INNOCENT BYSTANDER
Yarra Valley
Marlborough
Central Otago
Innocent Bystander is a privately owned, estate based wine grower and winemaker in the Yarra Valley, one hour east of Melbourne. First released in 2003, Innocent Bystander is forever expanding its horizons to craft wines reflecting the purest interpretation of style available. This means, where necessary, exploring different regions to find the highest quality fruit available for each wine they produce. That is why they choose the Yarra Valley for Pinot Gris; go to the Swan Hill for Moscato; and across the Tasman to Marlborough for Sauvignon Blanc. Innocent Bystander's close-knit team has a long standing track record delivering a range of wines with a personality all their own: distinctly regional and varietally expressive. The strikingly branded wines, focused on Innocent Bystander's main character alone, have established a strong reputation in restaurants and fine wine stores around the world.

"Innocent Bystander wines can lift my mood in the blink of an eye."
Matthew Jukes, 100 Best Australian Wines (2014)
  • Founded: 2003
  • Owner: Brown Brothers
  • Winemaker: Joel Tilbrook
  • Climate: Varied with marked diurnal temperature variation: cold at elevation in the Alpine Valleys, cool in the King and Yarra Valleys, relatively cool maritime in Marlborough, and semi-continental in Central Otago.
  • Key Varieties: Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Syrah

Winemaking

Winemaking is carried out at Innocent Bystander’s modern artisanal winery, a facility designed for hand-crafting small, individual batches of wine with a natural winemaking philosophy, whilst making quality the priority. Using 100% hand-picked fruit, wild ferments and gravity-flow winemaking techniques, the wines are made with minimal filtration and fining. Whole bunches, co-fermentation and hand-plunging aid integration in the Syrah, while the Pinot Noir fruit is treated to a three to five day cold soak and open vessel fermentation with small amounts of whole bunches to deliver lifted aromatics. The Pinot Gris is whole bunch pressed to retain delicacy, meanwhile oak maturation and lees stirring contributes complexity. These are wines from somewhere rather than anywhere – and they’re determined not to take a back seat.

Syrah

Co-fermented in open vats, hand plunged and basket pressed to old French oak barrels then racked once after malolactic fermentation and back to barrel for the rest of the year. Racked and settled.

Pinot Gris

Hand picked at flavor ripe perfection, chilled and whole bunch pressed. Racked with some juice solids, inoculated in separate parcels with neutral and aromatic yeasts and a long cool stainless steel ferment with a small percentage in seasoned French barriques. Lees were then stirred in tank and barrel aged for 2 months.

Chardonnay

Whole bunch pressed to tank then transferred to barrel after 8 hours settling. Barrel fermented at 20-25°C with various cultured and indigenous yeasts. Lees stirred weekly, then monthly after May. 10% of the wine was put through complete malolactic fermentation. Parcels were blended just prior to bottling in early Feb. No fining.

Pinot Noir

Fruit was hand picked to 300kg crates and chilled before being de-stemmed, but not crushed, to small open fermenters. A 3 day cold soak was followed by an 8 day ferment with hand plunging. After ferment skins were tipped into an airbag press. Wine was then racked off gross lees to oak for malolactic fermentation.

Pristine Pinot Noir, is grown on the steep, gravelly hillsides of the Yarra Valley and complements that of equally pure yet plummy, juicy Pinot Noir with perfumed aromatics that typify the Central Otago style.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sourcing fruit from the lower Wairau Valley right up to the hills of the Awaterre Valley in Marlborough is a rewarding combination that gives luscious ripe flavors but also the savory acidity of the cooler sites.

 

Viticulture

The Innocent Bystander philosophy is that great wine at its best is like a fingerprint – inextricably linking the personality, mood, and growing season of the land from which it has sprung. Cool climate Shiraz from the Yarra is more savory and white pepper driven compared to the traditional, warm climate styles of Aussie Shiraz. The gently sloping vineyards of the King Valley provide aromatic Viognier while vineyards at the foothills of the Victorian Alps offer crisp, mineral-driven Pinot Gris fruit. Pristine Pinot Noir, is grown on the steep, gravelly hillsides of the Yarra Valley and complements that of equally pure yet plummy, juicy Pinot Noir with perfumed aromatics that typify the Central Otago style. Sourcing fruit from the lower Wairau Valley right up to the hills of the Awaterre Valley in Marlborough is a rewarding combination that gives luscious ripe flavors but also the savory acidity of the cooler sites.

Grapes are sourced from the following regions within Victoria and New Zealand:
Syrah – Yarra Valley
Pinot Gris – Yarra & King Valleys
Chardonnay – Yarra Valley
Pinot Noir – Yarra Valley & Central Otago (NZ)
Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough (NZ)

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