Mulline making its mark in Geelong

Mulline Vintners co-owners Ben Hine (left) and Ben Mullen. Mulline Vintners Facebook

Ben Mullen of Mulline Vintners is a welcome addition to the Geelong wine region, a man who accumulated valuable experience working for other noted producers before setting up shop in Geelong. He makes very smart chardonnay, fumé blanc, riesling, pinot gris and pinot noir, all from Geelong region grapes, but shiraz is where he’s kicking the most goals.

Mulline doesn’t own vines or winery, which makes its achievements in just four (released) vintages all the more impressive.

As hinted above, Mullen has an impressive CV, having worked stints at Leeuwin Estate, Torbreck, Yarra Yering, Oakridge and Clyde Park, and overseas at Domaine Dujac, Burgundy, and New Zealand’s Craggy Range. Mullen was raised in the Barossa and has a degree in viticulture and oenology from Adelaide University.

The Mulline Vintners brand was born in the 2019 vintage immediately following his time at Clyde Park.

His partner in the business is Ben Hine, a lawyer who runs the business side of Mulline and who also has experience in hospitality, having worked at top Adelaide restaurant Chianti for eight years.

Mulline (pronounced Mull-eyne) is a mash-up of their surnames.

It’s immediately obvious that Ben Mullen has a deep interest in single-site and sub-regional wines, fielding various varietals from Sutherland’s Creek and Bannockburn (in the Moorabool Valley), Portarlington, Drysdale and Curlewis (on the Bellarine Peninsula) and Anakie. He also experiments with whole-bunch fermentation in pinot noir and shiraz, with skin ferments in pinot gris and sauvignon blanc (the latter for the outstanding Mulline Fumé Blanc), with wild yeasts and seasoned barrels for white ferments.

Mulline seems a very responsible citizen, whose website documents their sustainable measures, including using Greenfleet to offset carbon emissions via tree planting, using thoughtful packaging and other environmentally responsible considerations. Asked if he had considered capturing fermentation CO2, Mullen said it was:

“Something that I have thought about and seen other producers do, but with the limitations of space and vessels that we use it’s not really a feasible option. It is definitely something that we will look into if we ever build a facility.”

Mulline doesn’t own vines or winery, which makes its achievements in just four (released) vintages all the more impressive.

“We don’t own any vines, but now lease our Portarlington site on the Bellarine, which is great to be able to have control and also the fruit security. This is hopefully something that we will be able to continue with other sites in the region and also potentially purchase a vineyard/winery home when the funds allow (Geelong/Bellarine land prices are astronomical at the moment).”

The last two vintages have been made in leased space in the Rowsley Fault Vineyard at Sutherlands Creek, near Geelong. Mulline shares the space with other producers.

The latest releases are:

Mulline Syrah 2022

The grapes are 90% Sutherlands Creek and 10% Portarlington. Clones PT23 and 1654, 30% whole-bunch fermented, 7 months in barrel.

Mulline Portarlington Syrah 2022

Grapes from the Nurringa Park Vineyard, Portarlington; clone 1654; vines planted in 1994. One-third new oak, 9 months in barrel.

Mulline Sutherland’s Creek Shiraz Viognier 2022

Grapes from the Strathmore Vineyard, Sutherlands Creek, planted in 1998. Shiraz clone PT23 with 6% viognier. 20% new oak; 9 months in barrel.

Mulline Bannockburn Syrah 2022

From the Bannockburn Vineyard, Moorabool Valley. Clone PT23, 30% whole bunch fermented, 20% new oak, 9 months in barrel.

Mulline Vintners Wines

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