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Indian-Australian winemaking couple take out international wine prize

Nirmal and Paramdeep Ghumman of Nazaaray Estate. Source: Supplied

Nirmal and Paramdeep Ghumman are celebrating after their wine 'Pinot Noir Reserve 2015' won the People's Choice Award at the 17th International Cool Climate Wine Show held on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula.

Nazaaray Estate (the name means ‘beautiful visions' in Punjabi) is Mornington Peninsula’s southernmost vineyard, set on 50 acres with sweeping views, wildlife and superb sunsets.

The estate is owned and operated by winemaker Paramdeep Ghumman and his doctor wife Nirmal, who have turned their passion into an award winning winery estate.  

In May 2017, Nazaaray Estate’s Pinot Noir Reserve 2015 won the People's Choice award, voted best of the 544 wines entered in the 17th International Cool Climate Wine Show. The same wine also won a ‘Silver’ medal recently at the London International Wine Challenge.

Listen to Param and Nirmal's full interview with SBS Punjabi's Preetinder Singh Grewal (In English):

Ghummans bought 50 acres of cattle farming land on the Mornington Peninsula in 1991

"He tasted his first glass of French Champagne at age 30, on the flight over to Australia from India."

Param and Nirmal started their Australian journey in 1981. Param is not a typical Australian winemaker. He was 30 years old when he tasted his first glass of French Champagne on the flight over to Australia from India.

Param’s interest was immediately piqued, but at that stage he never dreamt that one day his own wines would be served at some of Australia's best restaurant tables.

They bought 50 acres of cattle farming land on the Mornington Peninsula in 1991. “It was on a hillside, exposed to wind from all directions, but it overlooked the verdant landscape and wildlife haven of Greens Bush,” they told SBS Punjabi.

“The land exceeded our budget and our wildest expectations. We had no idea what we would do with it,” says Nirmal. “We looked at crops such as olives, fruit trees and specialty produce such as pomegranate, but Param kept coming back to the dream of creating his own vineyard.”

In 1996 Param planted 10 rows of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris (he was one of the pioneers of this variety in Australia), Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Riesling. He, tried different trellising methods and vine spacing, and buried himself in research about cool climate varieties.

Param is one of only a handful of Indian winemakers in Australia, and one of the few winemakers on the Mornington Peninsula who make their own wine on their own premises.

“Grapes are handpicked, wines are handmade and only French oak is used for aging in the French Burgundian style,” said Param. 

Indian food and wine might seem odd table fellows, but Param says there were vineyards in the foothills of the Himalayas thousands of years ago and are still found around Chamba.

“The Moghuls drank very fine wines – probably from Europe too. Indian poetry often refers to wine especially in ghazals,” he says.

Nazaaray Estate Winery
Nazaaray Estate Winery is Mornington Peninsula’s southernmost vineyard, set on 50 acres with sweeping views, wildlife and superb sunsets.

Nazaaray Estate Winery produces between 800 and 1000 cases of wine a year. With the growing demand they hope to upgrade the scale in a small measure.

“We are very grateful to the local community who has supported us as a family and as a business owner.”

“We are indebted to our viticulturist Ranjit Singh Gill who manages our Estate with firm commitment and hard work. We admire his work ethics and diligent nature. Ranjit has been a keen learner and has an ability to work closely with nature, which is in sync with Param's commitment to organic norms of farming."

"We follow sustainable principles, including spreading hay in the vineyard as mulch, planting more trees to encourage birdlife as insect control and not using chemicals. We look after the land as naturally as possible. We prefer sheep to graze the grass down and fertilise the vineyard.”

“We take pride in nurturing the land and consider ourselves as the caretakers of this land and we’d like to pass it on to the next generation in a better condition than when we inherited it,” says Nirmal.

Param Ghumman

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