THE VIRGIN HILLS STORY
It is a wonder that Virgin Hills exists at all. It certainly should never have become what some of Australia’s most respected wine critics have nominated as their ‘desert island wine’.
Virgin Hills was the creation of the eccentric Hungarian-born sculptor and restaurateur Tom Lazar. Arriving from Hungary via Paris in 1952, he found a country and a wine industry, very different to the one we know today.
Lazar was determined to change all that. He established the acclaimed Little Reata restaurant in Melbourne. Then in 1968, came his grand vision of Virgin Hills. Inspired, he bought 300 acres of rugged bushland high in the Macedon Ranges. Lazar saw an opportunity to expose Australian palates to something very different; black cherries.
After laborious clearing, the soil revealed itself to be quite poor for cherries.
Swiftly, Lazar had another grand vision. Decades before the term ‘cool-climate wine’ became popular, he abandoned the idea of a cherry orchard, planting Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec, Merlot and Pinot Noir instead. He planned an Australian rival to the great Bordeaux wines he had grown to love in Paris. Lazar was prone to grand visions.
From its first vintage in 1973 Virgin Hills seemed like nothing more than a crazy idea.
Even with all the setbacks, Virgin Hills began to acquire a cult status, making Virgin Hills one of the most sought after Australian wines.