Our 'Meet the Winemaker' series continues to gather huge support from our readers... here are the most successful blogs so far!

Meet the winemaker: Brad Rey, Zonte’s Footstep

Brad Rey, Canadian at large and director of Zonte’s Footstep in the McLaren Vale, proudly talks to The Wine Pig about his views on wine.

I worked in one of the first private wine shops in Calgary and got a chance to try a bottle of Chateau Nuef du Pape from King Goerge the V wine cellar (it was in a cellar of a magistrate that passed away and there were three bottles so they needed it praised). 

Anyhow, well and truly past its apogee, but after we spat it out… there was a glimmer of distinct, dried Grenache… and I thought, “how amazing that something so old could still amaze someone”. 

And that was it, I wanted to enrich people with a wine experience.

Read more from Brad here.

Meet the winemaker: Andy & Trine Gay, Burnbrae Wines

Tony and Jill Bryant took over the oldest winery in Mudgee back in 2004 before passing the legacy down to their daughter Trine, and son-in-law Andy.The Wine Pig has been lucky enough to speak to Trine to find out more about the duo’s passion for the wine world.

The duo talk of the philosophy, passed down by Trine’s parents, to always maintain the integrity of each wine while nurturing every vintage to bring out its finest characteristics, and wow, have they smashed it.

That every wine on our tasting bench is delicious, cheeky… maybe, but we do get comments like this rather frequently.

Read more from Trine and Andy here.

Meet the winemaker: Adam Jacobs, Doc Adams Wines

Viticulturist Adam Jacobs, alongside his business partner, orthopedic surgeon and vineyard owner Darren Waters, started the McLaren Vale vineyard back in 2005, with the sole goal in mind to produce the best wines possible.

The talented team of Doc Adams Wines, led by Adam, is dedicated to showcasing the best of McLaren Vale grape growing and winemaking, with a wonderful result.

I build my best wines from grapes at one end of McLaren Vale to the other. There is a difference of three weeks in harvesting and ripening and this shows in the wines from the colour to alcohol and to richness.

Read more from Adam here.

Meet the winemaker: Jim Chatto, Mount Pleasant Wines

Joining from just down the road at Pepper Tree Wines, Jim Chatto brings a number of awards and exceptional passion for the purity of Hunter Valley wines to Mount Pleasant Wines.

Here, the very excited Wine Pig is lucky enough to find out what drives one of the region’s most loved winemakers.

I started out in hospitality. The hours and thus lifestyle weren’t for me. However, it was through hospitality, I grew to love wine and the vitality of the folk involved. I was strong at science, yet fancied myself as an artist – winemaking kind of ticks both boxes.

Read more from Jim here.

Meet the Winemaker: Alex Finnie, James Estate

Alex moved to the Upper Hunter Valley in mid-2015 to join the James Estate family, just four short years after his wine career began, and quickly rocketed, at a Port Macquarie winery.

Here, The Wine Pig has been lucky enough to speak to Alex to find out more about his passion for the wine world, and what we can look forward to from James Estate in coming months.

One of the best things about making wine is that every single day presents you with a new challenge and as far as regions go there are few as challenging as the Hunter Valley. I have always been a fan of Hunter Valley wines and how unique the varietals can be from any other region. The Upper Hunter Valley is also a beautiful place filled some very genuine people and is a great place to raise a family.   

Read more from Alex here.

Meet the winemaker: Andrew and Hilary Mitchell, Mitchell Wines

The Mitchell family moved to South Australia’s Clare Valley when the property was a dairy, an orchard and a small patch of vineyard. After being born and growing up on the family vineyard, Andrew left to study wine science in the late 70s, a move which has driven the vineyard’s winemaking philosophies today.

Around 40 or so years later the family operating has welcomed the third generation of Mitchell’s to grow up on the vineyard and it’s this family-orientated ideology which really comes through in in balanced and elegant wine.

And now it is time to hand down some of the responsibility and his 42 years’ of experience to Hilary, who although helping out since she could walk, is now working on her second vintage as Andrew’s apprentice.

This dad and daughter duo share their love and memories of their time in the Clare Valley wine region.

In Clare we can make wines with incredibly intense flavour but still with real elegance. Wines which drink well when young but can age beautifully in the long run. We like to make wines that have a soft, gentle touch. Not “show” wines which grab your attention but complex wines that seduce.

Read more from Andrew and Hilary here.

Meet the GM: Graham Ward, Pokolbin Estate Vineyard

Pokolbin Estate Vineyard in the Hunter Valley prides itself by producing elegant yet powerfully structured wines which are created to improve further over time.

Since 1999, Pokolbin Estate Vineyard has been presented with over 100 Hunter Valley Boutique Wine, NSW Wine and National Wine awards for its Semillion, Riesling, Shiraz, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Nebbiolo and Fortified vintages.

General Manager, Graham Ward, talks to The Wine Pig about the vineyard’s success.

We are the only vineyard in The Hunter Valley to grow & produce the traditional Riesling variety. We serve young, aged, late harvest, autumn harvest and fortified Riesling. Being the only vineyard in the hunter to grow this certainly doesn’t diminish the quality, with our 2011 Riesling winning the Best Riesling in Australia through Winestate.

Read more from Graham here.

Meet the owners: Shane & Jane Goninon, Mountainside Wines

It’s Shane and Jane’s personal touch and attention to detail which has enabled the family-run vineyard – Mountainside Wines – to produce a range of such quality and consistency.

All the wines are made using grapes grown directly on the property, most of which have been picked by hand, and that love and care really shines through in the wine itself.

The Wine Pig was delighted to get the opportunity to speak to the duo to find out what drove them to throw in the towel in their previous lives as city business people, and instead take the plunge into the wine world. 

Most people are surprised about us making such a major change in our lives, leaving corporate life in Melbourne and taking up farming.  Most people are also surprised and pleased to find a family owned and operated vineyard and winery making boutique wine. 

Read more from Shane and Jane here.

Meet the winemaker: Jacob Stein, Robert Stein Winery & Vineyard

Not only does Robert Stein Winery & Vineyard’s chief winemaker Jacob Stein have a wealth of knowledge, passion and the good fortune of being born into the wine industry, he also has a collection of enviable awards under his belt to match – most recently he won the 2012 Gourmet Traveller Young Winemaker of the Year award!

After graduating from University, Jacob spent 5 years away from Mudgee, visiting and working in many wineries including Italy, Canada, Western Australia, Victoria and Germany (where his love for Riesling really took off).

But before long he was enticed back to our beloved Mudgee where he, and the wine, only continues to blossom further. 

Here, The Wine Pig was extremely grateful for the opportunity to speak to the man behind some of Australia’s best wine.

I'm starting up cellaring classic Aussie wines again, after a few year hiatus. Grossett Riesling, Moss Wood Cabernet, Bannockurn and Giacondas - it's expensive now, but I'll be happy in 15 years.

Read more from Jacob here.

Meet the winemaker: Tim Stevens, Huntington Estate

Huntington Estate’s chief winemaker Tim Stevens was rural journalist for The Land, The Australian and ABC Radio, before he took the plunge and switched course to winemaking.

“I got into wine and found I was good at tasting it,” Tim told The Wine Pig. Could there be a better excuse?!

But it’s not just Tim’s love for drinking wine that driven him to where he is today (else all us wine-lovers would be knocking on the doors of the winemaking industry thinking we’ve got what it takes).

Read more from Tim here.

Meet the winemaker: Candice Helbig, CRFT Wines

Married winemakers and co-owners Candice Helbig and Frewin Ries founded CRFT Wines in 2012, turning a lifelong dream into a reality.

Their winemaking philosophy is simple: preserve what the vineyard grew and create balance and harmony, leaving a minimal winemaking footprint.

We’ve been drinking quite a lot of the Kalleske wines from the Barossa Valley. These are stunning wines, so incredibly well made and perfect for aging. Where possible we try to get our hands on single site wines of the varieties we produce for drinking and cellaring. Wines that are well made and reflect terroir/site are what we want to drink.

 Read more from Candice and Frewin here.

Tony and Jill Bryant took over the oldest winery in Mudgee back in 2004 before passing the legacy down to their daughter Trine, and son-in-law Andy.

With a background in agriculture and business management Andy is very hands on with Burnbrae and effective ‘Top Dog’ of the business while Trine not only ensures that the quality of their wine is top notch, but also brings big events together at the picturesque winery to celebrate Burnbrae’s cracking wines.

The duo talk of the philosophy, passed down by Trine’s parents, to always maintain the integrity of each wine while nurturing every vintage to bring out its finest characteristics, and wow, have they smashed it.

Burnbrae’s wines are simply delicious and their brilliant selection ranging from a fruity citrusy Pinot Gris right down to a spicy Shiraz are a standout for the region.

Here, The Wine Pig has been lucky enough to speak to Trine to find out more about the duo’s passion for the wine world.

Why did you decide to become a winemaker?

We didn’t, we have just fallen in love with Burnbrae Wines and have built our knowledge through my dad’s passion and my older brother is the expert of wine in our family. Andy is the knowledge behind the vines, with dad, and finance side, and I am the one that has the passion for marketing and events.  Our family make a great team with everyone being an expert in their own areas. We are very lucky to have a fabulous winemaker, Chris Derez from Orange, that works with us and utilizes my brother’s feedback to turn our fruit into delicious wine.

What attracted you to the Mudgee wine region in particular?

My family has always been in the Mudgee region and when dad purchased Burnbrae Wines in 2004 both Andy and I had a great interest in the business. Andy and I were based in Sydney for many years however we didn’t really want to start a family in the middle of the city so we decided to head west over the mountains in 2011.

I worked with Dad in the business whilst having my own contracting business. Succession planning started to take place and Andy and I saw a little dream in Burnbrae, as Dad did, and we took on the adventure in 2015.

Can you describe your winemaking style, and how it differs to your peers in the region?

I don’t really know how we are unique however our winemaker tries to display the best characters of the fruit. Our winemaker is very good at guiding us through the stages of winemaking and displaying the potential of the aged vines that we have.

Which of your wines are you most proud of and why?

Good questions, we are very proud of most of our wines that are coming to the table. But if you were to ask the question then I would say our sparkling as I am a person who loves the bubbles, and I must mention the Chardonnay. 

Chardonnay is one of my favorites because I love the fact that when you pick up a chardonnay you are just not quite sure what style it may give you. Ours is lightly oaked with French oak which gives it delicious melon and white peach aromas.

For Andy, I would say he loves the Shiraz. This is the wine that it receiving a lot of attention at the moment and winning us loads of accolades such as The Best Mudgee Red in 2015, a silver in the NSW Wine Awards, also a great review from Houn Hooke.

What most surprises people about you or the wines you produce?

That every wine on our tasting bench is delicious, cheeky… maybe, but we do get comments like this rather frequently. We may have to put this out to the public as I am not really sure.

What are you drinking now, and what are you cellaring?

As its rather chilly here in Mudgee I’m loving GSMs or a brilliant Tassie Pinot Noir.

I do admit to not being able to cellar… if I have wine in my house I tend to enjoy it straight away.

If you could only drink one wine for the rest of your life, what would that be?

If I only had to drink one wine for the rest of my life then… I’m out. That’s the great thing about this industry that amazing wines just keep popping up. 

However if I had to choose it would be the amazing champagne Perrier Jouet.

What is the most exciting thing coming up for both you and the business over the next 12 months?

Growth of our business is very exciting for us. Its extremely hard work but we love seeing the improvements and achievements we have accomplished over the past year. The other great thing we look forward too every year is our blacktie@burbrae party, which is a tradition that my Dad started and has carried out every year.  It’s a party which is all about food, wine and loads of fun!

Find out more at: www.burnbraewines.com.au

Mount Pleasant Wines relatively new team member, Jim Chatto, this year became the vineyard’s fourth-ever chief winemaker since Maurice O’Shea established the winery back in 1921.

Joining from just down the road at Pepper Tree Wines, Jim brings with him a number of awards and exceptional passion for the purity of Hunter Valley wines.

Here, the very excited Wine Pig is lucky enough to find out what drives one of the region’s most loved winemakers.

Why did you decide to become a winemaker? 

I started out in hospitality. The hours and thus lifestyle weren’t for me. However, it was through hospitality, I grew to love wine and the vitality of the folk involved. I was strong at science, yet fancied myself as an artist – winemaking kind of ticks both boxes.

What attracted you to the Hunter Valley wine region in particular?

I fell in love with the 1984 Lovedale Semillon tasted at university. I was keen to learn about such a unique style of wine.

Can you describe your winemaking style, and how it differs to your peers in the region? 

I keep it simple, and don’t try to fight nature. Site and season make a great wine. The winemaker is there to guide it through the stages, and ultimately realise potential that was on the vine. I’m not sure this is particularly unique.

Which of your wines are you most proud of and why? 

2014 Mount Pleasant Rosehill Vineyard 1965 Vines’ Shiraz. Possibly the best wine I will ever make.

What most surprises people about you or the wines you produce? 

Might have to ask some ‘people’? Maybe that; I am pretty ‘down to earth’ about what I do and how I approach things; this is reflected in the wines I make.

What are you drinking now, and what are you cellaring? 

It’s still pretty warm in the Hunter. I am mostly drinking fresh young whites and medium bodied reds. I am cellaring everything I can get from the 2014 in the Hunter Valley. It’s a once in a lifetime vintage that is guaranteed to reward cellaring.

If you could only drink one wine for the rest of your life, what would that be? 

1978 DRC La Tache, Oh and Comtes de Champagne from Taittinger :)

What is the most exciting thing coming up for both you and the business over the next 12 months? 

The release of the Mount Pleasant 2014 Reds. Feedback so far from critics and consumers alike has been overwhelming.

READ MORE about Mount Pleasant Wines from The Wine Pig here:

Event highlights: Sydney Cellar Door 2016

Easter Wines: The Wine Pig's hot picks

12 Wines of Christmas

 

Alex moved to the Upper Hunter Valley in mid-2015 to join the James Estate family, just four short years after his wine career began, and quickly rocketed, at a Port Macquarie winery.

With grapes grown in the region and made and bottled onsite, James Estate is a premium Hunter Valley-based winery which spreads over two sites – and a cellar door in the beautiful Pokolbin –  and plantings which date back to 1968.

With a new vibrant winemaker on board and the ongoing revamp of its cellar door and the James Estate Guest House nearby, these are very exciting and innovative times for Alex and the rest of the James Estate gang.

Here, The Wine Pig has been lucky enough to speak to Alex to find out more about his passion for the wine world, and what we can look forward to from James Estate in coming months.

Why did you decide to become a winemaker?

My father worked in the wine trade in the UK and Germany in his youth so I grew up with great stories of the industry and great wine to accompany those stories. I travelled a bit after finishing school and worked in a few different trades while still continuing to have a keen interest in wine. When the opportunity came up for me to work my first vintage I jumped at it and I have been hooked ever since.

What attracted you to the Hunter Valley wine region in particular?

One of the best things about making wine is that every single day presents you with a new challenge and as far as regions go there are few as challenging as the Hunter Valley. I have always been a fan of Hunter Valley wines and how unique the varietals can be from any other region. The Upper Hunter Valley is also a beautiful place filled some very genuine people and is a great place to raise a family.   

Can you describe your winemaking style, and how it differs to your peers in the region?

It is very difficult to say I have a particular style of winemaking, I still consider myself a green horn. I am constantly learning new and innovative techniques from colleagues and peers in the industry. I feel the key to making good wine is being able to recognize how to use and adapt these techniques for each individual wine you produce.       

Which of your wines are you most proud of and why?

This has been my first vintage in the Hunter and also my first in leading the team. I am very happy with the wines we have produced this year and look forward to the first of the 2016 whites hitting the shelves in June and getting feedback. There is a particular batch of Pinot we hand picked, open fermented in oak and basket pressed this year. I seem to find myself at these barrels on a daily basis to taste.  

What are you drinking now, and what are you cellaring?

I’m a bit Semillon obsessed at the moment. It’s a great wine to grab two bottles of, drink one now and cellar one for a few years to see how it rewards.

If you could only drink one wine for the rest of your life, what would that be?

What a terrible world it would be to live in where you were only limited to one wine for the rest of your life!   If it did come down to it though it would have to be our 2013 Reserve Shiraz, Medium bodied with subtle oak it is drinking beautifully right now but will cellar well and develop for many years to come.  

What is the most exciting thing coming up for both you and the business over the next 12 months?

I am very excited to see our wines from this vintage starting to make its way to bottle and on the market. We had a great vintage and some excellent fruit came off the vine. Obviously for me being the one in the driver’s seat for the first time I am very anxious to hear the publics reviews. We will be releasing some exciting new wines including a couple of sparkling wines that the winery has not done for many years.

The Mitchell family moved to South Australia’s Clare Valley when the property was a dairy, an orchard and a small patch of vineyard. After being born and growing up on the family vineyard, Andrew left to study wine science in the late 70s, a move which has driven the vineyard’s winemaking philosophies today.

Around 40 or so years later the family operating has welcomed the third generation of Mitchell’s to grow up on the vineyard and it’s this family-orientated ideology which really comes through in in balanced and elegant wine.

And now it is time to hand down some of the responsibility and his 42 years’ of experience to Hilary, who although helping out since she could walk, is now working on her second vintage as Andrew’s apprentice.

This dad and daughter duo share their love and memories of their time in the Clare Valley wine region.

Why did you decide to become a winemaker?

Andrew: I grew up in Clare and always loved the smells of vintage when the aromas of fermentation wafted from the old Stanley Wine Company through the classrooms of Clare Primary School. After studying science and economics at Adelaide Uni I wanted to establish a business of my own and winemaking just seemed the natural thing to do.

Hilary: When I was younger I never wanted to work in the winery because I had seen how hard Mum and Dad worked! I trained and worked in the fashion industry in Spain for 15 years, and one year came back to Clare for Mum’s Birthday and helped out cleaning some picking bins….it was way more fun! 

What attracted you to the Clare Valley wine region in particular?

Andrew: Born to it.

Hilary: (same answer!)

Can you describe your winemaking style, and how it differs to your peers in the region?

Andrew: In Clare we can make wines with incredibly intense flavour but still with real elegance. Wines which drink well when young but can age beautifully in the long run. We like to make wines that have a soft, gentle touch. Not “show” wines which grab your attention but complex wines that seduce.

Which of your wines are you most proud of and why?

Andrew: they are like children, they are all so different but all have their own unique qualities.

Hilary: I wonder which one I am…? :)

What most surprises people about you or the wines you produce?

Hilary: That we are completely family owned and run, you can come into our cellar door and 9 times out of 10 you will be served by a family member.

What are you drinking now, and what are you cellaring?

Andrew: Right now its a glass of 2015 Watervale Riesling, but I will also be cellaring it with a view to enjoying it at its peak in 10 years or so. But for the long run everyone needs a cellar of old shiraz and cabernet.

Hilary: Drinking now, Semillon. It’s the perfect autumn drink: chilled in the afternoon sun or closer to room temperature on the cooler evening. The Cabernet Sauvignon is released at what we consider to be its “ready to drink” age (current vintage is 2008), but will still keep developing over the decades!

If you could only drink one wine for the rest of your life, what would that be?

Andrew: It would be a painful decision but if it could only be one it would be a cabernet sauvignon of at least 15-20 years of bottle age. The 1998 is just perfect now.

Hilary: For me it’s the cabernet, when I lived abroad, just the smell of this wine would make me homesick. It smells like every good memory.

What is the most exciting thing coming up for both you and the business over the next 12 months?

Andrew: The next vintage. It is always exciting to watch the grapes ripening and to anticipate the potential.

Hilary: Dad letting me make my own mistakes! Getting to play around with the blends and smaller batches that will probably only end up being drunk at our kitchen table!!!

www.mitchellwines.com

Pokolbin Estate Vineyard in the Hunter Valley prides itself by producing elegant yet powerfully structured wines which are created to improve further over time.

Since 1999, Pokolbin Estate Vineyard has been presented with over 100 Hunter Valley Boutique Wine, NSW Wine and National Wine awards for its Semillion, Riesling, Shiraz, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Nebbiolo and Fortified vintages.

Here, General Manager, Graham Ward, talks to The Wine Pig about the vineyard’s success.

You’re based in the Hunter Valley. What's the main attraction of this region? And how does it differ in terms of winemaking and wine styles compared to elsewhere in Australia?

 Well ultimately The Hunter Valley is one of the oldest Boutique wine destination in Australia. Besides that, it has become quite famous for golf, corporate functions & weddings and in the last 10 years a big entertainment destination for concerts. Our wine styles are quite unique to the region with Semillon fruit from the Pokolbin region being classified as the best in the world. Because of the region and climatic conditions the hunter is recognised as producing relatively softer style reds in comparison to the vineyards in SA & WA.

How does Pokolbin Estate Vineyard differs to its peers in the region? What is your point of difference?

Well firstly, we are the only vineyard in The Hunter Valley to grow & produce the traditional Riesling variety. We serve young, aged, late harvest, autumn harvest and fortified Riesling. Being the only vineyard in the hunter to grow this certainly doesn’t diminish the quality, with our 2011 Riesling winning the Best Riesling in Australia through Winestate.

Secondly, since 2006 Pokolbin Estate Vineyard has won the Best Semillon in Australia five times. To win this accolade so many times, one would have to conclude we consistently produce the best Semillon in Australia.

Why are you the only vineyard in the region to produce the traditional Riesling variety? What have you managed to do that others can't?

A couple of things. Our vines are now 60 years old and everything is still done by hand. We implement selective picking, bunch thinning for premium quality and might do 2-3 different pickings in a vintage. Because our vines have developed over time and have been meticulously cared for is a big reason for this. If another vineyard in The Hunter planted Riesling today, it probably wouldn’t produce high quality fruit for 10 years. 

Which of your wines are you most proud of and why?

Our Semillon vintages & our Riesling because of the extraordinary results nationally. Beating the likes of Claire & Eden Valley to the Best Riesling in Australia was certainly a massive achievement.

What most surprises people about Pokolbin Estate Vineyard and your wines?

I think the broad range we have from our Pokolbin & Belebula vineyards. We have wines suitable for all level of wine drinkers. Additionally, we only make wine if it is a good vintage, so we have a high quality of product across all our varieties.

What are you drinking now and what are you cellaring?

Our 2010 & 2011 Ken Bray Semillon are really drinking exceptionally now. For me personally I would be cellaring our 2009 Phil Swannell Semillon & a selection of our 2009, 2011 & 2014 Reserve Shiraz.

It’s the end of a long day. You’re sitting down to your favourite meal and a great wine to go with it – what would that be?

I’m a big fan of Italian cuisine. Who doesn’t like pizza, pasta and risotto? For me, a simple wood fire pizza with a glass of our 2013 Sangiovese wins every time. The light, dry nature of the Sangiovese with the subtle spicy characteristics really compliments pizza well. Match made in heaven…

www.pokolbinestate.com.au

Wednesday, 16 December 2015 04:41

Meet the winemaker: Candice Helbig, CRFT Wines

Married winemakers and co-owners Candice Helbig and Frewin Ries founded CRFT Wines in 2012, turning a lifelong dream into a reality.

Their winemaking philosophy is simple: preserve what the vineyard grew and create balance and harmony, leaving a minimal winemaking footprint.

Sourcing the fruit from seven South-Australian vineyards across Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley and Eden Valley, the duo do an amazing job of championing the diversity of soils and climates across the regions

Candice and Frewin live in Carey Gully in the Adelaide Hills with their two dogs, Angus the Labrador and Cooper the Jack Russell Terrier.

Here Candice shares her wine story and talks to The Wine Pig about her love and passion for all things wine.

Why did you decide to become a winemaker?

I grew up in the Barossa Valley and have been surrounded by the wine industry my entire life. After high school my dad helped me get a job on a bottling line, which eventually evolved into laboratory work, and then on to wine making. I had been intrigued by every aspect of being a winemaker, how exciting and varied the career was and I was inspired by the winemakers around me and what they were creating. 

I then enrolled to do the Bachelor of Applied Science in Wine Science through CSU and haven’t looked back!

What attracted you to the Adelaide Hills wine region in particular?

The beauty of the hills and it’s diversity for making exception quality wines of many styles. It is particularly perfect for growing Pinot Noir and Grüner Veltliner – two varieties Frew and I are incredibly passionate about.

It’s also a very unique climate for growing wines. We get the warm-to-hot days perfect for ripening and flavour development. But our nights are cool-to-very cold, which is perfect for slow ripening and maintaining natural acidity. It’s this quite extreme diurnal temperature variation that makes our region so unique and perfect for premium wine growing.

Can you describe your winemaking style, and how it differs to your peers in the region?

Our winemaking style is all about allowing the wine to evolve and to be itself, allowing the wine to be the focus and for it to be an honest reflection of the site. We don’t want our wines to become a reflection of what happened to them in the winery. Our style is about purity and expression. We want our wines to be lively and harmonious. We’re not aiming to produce a particular ‘style’ of wine, more so we are making the each wine to best reflect the site.

Which of your wines are you most proud of and why?

It’s hard to decide! I think the Pinots are probably our proudest achievement so far. The wines are very distinctive and they continually surprise us with how they develop and age. Pinot changes dramatically as it matures, it’s a very intriguing variety to make.

What most surprises people about CRFT Wines or the wines you produce?

The difference between each wine. People have been genuinely surprised and excited about the individuality of each wine. You know, we can always tell people our story and why we are doing what we do, but when people actually experience our story for themselves through tasting our wines, it is just amazing. People really get it.

What are you drinking now, and what are you cellaring?

We’ve been drinking quite a lot of the Kalleske wines from the Barossa Valley. These are stunning wines, so incredibly well made and perfect for aging. Where possible we try to get our hands on single site wines of the varieties we produce for drinking and cellaring. Wines that are well made and reflect terroir/site are what we want to drink.

It’s the end of a long day. You’re sitting down to your favourite meal and a great wine to go with it – what would that be?

It’d have to be an Austrian Grüner Veltliner from Domäne Wachau (any one of their nine Grüners will do!).

What is the most exciting thing coming up for both you and the business over the next 12 months?

We are in the process of setting up our own small winery which is very exciting and a dream come true for us both. Our other big news is we will be making another two single site Pinot Noirs in 2016. This will bring our range to five single vineyard Pinot Noirs!

http://www.crftwines.com.au/

Viticulturist Adam Jacobs, alongside his business partner, orthopedic surgeon and vineyard owner Darren Waters, started the McLaren Vale vineyard back in 2005, with the sole goal in mind to produce the best wines possible. 

Viticulturist Adam Jacobs, alongside his business partner, orthopedic surgeon and vineyard owner Darren Waters, started the McLaren Vale vineyard back in 2005, with the sole goal in mind to produce the best wines possible.

The talented team of Doc Adams Wines, led by Adam, is dedicated to showcasing the best of McLaren Vale grape growing and winemaking, with a wonderful result.

Why did you decide to become a winemaker?  

My first vintage was 1995 in McLaren Vale, South Australia. A cracking harvest and the wines were big and robust.

What attracted you to the McLaren Vale wine region in particular?   

I loved the ocean nearby as that has a factor in growing premium wine grapes. I knew the quality would be consistent year to year and that took the risk away. The maritime temperatures see acidity retained at night a key for quality grapes and wine.

Can you describe your winemaking style, and how it differs to your peers in the region?

I build my best wines from grapes at one end of McLaren Vale to the other. There is a difference of three weeks in harvesting and ripening and this shows in the wines from the colour to alcohol and to richness.

Which of your wines are you most proud of and why?  

The 2013 GSM because it has won two gold and two silver medals in significant Australia wine shows and James Halliday 95/100. I love this style of wine. The 2010 shiraz is a favourite also taking out a trophy and gold and silver also.

What most surprises people about Doc Adams Wines or the wines you produce?   

We are loyal to our philosophy and fun to be around. A days work is easy for us as we all enjoy one another's company. We all strive to achieve the best wines and we have no bosses in the company.

What are you drinking now, and what are you cellaring?  

I’m drinking our 2013 GSM and cellaring the 2012 Shiraz.

It’s the end of a long day. You’re sitting down to your favourite meal and a great wine to go with it – what would that be?  

Probably our first wine we produced – the 2005 Shiraz.

What is the most exciting thing coming up for both you and the business over the next 12 months?

I would say our 15 wines, which have a new oak regime. I’ve been trialing this for a couple of years now, wait and see...

www.docadamswines.com.au

Also read more from The Wine Pig about Doc Adams Wines here.

Brad Rey, Canadian at large and director of Zonte’s Footstep in the McLaren Vale, proudly talks to The Wine Pig about his views on wine.

 

 

 

Brad Rey, Canadian at large and director of Zonte’s Footstep in the McLaren Vale, proudly talks to The Wine Pig about his views on wine.

Why did you decide to become a winemaker?

I worked in one of the first private wine shops in Calgary and got a chance to try a bottle of Chateau Nuef du Pape from King Goerge the V wine cellar (it was in a cellar of a magistrate that passed away and there were three bottles so they needed it praised). 

Anyhow, well and truly past its apogee, but after we spat it out… there was a glimmer of distinct, dried Grenache… and I thought, “how amazing that something so old could still amaze someone”. 

And that was it, I wanted to enrich people with a wine experience.

What attracted you to the McLaren Vale wine region in particular? 

I was brought back to McLaren vale by the late Greg Trott and worked at Wirra Wirra vineyards. The region not only offers outstanding viticultural conditions but is a mecca for foodies, everyone I know is passionate about everything to do with food and drink.

Can you describe your winemaking style, and how it differs to your peers in the region? 

My wine style… I take a lot from those I have worked with. I have three rules taught to me my mentors:

1.  Produce wines that represent the fruit we grow and the piece of dirt it grows in (really that’s the only thing we have done different).

2. Make sure the wine you bottle brings a smile to your consumers face. 

3. When they pay for the wine… the smile needs to still be there.

Which of your wines are you most proud of and why? 

All of the above actually, although I forgot one rule: Never bottle a wine you are not proud of. Simply put, if it doesn’t scratch up, it doesn’t go to bottle.

What most surprises people about Zonte's Footstep or the wines you produce? 

I think most of the time, is the purity of the fruit. We don’t make overly complex wines, but ones that draw you in and make you go ‘wow, that’s bloody good’.

What are you drinking now, and what are you cellaring? 

Currently, quite a few Pinot Noirs (I just bought a Pinot vineyard) and also heaps of Riesling… I love Australian Riesling, the perfect all-rounder!

It’s the end of a long day. You’re sitting down to your favourite meal and a great wine to go with it – what would that be? 

Heck, that’s hard… I would have to say a well- priced Chablis or St Veran, if not that, then a Riesling!

What is the most exciting thing coming up for both you and the business over the next 12 months?

There is always something exciting, we just bottled our first Prosecco, and this year we are going to dabble with a bit of Nero d’ Avola. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I love wines from the Mediterranean countries too.

www.zontesfootstep.com.au

*Read more about Zonte’s Footstep by The Wine Pig here.

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