Rent-A-Row – Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I stay in the Heathcote Wine Region?

Please see the recent blog by our Minister of Cultural Affairs

Can I bring my dog?

Dogs are welcome to come play with our wine dog Annie, a 3 year old kelpie/blue heeler cross.

We do have free range chickens roaming around most days (except event days), so please keep your dog on a lead if they are likely to chase the chooks.

When will Rent-A-Row start?

Harvest starts in February/March, depending on what the season has been like.

A hotter summer usually means an earlier start, while a wetter summer tends to delay harvest.

We regularly update our Instagram, Facebook and blogs in the lead up to harvest, to keep our Citizens well informed.

How many bottles of wine will I get out of my Rent-A-Row package?

The Demijohn package will yield 33 bottles.

The Double Demijohn package will yield 72 bottles.

The Barrique package will yield 300 bottles.

These are approximate amounts. Factors such as sediment, wastage and how much of the wine you drink while bottling can affect final number of bottles.

What happens is there is an emergency?

We have first aid trained staff on hand.

In case of fire or bushfire, please follow directions from The Shiraz Republic staff.

What do I need to bring?

Hat, sunscreen, water bottles, adequate clothing to protect against the sun/cold, closed toe shoes for picking & pruning stages (thongs or sandals are not recommended in vineyard).

Can I bring my own lunch?

You are welcome to bring a picnic or platter.

We have a BBQ available for our customers to use (provided you clean it after use!)

We will be running a food truck most days during Harvest.

Please note that our licence doesn’t allow BYO drinks (except water or kids drinks).


What do I do when I get there? Do I need to get there early?

If you’re visiting for Picking/Crushing or Pressing off, enter via the first gate (vineyard) park along fence, then have a cuppa (or a beer or wine!) at the cellar door.

If the vineyard gate is closed, please use the second (main) gate.

Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your booking time. This allows you to stretch your legs, visit the facilities and marvel at our fantastic view before we get started.

Can we bring kids to The Shiraz Republic?

Kids are always welcome at the Republic!

All kids remain under your supervision. Please be advised that some of our Rent-A-Row equipment isn’t recommended for kids under 6 years old. We also have a friendly wine dog named Annie, who loves to chase a ball or stick (but doesn’t like giving it back to be thrown again!).

How do I get there? My SatNav isn’t being helpful.

We highly recommend not using SatNav’s.

The best way to find us is to enter ‘The Shiraz Republic’ or ‘Cornella Real Brewery’ into Google Maps. Alternatively, 1505 Heathcote-Rochester Road, Cornella will give you accurate directions.

I want to start creating my label. What are the requirements?

We recommend using Canva online software. It is free and user friendly.

The specifications for labels are:

– 102 x 102 mm in size for front and back labels;

– 300 dpi resolution;

– print ready (ie: all we have to do is print it with no editing to be made);

– outline all text;

– colour is CMYK;

– save file as PDF;

– share with in Canva with editing ability. (Allow us to edit formatting and alignment for our label printer)

What’s involved in Rent-A-Row?


Pruning — June, July

Growing — September—February


Harvest (Picking and Crushing) — Mid-February—March

Pressing Off– 1-2 week after Crush (March)

Racking and babysitting

Additions– April-May

Racking– June-July (Queen’s Birthday Weekend)

Bottling and Labelling

Bottling— October – December

Drinking & Storage

Drinking– 1-2 years from bottling

Cellaring– Up to 10 years

When can I drink my wine?

We recommend drinking after 2 years. If you want to drink it earlier, decant the wine for about an hour.

The reason we recommend to decant is to aerate the wine. Many young wines can be tight or closed on the nose or palate. As the wine is slowly poured from the bottle to the decanter it takes in oxygen, which helps open up the aromas and flavors. Highly tannic and full-bodied wines benefit most from this – wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet blends, Shiraz, and Shiraz blends.

Decanting a young wine (one with no sediment) is easy: Just pour it into the decanter. Let it sit for twenty minutes or so before you serve it, and you’ll likely notice a dramatic increase in subtlety and complexity. If you have the luxury of time, continue tasting the wine over a period of hours. It may keep evolving and improving.

Can a group of people purchase a Rent-A-Row package? How many people can/should I bring?

We recommend a minimum of 3-4 adults attend for each stage if you purchase a barrique package. For all other packages, you can bring as many people as you like.

We’ve noticed that most people want a bottle for helping, so make sure you will have enough wine for everyone.

What would happen if there was major damage to this year’s planting? e.g. Frost, Flood, Fire etc

Whenever you are dealing with nature (or anything for that matter) there is always risk and risk management is a key consideration for us in running The Shiraz Republic. We have been making wine from our own grapes since 2005 and have during that time been through events like you have described: flood, mildew, fire, frost and drought.

  • In 2009 at the height of the Millennium drought when water was expensive and scarce we were able to access secure water through the pipeline which serves our property.

o   RISK STRATEGY – Vineyard is served by micro-drip irrigation. We have access to secure water through the Colbinabbin-Cornell Pipeline.

  • In 2009 and 2014 when there were large bushfire events in southern Victoria, the threat of smoke damage failed to materialise.

o   RISK STRATEGY – As a safeguard we did have our grapes scientifically analysed for smoke taint just in case. The wasn’t any.

  • In 2010 we had severe frost in the district – we suffered minor losses and made wine and supplied grapes to all our customers.

o   RISK STRATEGY – Ensure that wheat and canola crops are short stem varieties to allow cold air to flow away from the vineyard.

  • In 2013 we had a grassfire that started on a neighbour’s property and burnt half our vineyard. While we lost half the crop we reduced our own winemaking to ensure that customers received their grapes.

o   RISK STRATEGY – Major upgrade of our own fire-fighting equipment. Fire plan revised. No longer use straw mulch in vineyard.

Finally, our priority is supporting our Rent-A-Row winemakers and ongoing grape customers over all else. So in the event of a grape shortage for any reason, we choose to make less wine ourselves to ensure our customers have a supply of grapes for their winemaking. We have also extended our relationships with other vineyards in the district which give us an alternate source of supply in the event of a localised disaster. We refer to this as the long paddock, but the point is we will make sure you’re able to make an excellent Shiraz wine with us.

Am I required to fulfil all stages? Can someone from The Shiraz Republic do it on our behalf and we take the glory?

You don’t have to attend all the activities associated with the winemaking. Even if you wanted to see how the pruning is done, you are welcome to just come up (drink some wine) watch and we will take care of the rest. The same is true for just about everything else as well. We will let you know when things are happening and if you can’t get there we’ll fill the gaps. The picking and the crush day is the BIG day, so you should make sure you can be at this. We usually have 4 – 8 picking/crushing days (Saturdays and Sundays) so there is some flexibility there as there is for most of the other activities. As always, we keep you updated as we head to each stage and of course, the glory remains all yours!

Can I make my own wine label? Are there any extra costs for bottling & labelling?

The cost of the package is all inclusive for you to take you through to bottling your wine. So bottles, corks, the use of bottling equipment and labels are all included in the price. We don’t have any additional costs if you can’t make it for any stage, but obviously it’s more fun if you can participate in all 5 stages.

Our labels are done in house and the template is sent to you as we approach the bottling stage for you to design and craft your own blurb. The labels are a simple, matte effect but come up nicely. You are welcome to design & print your own label at your own cost, and we can help you with this process to make sure your label is compatible with our labelling equipment.


Have another question not shown above? Please email us using the form below.

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