When Meriwether and Susan Kinloch purchased a 30-hectare grazing property south of Mansfield in Victoria’s high country in 1995, it was the culmination of some extensive consideration that had gone into retirement planning and their proposed shift from metropolitan Melbourne. Seven years on, the outcome is a new boutique vineyard, cellar door, and fine food outlet.
The scenario evolved something like this: Meriwether had a long career in hospital management, including being CEO of a major Melbourne hospital, and the International Diabetes Institute, having gained his MBA in Health Management, while Susan’s career was also in the health industry, and subsequently in the executive search industry. With children grown up, the possibilities of a new lifestyle and a change of scenery appealed. With an interest in wine, Meriwether completed the CSU Associate Degree in Applied Science (Winegrowing) by distance education. During this time of the study, their search began for a potential vineyard site.
The Kinlochs then headed to the northeast, finally selecting their now Meriwether Wines vineyard property in Booroolite near Mansfield For seven years the Meriwether Wines commuted every second weekend from Melbourne before taking up full-time residence on-site in September 2002. The wines, now released at the cellar door, are a contract made by Al Fencaros at his Alinda Winery in the Yarra Valley and are sold in the low to mid $20s per bottle.
Their location is close to one of Victoria’s high country major tourist areas, which includes the nearby Mount Buller ski resort. So in November 2002, the cellar door with food project was officially opened by Robert Ritchie from Delatite Winery, the pioneer of modern viticulture in the Mansfield area.