Meet The Maker - Justin Arnold / Ghost Rock Vineyard, Tasmania
Meet The Maker - Justin Arnold / Ghost Rock Vineyard, Tasmania

Good Pair Days asked the incredible Justin a few questions - read on!

Ghost Rock finds itself at the forefront of Tasmania’s exciting, next-generation winemaker list. Justin Arnold is a second generation winegrower, intellect and one hard-working guy! While they are quite famous for Pinot Noir, all of the wines under their 'Ghost Rock' and 'Supernatural' labels, are of the highest quality... and we can't get enough! With the completion of their state-of-the-art winery in 2015, Justin and his wife Alicia have been crafting superb, low intervention-style wines which reflect the extraordinary coastal location of 'Cradle Coast' in Northern Tassie.

Good Pair Days asked the incredible Justin a few questions - read on!

Q1. Ghost Rock is a spooky name... is your winery haunted?

Justin: Judging by the way our two winery dogs charge around the joint chasing down anything that moves, I’m pretty confident there’s heeeeeeeaps of spirits getting around this place – be it birds, animal or otherwise! And there is a pretty eerie backstory to our name, so yeah, there’s something going on around here.

Q2. You're in 'Cradle Coast', in Tasmania. Where exactly is that? Can you tell us a little bit about your region?

Yes. The Cradle Coast. So, we are Tassie’s smallest, most maritime wine region. And perhaps its newest wine region. We’re up on the North Coast of the island, smack-bang in the middle. The jewel in the crown perhaps?

Winemaker Justin and assistant winemaker Sierra

Q3. Wow! So how 'much' or rather how 'little' wine do you produce?

To give everyone some perspective on it, we make 2% - 3% of the 1% of Australia’s wine that Tasmania produces. We are tiny on tiny. Being so maritime it means that our winters are less ‘intense’ than the rest of Tassie and likewise our summers also. Very gentle, mild growing seasons up here which has us picking at the backend of the season (April essentially).

Q4. So, what other wineries are nearby?

Ghost Rock has really pioneered the Cradle Coast wine region. We’re the only commercial winery here and our 25 hectares is probably 80% of the region’s vineyard area.

Bird's eye view of the Ghost Rock Estate vineyards

Q5. At Good Pair Days, we really want to encourage sustainability and eco-friendly practices with our 'No Planet, No Pinot' initiative. From the wine production side of things, what changes have you made (or would like to make) for sustainability?

It’s a big question and a big topic. In terms of the winery, we’ve always been very ‘hands off’ with how we’ve made our wines. It’s just always been our philosophy to allow wild ferments where possible, leave the wine alone where possible and just let the vineyards show their class. If you bring excellent fruit into the winery, so should be ‘minimum intervention’ by default.

Q6. And in your vineyards? Are you organic?

In terms of the vineyards, we’re in the process of converting blocks to organic or ‘sustainable farming’. We’ve been farming the land in our region since the 1850’s and are invested in its long-term prosperity.

Q7. You're a vigneron, winemaker, even a restauranteur, correct? Do you love what you do?

Yep. We farm, do ‘wine science stuff’, and make great coffee (shout out to Dukes Coffee) to go with our seasonal restaurant menu. We are essentially 3 business in one which is a crazy-stupid idea, but it’s incredible invigorating and there’s never, ever a dull moment. We have wonderful staff across each area of the business who do us proud each and every day.

Ghost Rock is a family owned and operated business - here, they do everything!

Q8. You happen to make incredible Pinot Noir!  We know you can't keep up the demand, so, can you simply plant more Pinot Noir? (or is it not that easy)

Thanks for the lovely compliment! The answer is yes, yes, and yes! We can plant more, and we are planting more. But it’s not a simple process. We have to convince neighbours to sell us some land (which is very expensive at the moment), then secure vines from the nurseries (who are under the pump at the moment), and then wait the 3 years you need to wait from planting the vines to receiving fruit from the vines. Fun fun! Tassie generally is trying to keep up with Pinot Noir demand and we are certainly in that boat.

Q9. Who is your celebrity and/or wine personality crush?!

Hmmmm. Good question. I’m not sure I have one. Is that a bit weird? Why don’t we go with BK (Brendon Keys) @ BK Wines. He’s a great human, makes great booze, and is as cool as KATS. The triple threat in the wine game!

Thanks Justin! You ROCK! #GhostRock

Ghost Rock’s cellar door and restaurant is a must visit on your next trip to Tassie!

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