Students at Chum Creek Vineyard Producing Successful Wine

May 31st, 2016

Dale Wheeler, 29, and Rhen Dodd, 29, are two Melbourne Polutechnic students who produce Strenua wine in a local vineyard in the Yarra Valley

The two are making a sell-out wine out of a vineyard they received for free when the new owners of the vineyard had no desire in actually managing the place and so Dale and Rhen took up the offer that was presented to students at Melbourne Polytechnic’s Epping Campus

Mr Wheeler did an interview and said, “combining what knowledge we had from uni with hard work and, trial and error we’ve come a long way in the last couple of years.”

They have seen some great results so far, with the very first 25 cases of chardonnay and rosé selling out quickly. “It’s nice to see that it was well received by the public and not just our mates. It’s a good starting point and it gave us momentum.”

The wines are produced with natural fertilisers and there are also sheep at the vineyard assisting in keeping the grass under the vines at bay. “We made a decision early on to run the vineyard completely organically, with a focus on generating greater biodiversity within the soils,” Wheeler stated.

Wheeler has a background in business and so his previous experience really helped get the label up and running. He said, “I was always interested in wine, but I wanted to do something that was more practical, that used the knowledge base but something that was more outdoors and little more hands on rather than working in an office.”

“My first degree in business is obviously useful now, we manage our own brand and all of the sales and marketing is all driven by us.” The meaning behind the name ‘Strenua’ is that strenua is a Roman goddess of strength, purity and the New Year, and strenua ninox is the name of a common and powerful owl which is actually endangered in the Yarra Valley winery region

“It’s something unique and easy for people to say, which is a big thing. People never like ordering or buying things they can’t pronounce. It puts them in an uncomfortable mindset.” The pair are currently very busy working on producing their 2016 releases which will be hitting the shelves in March 2017.

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