Paradigm Hill could well be Merrick’s best kept secret.
Drive about a kilometre off the main road down a hedge-lined driveway and you’ll reach an unassuming cellar door and Tesla charging station. Step inside the corrugated steel building and you’ll find some of the finest cool climate wines on the Peninsula, normally reserved for the finest of restaurants (think Vue De Monde, Laura and Attica) – and you don’t need to book months in advance.
For winemaker and former medical researcher George Mihaly, getting top billing on some of Australia’s most coveted menus was no accident.
“Unashamedly I picked up The Age Good Food Guide and The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide and if there was a chef hatted venue there, that was my target,” he says.
Today, 60 percent of his wines are sold to restaurants, and 90 percent of those are chef hatted.
Just as a three-hatted chef is fastidious about food, George, along with his wife Ruth, are equally obsessive about the grapes chosen, the oak barrels used (sourced from one particular forest in northeast France) and winemaking process at their 10-acre vineyard.
There’s a philosophy for what we do here. We’re not interested in making wines that are just ‘okay’,” George says. “We go to pretty ridiculous lengths to try to make the best wine possible from this special site.”
Ridiculous lengths include using only six percent of grapes during one particular vintage, due to late rain, and costly experiments in the pursuit of the perfect drop.
“We do some things which would terrify some people,” he says. "I always have defined, fairly scientific experiments about how to try and improve the quality of our wine. Sometimes the experiments work out really well. And occasionally the experiments are a disaster. On one occasion there was tens of thousands of dollars worth of wine we had to pour out. It just brings tears to your eyes. But if you want to maintain the integrity of your brand, you can never compromise it.”
Paradigm Hill’s cellar door is open every Saturday and Sunday from 12pm-5pm.