Dirk left Tasmania for England in September 1970 at the start of what turned out to be a thirty-year career as an academic lawyer. Sampling old vintages in the halls of Cambridge and the like led Dirk to consider the pleasures of an agricultural retirement and he returned in August 2000 to start as a winegrower on a tiny vineyard planted in 1991 at Flowerpot on the shores of D’Entrecasteaux Channel. This was part of the coastal region first explored in detail by Bruny D’Entrecasteaux , a century after the island was discovered by the Dutchman Abel Tasman. It was also that part of Tasmania where Dirk's parents settled on their arrival from The Netherlands in 1950, and where he spent his childhood in what was then a predominantly small fruit and apple-growing region. Reflecting upon his past, this represented a sort of “homecoming” or “le demeurer de la demeure” which while untranslatable from French is very suggestive and prompted the playful name for the vineyard and wines “ d’meure”.
It was during this time that Rory Duggan set down in Tasmania with little idea that grape growing would be his future also. University, studies and travel all preceded the urge to join his uncle in nurturing vines and guiding the wines through the seasons. After 15 years of reinvigorating the land and converting the practices to organic principles Dirk "re-retired" to the south coast of NSW whilst Rory stayed on and went to work for Stefano Lubiana.
Several years passed as Dirk enjoyed the fruits of his time in the vines whilst Rory forged his own path, learning the ins and outs of canopy management, pruning and harvesting dreaming of the moment to strike out and cultivate his own site. That chance arrived when Antipodes was in need of a caretaker, Rory was ready to embark on his journey into wine. Following similar principles to Dirk and merging them with his own views Rory's wines radiated complexity and character from his first vintage.
Both Dirk and Rory came to appreciate each others wines over long lunches, industry gatherings and to all it was inevitable that they would one day come together to collaborate. Earlier this year Dirk was offered the opportunity to buy back the vineyard at Fleurty's Lane and hence we have a most exciting partnership. With experience, tradition, youth and a sense of freedom to honour this craft and the way of wine, the journey has just begun.
The R.D’MEURE winery is situated on the shores of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, overlooking Bruny island, and is approximately 40 kilometres south of Hobart. The grapes grown under this label are situated on two sites, one at the winery and the other in the Coal River valley at Antipodes.
The approach in the vineyards and winery are best described as holistic, and the wines as artisan or hand-crafted. They are made without any additions, fining or filtration and a small dose of sulphur at bottling is added if required.
No systemic sprays or herbicides are used in the vineyard and this has been the philosophy since 2004.Yields are kept very low, between half to three quarters of a kilo per vine, or approximately two tonnes per acre.
The R'Dmeure vineyard on a north/south slope, was planted in 1991. It comprises one hectare of close-planted Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Merlot vines. The soils are acidic and well drained, consisting of sandy loam on top of yellow clay. The vines benefit from good rainfall, hence there is no need to irrigate. The cool-climate location ensures slow and balanced ripening of the fruit. Situated closely to the shoreline ensures protection from frost.
The Antipodes vineyard on a north-east facing site overlooking the Coal River, was planted in 1987 and consists of 2 hectares of Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay and Montepulciano vines, on black cracking clay and jurassic dolerite soils. The vineyard is in its third year of organic growing practices.