Place of Changing Winds

When Smith & Sheth was first imagined, founders Steve Smith and Brian Sheth’s dream was to craft impeccable wines from vineyards of exceptional quality and share the pleasure, culture and craft of these fine wines with like-minded people.

We’ve been thinking for a while now about how we could bring even more value to our community of fine wine lovers. Sharing not only the wines we love to make, but also the wines we love to drink from around the world, seemed like the perfect place to start.

We are excited to introduce to our online community a special opportunity to purchase wines from one of Australia’s most exciting new producers – Place of Changing Winds. Awarded the 2021 New Vineyard of the Year by the Young Gun of Wine Awards, and Best New Winery of the Year 2022 by the Halliday Wine Companion Awards, the Place of Changing Winds has a motto of “no compromise, no regrets,” and is receiving acclaim that absolutely justifies this philosophy.

As the New Zealand importers for the Place of Changing Winds, through Smith & Sheth you have exclusive access to the tiny allocation secured of the Estate and Grower Collection wines.

“Place of Changing Winds – the place and the vineyard – may well be the most exciting ‘new’ development in Australian wine. It will jump straight on to elite lists of Australian wine producers. You could describe this endeavour in one word: uncompromised.”

~ Campbell Mattinson, The Winefront

The Grower Series

In addition to their Estate wines, Place of Changing Winds also produces Syrah and Marsanne from regional Victoria. The first vineyard is located in the Heathcote region, on the famed, red “Cambrian” soils of the Mt Camel Ranges. The second vineyard is in Harcourt, 85km to the north and cooler than Heathcote, with soils of pure, granitic sands.

The Vintage
The 2021 season delivered exceptional, powerful wines from both vineyards. The Syrah have great intensity and considerable structure, while the Marsanne, with some Roussanne in the blend, is true to the Place of Changing Winds style; deep, rich and layered.

Harcourt Marsanne 2021

From the same vineyard that has gifted the Harcourt Syrah, the 2021 vintage includes a fair dollop of Roussanne in the blend, from the same site. It is a wine that will age beautifully, gaining more and more honeyed characters, but it’s delicious now. It has the same power and richness of its predecessors, yet with more vibrancy thanks to the Harcourt soils and climate, and the Rousanne inclusion.

94 Points “Really textural, rich and potent, a savoury edge and more on the preserved lemon, ginger, buttery honey toast with cool acidity underlying. It’s very complex, a layered and intense experience with Serious White Wine written all over it. Mouth-coating and lush in the most wonderful sense. Multi-dimensional wine. A full and fantastic white wine.”

~ Mike Bennie, The Wine Front

Harcourt Syrah 2021

The first pure expression of the soils and climate of Harcourt North in the Bendigo region of Victoria for Place of Changing Winds, one of the most exciting terroirs for Syrah in Australia. This is a vineyard that can grow wines of tremendous perfume and finesse, even if the 2021 is a deeper, more structured style, reflecting the season. Something like a top Morgon, with good tannins.

96 Points, #1 out of 73, 2021 Shiraz from Victoria  “Deep red with a tinge of purple and a bouquet that is highly perfumed and emphasising floral/violet and fresh-herb aromas, brooding spices too, while the palate is very full bodied and concentrated, deep and firm, framed in robust tannins. A big strong wine with terrific structure for ageing, the plush fruit balanced perfectly by serious tannins. Impressive shiraz.”

~ Huon Hooke, The Real Review

Syrah No.2 2021

A blend of both the Heathcote and Harcourt fruit that will drink well early. Having said this, 2021 was a very powerful year so even here the wine has serious intensity, good tannins and age-worthiness. It really benefits from plenty of air at this stage so we encourage drinkers to decant.

93/100  “While juicy and thick set it has a good deal of fruit, spice and herbal information, both perfume and palate does dark cherry, choc-mint, sage leaf, blood orange – with fine, firm, al dente tannin in the vein of nerello mascalese or similar. It’s a brooding and deep red, chewy and potent but with levity on its side. Charming in the moodier frame.”

~ Mike Bennie, The Wine Front

The Estate Series

The Estate Series wines are founded in the southern foothills of Mount Macedon in the Macedon Ranges of Victoria, the altitude 500 metres above sea level, and the vines surrounded by native plantings and thousands of hectares of forest. It’s a genuinely cool site, with good rain, cold nights and a wide diurnal range. One of the most distinctive features of this vineyard is the high density, with over 45,000 vines planted across 3.1 hectares and densities of mostly 12,000 and 14,000 vines per hectare and significant plots at 20,000, 25,000 and 33,000 vines per hectare. Over the last decade the team have developed a system of agronomic practice that is adapted specifically to this special place. It is a meticulous viticulture with no synthetic chemicals used and a great deal of manual labour. The cellar is next to the vines meaning the fruit goes directly to the fermenters in a matter of minutes and everything is managed onsite, including bottling. The Estate Series wines reflect both place, and a no compromise approach.

The Vintage
The 2021 Estate wines are the result of ten years of learning and experimentation, and the best yet from this innovative producer. The long, slow ripening season was the first of two ‘La Niña’ vintages. The weather was cold and wet for much of the year, yet thanks to meticulous canopy management, very low yields, and a burst of warm weather at the end of vintage, a small crop of perfectly clean and ripe fruit was harvested in early April. Small Pinot bunches, mostly 30-70 grams, were handpicked parcel by parcel as each plot arrived at maturity. Around six tonnes of fruit was harvested in the end; less than 200 grams of fruit per vine.

Between Two Mountains Pinot Noir 2021

Place of Changing Winds is located, roughly equidistance, between Mount Macedon and Mount Bullengarook, hence the name of this cuvee. This wine ended up being around one third whole bunches and spent nineteen months maturing in Stockinger casks with no new oak. It's a powerful Pinot with great finesse and plenty of fruit. It will certainly drink well young, but also has cellaring potential.

98/100 “An exotically perfumed bouquet, partly from the inclusion of one-third whole bunches in the ferment and 18 months maturation in used Stockinger barrels. The power and length of the wine are extraordinary, and the 'drink to' date should prove conservative.”

~ James Halliday,

High Density Pinot Noir 2021

While all of the Place of Changing Winds vines in Macedon are "high density", this blend is based on vines planted at 20,000/ha to 33,000/ha. Here, the fruit was mostly destemmed with less than 10% whole-bunch. All of the fruit from the plot of 33,000 vines/ha was hand destemmed with scissors, keeping these berries completely intact on their pedicel. This method offers most of the benefits of whole bunch, without the stem, It's whole-berry rather than whole bunch if you like. The aging was for nineteen months in 100% Stockinger (500lt and barrique), 25% new. This is a serious and structured wine, built for aging. With standing character, great freshness and drive, it's a wine that will certainly live for decades.

98/100 “This has great clarity and depth of colour, and an extra layer of richness, initially with the essence of dark berries, switching to red berries minutes later, the mouthfeel supple and smooth."

~ James Halliday,