Kia and John Klepec bought their Pemberton vineyard in 2012 sort of by accident. “We had gone down to Pemberton one winter and had fallen in love with the area and the types of wines that were produced there,” says Kia.
“We first spotted the vineyard while John was waiting for a tasting at our now neighbours, Picardy. Many years later the property came on the market and we put a low offer on it thinking it wouldn’t be accepted. But it was, and here we are today with our own vineyard!”
The plan is to grow grapes and truffles – hence the name, Below & Above. But while the truffle trees are growing, and their hopeful truffle dog, Ebony the black labradoodle, is in training, above ground is what they’re focusing on.
The Klepec’s (along with their two children) own the vineyard and look after all the sales and marketing and general running of the business. They are a contract grape grower, so much of their sustainably-grown fruit goes to Accolade, although they keep the best grapes for themselves. Their head winemaker, Bruce Dukes, makes a small volume of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot to the Klepec’s brief.
Kia and John live in Perth so they don’t have a cellar door or tasting room onsite at Pemberton, however they are very happy to host vineyard tours and private tastings during school and public holidays.
Keep up to date with Below&Above by following them on Instagram and Facebook. You can buy their wines online or in a number of restaurants (i.e. Heritage Wine Bar, Dough Pizza, Odyseea, Post, Duende, Petite Moir, Tall Timbers and Treehouse) across Western Australia.
Which style do you think characterises the Pinot of your region?
Cool climate, high rainfall, high elevation and Karri loam soils. Just as important the region has the most beautiful Karri forests in the state.
If your Pinot was a music artist, who would it be?
John and I have different opinions on this. I’d say Hanna Reid from London Grammar. The reason being is that she is young with a voice that is beyond her years. I think our wines compare, yes we maybe very new yet they can hold their own.
Tell us three things we need to know about your region?
- It’s the food bowl of the west
- Karri forests
- And, to quote The Castle “serenity”
What’s the one thing we must do in your region?
Hike along the Bibbulmun Track through the forests.
Best music to listen to during vintage?
Various music. Usually anything that is very mellow, like Ministry of Sound chill. Vintage is a very stressful time and we find that we need to keep calm as we can as the vintage is heavily reliant on factors that are outside one’s control.
Where do you Pinot?
We love to drink Pinot everywhere! We love sitting on our verandah at the vineyard and enjoying a glass or two or during the winter months in front of the fire. We also enjoy drinking wine in Burgundy which is Pinot’s birth place. In fact Pinot drinks well in any occasion.
If not you, who else should people try?
Our neighbours at Picardy.
What do you think it is about Pinot Noir that gets people rocking?
Easy, lighter red wine. It can be drunk all year round. It can easily be drunk when it’s bitterly cold or on the warmest days, it’s easy to match with food. It’s my go to wine when we are in a restaurant and at all times!
What do you drink when no one is watching?
If it’s hot I love a Pimms and lemonade or Lillet on the rocks or, as John would say, a cleansing ale..