Faisan Begins

From studying Agriculture in the UK, Col Walker came to Australia in search of adventure and an understanding of the land down under where he met his wife Trish.

They moved to the Orange region of NSW in 1991 and acquired a small property in Borenore, 20km west from Orange CBD. Being an enthusiastic game bird hunter, Col named the property Faisan Estate. Faisan, being French for pheasant.

This acquired property included a small one-acre block of Cabernet Sauvignon, which was planted in 1985.

Col commenced work on this small planting, re-trained the existing vines and with the assistance of Murray Smith of Canobolas-Smith Wines and from many others along the way, made his first wine in 1993; a Cabernet Sauvignon and still drinking beautifully to this day.

With his wife Trish and three sons, plantings continued and wines continued to be made. By 1997, another 15 acres were planted, which included Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Semillon. Col believes his job was made much easier as "Orange is a great place to grow grapes. The high altitude, cool-climate allows these varieties to express themselves and the natural acidity lends well to matching with food".

Being a labour of love, quantities were small, which made production manageable and allowed Col to keep a close eye on the quality of the wines being made. The standouts were the Cabernets and while the vines continued to mature, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir continued to excite.

Sadly, due to Col's growing demands for his job at the Department of Agriculture, production eventually ceased, with 2002 being his last vintage. From that point, the fruit grown was sold to other wine producers.