Curly Flat, located in the Macedon Ranges, is a small, privately owned, estate-based vineyard and winery.

Curly Flat was developed from 1989 by Phillip Moraghan and Jenifer Kolkka after the greenfield site had been identified as ideal for growing the early ripening varieties of pinot noir and chardonnay. In 2017, Jenifer became the sole owner of Curly Flat. Under her leadership, the winery’s reputation for high-quality winemaking continues. Jenifer and her team are fully committed to producing the best possible wines from the carefully nurtured site.

Our Vineyard

The Macedon Ranges is the coolest viticultural area on mainland Australia.

This unique viticultural site owes much to the combination of altitude (540 metres), latitude (south of The Great Dividing Range), and distance from the mitigating influence of the ocean. After warm summer days, we get crisp, cool evenings which slow ripening and help retain natural acidity. These are ideal conditions for the early ripening varieties of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Our oldest vines were planted in 1992. Subsequent plantings (1993 to 2020) have seen the vineyard grow to 14.5 hectares. The majority of the area is planted to Pinot Noir (72%), with smaller plantings of Chardonnay (23%) and Pinot Gris (5%). A diversity of aspect and clone provide multifaceted winemaking opportunities. The red volcanic basalt soils have structure and depth allowing the roots to descend many metres – increasing the soil volume able to be exploited by the vines.

In 2006 we began using an undervine mower and have seen a marked improvement in soil microfauna. The resulting increase in organic matter is staggering and bodes well for a healthy future for our vines.

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Our Winemaking

The Curly Flat vineyard is acknowledged as the greatest influence on wine quality.

Our desire to be connected to the whole process of creating wines drives our decision to make wine only from fruit grown at our site. As such, we see the winemaking role as one of custodian. The vines are grown to be expressive of variety and to resonate with a sense of place and time.

Because the cool climate produces fruit of high natural acidity and intense, yet elegant structure there is little need for us to meddle with what the vineyard delivers. Curly Flat wines are naturally fermented – we find that the use of ambient yeast (those that are native to the vineyard and winery) leads to improved texture, mouth feel and more varietal flavour components in our finished wines.

Key People

Jeni Kolkka

In the romance of wine it is easy to forget that the wine business is just that – a business. Jeni has driven the Curly Flat business. From a career that began in accounting and taxation, Jeni moved into banking before being lured to New York in 1996. For seven years Jeni did the long commute from Australia to New York, taking a position as a vice president with Citibank then Allco, crunching million-dollar deals before breakfast and logging 100-hour weeks that make vintage cellarhands look like lightweights. Her stoic effort relieved the cashflow squeeze that dogs most new wineries. From 2000, concurrently with her work in New York, Jeni set up Curly Flat's business framework and is hands on in all aspects of administration, marketing, sales and finance.

In 2017, Jeni accepted Phillip’s offer to take over sole ownership of Curly Flat. She did this because she wanted to continue the production of premium wines in a sustainable business. She wanted the team to be nurtured and the soul of the vineyard and winery to be maintained and protected from commercialisation. And finally, most importantly, she wanted to leave a tangible legacy, long after she was gone.

Ben Kimmorley

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Rob Kolkka

Jenifer’s brother Robert Kolkka joined the Curly Flat team in 1991. There is little that oh-so-practical, carpenter Robbo hasn’t had a hand in. He played a major role in all of the infrastructure - planting the vines and building the trellising systems, he project-managed construction of the winery, managed the vineyard for several years, and does much of the maintenance at the property. Robbo is the rock underpinning Curly Flat.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the Curly Flat team. Curly Flat is the product, over a long time, of complementary elements and skills coming together in harmony to create a thriving business. We also have to mention the enduring enthusiasm of the countless supporters of Curly Flat, many of whom have been with us since our very first newsletter.