This winery changed hands in May 2016, with one family company, Brown Brothers,taking it off the hands of another, its founder, Phil Sexton. So associated is Innocent Bystander with the Yarra Valley that the new owners made the intelligent decision to build a new winery in Healesville, just across the parking lot from Giant Steps. They quickly signed contracts with all the grape growers that Phil used for Innocent Bystander, so that the style of the wines remains unchanged. This style of wines that are regional and varietal, reflecting the soil, climate and topography of the cool climate in the Yarra Valley has been the base upon which the reputation of Innocent Bystander has been built.
The Gordo Muscat (Muscat of Alexandria) was selected from the Woonton, Boulton and Duffy vineyards, while the Black Muscat (Muscat Hamberg) that made up the remaining part of the blend was sourced from Burge Vineyard, Duffy Vineyard, Wall Vineyard and Pratt Vineyard, all in the Swan Hill region in Victoria.
2017 was a very good vintage for the Yarra Valley. A cool, early summer meant harvest dates were three weeks later than the previous vintage but a perfect autumn meant that crops were evenly balanced with excellent acidity and ripe flavours.
Harvested in the cool of the night, fruit was chilled and crushed with six hours skin contact to extract a hint of pink from the Black Muscat. Juice underwent a 100% stainless steel ferment with aromatic yeast at 12°C. Fermentation was stopped at 5.5% alcohol by chilling the wine, then cold filtered at 0°C to trap in the natural bubbles and cold bottled under pressure to retain freshness and effervescence.
Intense fairy floss and blackcurrant perfumes wrap around notes of musk, Turkish delight and mandarin peel. The palate is rich in flavour, yet refined by a cleansing natural acidity. The spritzy naturally dissolved carbon dioxide leaves the palate refreshed.