Saint Mirins is situated at 140-150 Golf Links Road, Baxter (Melway 102 K11) and the picturesque 1930s homestead, complete with comparatively recently added conservatory and on three hectares of rich farming land that includes an Edna Walling designed garden, exudes a welcoming air to visitors. The successful business owner (who declined to be named) finally indulged a lifelong passion for wine production by purchasing the property in 1995 and immediately set about planting 4500 vines of cabernet sauvignon and merlot grapes. “Of course it wasn’t as if we could just start planting,” he said. “Firstly, we tilled the land to improve drainage and ploughed in lupin and clover to enrich the soil with nitrogen,” he said. “The surveyors laid out an overall vineyard plan which included necessary infrastructure such as wire location, drip irrigation and vine spacing.”
The vineyard, best described as boutique along with many others located on the Mornington Peninsula, produces about six tonnes of grapes a year – enough to fill 3000 bottles. The first vintage was harvested in 2001 and immediately became a hit with Melbourne restaurants. Two more vintages achieved similar success with 2005 waiting to be bottled and this year’s crop still maturing in French oak barrels. However, the owner is now 80 and, with retirement looming, is keen to sell his prize possessions. The homestead has already been sold and from noon Saturday the wine making equipment will follow courtesy of Phillip Caldwell Auctioneers. Art, antique furniture and collectibles will go under the hammer from 11am Sunday.
“The stainless steel equipment is the best Italian manufacturers have to offer,” the owner said. “It includes a grape press, a destemmer crusher, pumps and vats that is virtually all brand new because it is only used once a year.” Also to be auctioned today amongst the other vineyard equipment are three Japanese Kubota tractors along with the entire wine collection under the proviso that the 2006 vintage remain in its oak barrels until ready for bottling. Tomorrow’s auction will feature a comprehensive range of quality furniture including a cherrywood parquetry top dining table with 10 matching fruitwood tapestry chairs, fruitwood dresser and large round provincial dining table. Amongst the magnificent burr walnut on offer is a breakfront four-door credenza, Gillow ormolu mounted marquetry writing table, music canterbury, whatnot sideboard and card tables.
The auction also contains a rare 19th century French mahogany three pieced buffet suite with massive marble tops. Works by several important Australian artists are featured including an outstanding Cumbrae Stewart, Hans and Nora Heysen, Ivor Hele, Pro Hart, Normany Lindsay, Hugh Sawrey Charles Blackman and Sydney Nolan. There are several rare clocks including a 19th century French gilt bronze clock set, 18th century bracket clock and an unusual and highly decorative grandmothers clock. Chandeliers also are a feature along with fine Persian rugs, a grand piano by well-known German maker Gerbruder Knake and a rare collection of eastern ivory sculptures. Outside, the palatial garden features two-metre high cast iron four season figures, wrought and cast iron chairs and settees, figured fountains, and superb garden statuary. Viewing is Friday and Saturday from 10am.