carriage, as our grandfather was an avid collector.
We manage two family vineyards, plus source high-quality grapes from cool climate blocks across the Adelaide Hills.
Our 20-hectare ‘Erinka’ home vineyard near Oakbank was planted by our parents in 1998, on an east-facing slope rising to 420m elevation. It’s a mixed bag of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Cab Sauv and Cabernet Franc.
Our newest 8.5-hectare vineyard within the Lenswood wine sub-region was planted with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in 1989, and is now a regional star vineyard. We have dedicated an additional 6.5 hectares of the property to native bushlands.
Michael formally trained in oenology at Adelaide University before traveling the world to explore top winemaking regions across Italy and France. He cemented his knowledge and unique flair working alongside some of the finest winemakers in Australia and beyond, including Peter Leske and Taras Ochota, and at renowned wineries including Shaw and Smith, Revenir, Cape Mentelle and Best’s Wines Great Western.
In 2012, Michael returned to the family’s Adelaide Hills farm and took over the reins here at Murdoch Hill. As Winemaker, Michael has refocused the family business on producing outstanding Adelaide Hills wines – approachable, adventurous and always of the highest quality.
Michael is passionate about high-altitude Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, sourced from several cool climate blocks across the Adelaide Hills plus the family’s estate vineyard within the misty mesoclimate of the Lenswood wine sub-region.
The two Murdoch Hill estate vineyards are managed with an organic ethos and Michael takes a minimalistic approach in the winery, utilising wild yeasts and gentle extraction techniques without additions or manipulation to ensure the vineyard characters and regionality shines.
“I simply wanted to come home and make wine that shows a sense of place, something that is embedded in the European wine culture. This required moving in a more minimalistic winemaking approach utilising wild yeasts and gentle extraction techniques, and reducing additions to show the purity of fruit. Overall, I wanted to make delicious drinkable wine styles.”
~ Michael Downer, Chief Winemaker
Andrew is a graphic designer who spent years working in London and Melbourne as a packaging design specialist for many different businesses and brands. When he returned home to Murdoch Hill, it naturally made sense that Andrew would dedicate his talent to our wines. These days, Andrew designs all Murdoch Hill labels.
Andrew also manages our Tasting Room and many other parts of the business. So, on any given day, you might find him serving up wine tastings, mowing the lawns, packing online wine orders or helping out in the winery during vintage.
Andrew and his young family live onsite at the Oakbank farm, where Andrew maintains an epic veggie patch. He's also developed a slick system for composting all Murdoch Hill's winery waste.