Top Dog in the Pyrenees – DogRock Winery
PERCHED on the cusp of the Pyrenees sits an accomplished producer of premium, sustainably produced wines.
DockRock Winery has celebrated two decades in operation, producing small batches of premium Riesling, Chardonnay, Grenache, Tempranillo and Shiraz (sparkling and still) grown in their vineyard in the peaceful Crowlands. The boutique winery was awarded a 96/100 Gourmet Traveller Wine rating for its 2011 Shiraz and a five-star James Halliday rating.
Winery owner and winemaker Allen Hart admits none of the success has come easy, citing hard work as the main reason the business has been so successful.
“Even today, we are still regarded as a new comer,” he says.
DogRock was a dream a long time coming for Allen and his wife Andrea. “We both worked in the wine industry in corporate for over a decade and it was always our intention to start our own label,” he says. “We have done all of the work ourselves and still operate as a family business to this day.”
Working and excelling through some notoriously tough vintages, DogRock has cemented itself as a quality wine producer. Living and working in the Pyrenees since 1999, Allen is still blown away by the authenticity of the region.
“The people and the countryside are true to their nature and the region offers so much – if people only knew,” he says. “The Pyrenees is still relatively untapped by commercialism so I guess that’s both a good and bad thing.
“You cannot go past the Avoca Hotel for a night out while the serenity of the Mt Cole state forest is a great place to get away from it all with some bush walking.”
Even after 12 years exhibiting at the festival, Allen is more in love with the Grampians Grape Escape than ever. He says the atmosphere, the wine, the music and the buzz are what make the festival so special. “If you are a wine or beer lover then it’s about as good as it gets,” Allen says. “Where else can you find so many great wines in one place and under the backdrop of the mountains?”
Allen’s drink of choice is a Riesling, which he regards as the ultimate drinking wine and one of the varieties that will be available at the DogRock stand.
“I drink it well into the winter and start on it well short of summer,” he says. “I just love its purity, clean flavours and texture. “As I age, it also impacts less on the next morning.”
The now seasoned winemaker looks back on the past 20 years with such joy for what he and his family have been able to achieve.
“I love what I do,” he says. “I don’t really think of it as work as every day I walk out the door to do whatever is required and I don’t want to come back inside.
“If we need a break, we have to leave the property otherwise I just go on tinkering in the vineyard or the winery whatever day of the week it is.”