Dawson & James

Dawson & James

About Dawson & James

Dawson James is a wine-making business run by two friends driven by passion and innovation, Peter Dawson and Tim James. The two friends met in 1976 in Adelaide when Peter was working as a cellar hand at the Mile End winery of Thomas Hardy & Sons, where Tim was the Production Winemaker. The over-70 years of combined experience and the shared passion for wine-making eventually grew into a collaboration.  

The cool climate of Tasmania brought their ambition of making the best Pinot Noir, on which they are working in their unique vineyard in Derwent Valley, along with Chardonnay. The duo’s first vintage in 2010 lived up to the hype in the wine-making industry as they were stalwarts who had served in multiple capacities within the wine-making industry. They have also mentored the next generation of winemakers in all areas of wine-making. 

Dawson James makes its wines from the grapes grown on the Meadowbank vineyard, whose topography is bounded by the Derwent River. The vineyard has a special place in Tasmanian viticulture. The owners Gerald and Sue Ellis planted the first vines in 1974. The late Stephen Hickinbotham planted Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling between 1981 and 1984 after seeing the cool climate the area gets. 

The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vineyards that Dawson James chose was first planted in 1989. Vine-age, thereafter, became a critical component in developing the flavour and balance of the fruit. The Meadowbank vineyard is located at the height of 70 metres above sea level with a north-eastern exposure. This allows the vineyard to get maximum sunlight exposure and consequently better grapes. 

The soils found in the vineyard include brown loams, sandy loams, structured clays and sandstone rocks. The soils are devigorating, contributing to a better vine structure and balanced growth. The maximum yield from the vineyards is controlled to less than six tonnes per hectare, while the Pinot Noir yield is directed to one bunch per shoot. 

Dawson James’ association with Gerald and Sue Ellis extends over 18 years. The company values their input as grape growers to help them make the best wines. 

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