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

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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