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Welcome to the Artisans of Barossa blog where we bring you news and events from Artisans of Barossa, Vino Lokal and the Barossa region.



Howard Duncan
7 February 2018 | Howard Duncan

Winemaker in the House - John Duval Wines

I’m of the belief that John Duval has never once acted on impulse – certainly not when it comes to making wine. Quiet consideration, patience and a commitment to doing things ‘just right’ are engrained in his DNA. His humility, gentlemanly demeanour and ‘think then act’ approach hugely admirable.
Perhaps ‘hasten slowly’ is John’s motto when it comes to the headlong rush of a Barossa vintage? At a time when plans can dissolve in an instant as the vagaries of weather toss up cruel and unkind curve balls, I doubt John’s pulse rate moves a blip. Cool as a cucumber. Seen it all before. (With something like 45 vintages under his belt, I suspect ‘JD’ has.) Therefore, with patience and particular consideration for timing the essence of the Duval way, it should come as no surprise that on the cusp of the 15th anniversary of their foundation vintage, they add just a sixth wine to the range. (Plexus was first (’03), followed by Entity (’04) and Eligo (’05) in quick succession before a short hiatus leading to the release of Plexus White (’10) and Annexus Grenache(’13).) This Saturday marks the release at Artisans of the first vintage of Annexus Mataro from the stellar 2016 vintage, and this is what John had to say about the new wine.
“I’ve got a lot of time for Mataro, it’s a critical element of Plexus and a grape variety that deserves to be celebrated by Barossa winemakers. We’ve sourced fruit from this dry grown 100 year old vineyard at Light Pass for all the years we’ve produced Plexus - and with 2016 being such a great vintage the time was right to release a small quantity of Mataro under the Annexus label. We’re very happy with the first release wine - it shows plenty of classic savoury spiced fruit on the nose and powerful, yet restrained black fruit flavours on the palate, supported by ample, long flowing waves of tannin. It sits very comfortable amongst our small family of wines. Will we make an Annexus Mataro every year? I think the answer to that is entirely dependent on the qualities of future vintages.” (That Duval ‘quiet consideration’ at play again!)
Also this weekend, the new vintage of Eligo will be released at Artisans of Barossa - the 2015 vintage. John’s aim with Eligo is to produce a structured but elegant expression of Barossa Shiraz - a wine with restrained power, rich texture and palate length in the classic John Duval Wines mould. From a master winemaker with access to exceptional and rare Barossa vineyards, the release of the 2015 Eligo will be one of the highlights of 2018 at Artisans.
John and Tim Duval will be our Winemakers in the House this weekend at Artisans, from 12-4pm both Saturday and Sunday presenting these two brilliant new release wines along with the rest of their family of wines that has been carefully framed over the past 15 years. Not to be missed!

Time Posted: 07/02/2018 at 8:15 PM
Howard Duncan
1 February 2018 | Howard Duncan

Winemaker in the House - Hobbs of Barossa Ranges

This week at Artisans we resume our Winemaker in the House program with Greg and Allison Hobbs from ‘Hobbs of the Barossa Ranges’. Greg and Allison will be in the House on Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 4pm and you’re invited to head to Artisans to taste their brilliant Eden Valley wines and meet two people who are utterly consumed with their vineyards and their wines. Not to be missed!

I have a confession...I can't get enough of hearing their Barossa wine story, because it's just so bloody good. Whilst many of us have dreamed of a vine change, Alli and Greg have made theirs reality...and with very good form to boot. And if their story was to become a book, the synopsis of the story so far would probably read something like this;

Chapter 1

Non wine drinking copper meets wine drinking nurse. They fall in love (aaaw), the non wine drinking copper becomes a wine drinking copper and together with his wine drinking nurse girlfriend they begin their wine journey with weekends spent exploring South Australia's wine regions tasting, buying and accumulating an impressive cellar. (Good start!)

Chapter 2

Moving married with 3 kids, life in the big smoke begins to lose its allure for our wine drinking dynamic duo. A desire to find a new life in the country combined with the urge to take a really big step in their wine journey leads them to buy a home in the Eden Valley which pure chance (wink-wink) surrounded by a century old, but 'seen better days', vineyard.

Chapter 3

Time to meet the neighbour...who quite fortuitously happens to be Chris Ringland who knows a thing or two about old Barossa vineyards and making wine. Exchanges of information about grape growing and wine making, swaps of vineyard equipment and the occasional passing over the figurative back fence of the odd decent scone (produced by Alli, with the assistance of the Angaston baker) are the rights of passage that build neighbourhoods in these parts. Fi and Col Shepherd of Flaxman Wines will move into the 'hood soon after.

Chapter 4

Business Plan 'A' is formulated - fix vineyard, grow grapes, sell grapes. This is replaced at some stage later by Business Plan 'B' - realise grapes are too bloody good to sell, so grow grapes, make wine! Business Plan 'C' is a pragmatic response to Business Plan B - 'make wine, drink some wine, and sell wine after allowance for 'ullages' caused by now adult kids coming up to see mum and dad on the weekends. There's also an exciting foray into Artisans of Barossa with 6 good winemaking mates.

There are two things that are plainly obvious when you talk to Greg and Alli about their vineyard and their wine. First and foremost, they love what they do...and believe me, their's is not the romanticised version of winery ownership. These people work exceptionally hard, but they do so because everything they do on behalf of their wine brings them enormous joy. You can see that in their smiles and in their eyes. They also love being an Artisan and the camaraderie they feel through the connection to other winemakers who share a common approach to wine...they do it because they love it, and for no other purpose. The other thing you sense from the Hobbs' is the pride they take in their wine. An outsider observing how they work in their vineyard, how they make their wine, how they package their wine would jump quickly to the conclusion that "there has to be an easier way". But that's not how Greg and Alli see their world.

They never look for an easier way to do anything, they only look for a better way. And in the quest to make these wines that they can be justifiably proud of, that 'better way' inevitably implies 'the hard way'!

The connection the Hobbs’ have to their vineyard is like few others. They look over it every morning when they wake up, they pass through it every morning taking the dog for a walk, they work in their vineyard every day…and each evening they enjoy a glass of wine from the fruit they’ve grown from the vines that surround them. Beautiful place, beautiful people…magnificent, richly flavoured wines that reflect the hard work and love that goes into making them.

The 'Hobbsies' have just released the first vintage of their Tin Lids Shiraz Cabernet - an Eden Valley expression of the classic Australian red blend, bringing together Shiraz from their vineyard at Flaxman Valley and Cabernet Sauvignon from Phil and Sarah Lehmann’s Boongarie Estate on the Keyneton to Eden Valley Road. (We’re a close knit bunch – Phil and Sarah were ‘in the House’ just a few weeks back.) It's big on flavour and oozing class. We’ll have that on tasting alongside the first vintage of the Tin Lids Aria Secca Shiraz. ‘Aria Secca’ is an Italian term, meaning ‘air dried', and refers to the 7-10 days the harvested grapes lie on drying racks at the winery to further concentrate the flavours of Shiraz from a 100+ year old vineyard. And I’m sure corks will be eased from bottles of the monumental 1905 and Gregor Shiraz….exceptional, rare Barossa wines of particular provenance – grown, harvested and made by Greg and Allison Hobbs

As good a reason as any to stick your head in the door this week at Artisans.

Cheers, Howard

Time Posted: 01/02/2018 at 7:18 PM
Howard Duncan
24 January 2018 | Howard Duncan

What's on this Australia Day weekend at Artisans

The winemakers get a rest from the house this weekend with the annual grape squashing festival around the corner (possibly next week). We'll let them put their feet up for what will be the last time in many weeks of very long days. But don't let the absence of winemakers in the house take the shine off a visit to Artisans this long weekend... because we're launching something very, very special!

January 26 is a day in the Australian calendar that represents many things to many people. For plenty of folk it’s the day to simply celebrate what it is to ‘be Australian’. And there’s good reason to celebrate as a nation, because the big brown land is indeed a wondrous place. But it’s also the day that marks the landing of the First Fleet in 1788, and the notion of celebrating on this day is one the First Australians (and increasingly many others) find painful and offensive. Hopefully this current escalation of conversations, public discussions and debate (much like that accompanying the same sex marriage plebiscite) will enable broader awareness of the cause for malcontent, greater consideration for what Australia Day should signify and ultimately collective agreement on a date that Australians can celebrate as one. Let’s see how it all unfolds.

Captain Phillip - Australia's first vigneron, vintage 1788. (Pic courtesy of

This Australia Day weekend at Artisans, we’re celebrating the 230th anniversary of something else that happened on the 26th January. A moment in this land’s history that should be rejoiced by lovers of Australian wine across the globe. For this day represents the arrival of vine cuttings into Australia, courtesy of Captain Arthur Phillip’s First Fleet. On the way down under, and with instructions from ‘Mad’ King George, Arthur Phillip collected vine cuttings from Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town to establish vineyards at Sydney Cove. The first vines hit the dirt in what is now the Sydney Botanical Gardens, before finding a more agreeable home at Parramatta by 1791. (It wasn’t until 1817 that John MacArthur is gazetted as the person to import the first Shiraz cuttings to plant at his property ‘Camden’, often credited as the birthplace of Australian farming.) Cuttings from Camden were sent to Barossa in the late 1830’s… and we all know what happened next!

George Blaxland, amongst the first Europeans to find a way west through the Blue Mountains was also in on the wine game early, and James Busby lit a fire under the whole show when he landed 570 cuttings of almost every known grape variety in Sydney in 1833. (Busby kept sailing and landed in New Zealand, where he planted the first vineyard and drafted the Declaration of Independence to stop the French laying claim to the world’s greatest rugby team. He also drafted the Treaty of Waitangi, written in both English and Maori, recognising native title and acknowledged as the foundation document of New Zealand. Waitangi Day is on February 6 and is New Zealand’s national day, commemorating the signing of that treaty. Pity he didn’t stay in Sydney a bit longer!

Those First Fleet vines were the catalyst for what has become one of the most exciting (if not the most exciting) wine producing nation on earth. What is remarkable is we know the precise date that wine came to Australia… a knowledge of ‘inception’ shared only with South Africa. But perhaps what is truly prescient of Australia’s future thirst for wine was that ‘plant the vines’ was at the very top of the list of ‘jobs to do’ when Arthur Phillip set foot on the beach!

To celebrate this great moment in this nation’s wine history, we’ll be putting our best foot forward with a tasting of our absolute finest Shiraz… the grape variety that John MacArthur bought to Australia in 1817 that went on to define Australia as a great wine making nation on the world stage. We’ll have a rare presentation of Autumnus and Romulus from Sons of Eden, John Duval’s Eligo, Hobbs Gregor, Schwarz’ Schiller and Spinifex’s La Maline on tasting all through the long weekend for just $15. When you consider the rare provenance and extreme pedigree of these wines, and their collective retail value of nigh on $900 (and maybe the cost of a glass of house wine in a fancy bar), that’s small change.

Come on up to Artisans this Australia Day weekend and commemorate the birth of a winemaking nation! January 26 - Australian Wine Day - you heard it first at Artisans!



Thanks to John McArthur for bringing Shiraz to Australia... and also sheep, thus creating the nation's greatest food and wine match! (Thanks to the for the pic)

Time Posted: 24/01/2018 at 4:14 PM
Annemaree Clementson
4 December 2017 | Annemaree Clementson

The Grenache Project


The Grenache Project

Along with Shiraz and Mataro, Grenache has been a stand out feature on the Barossa’s red wine landscape since vines were first planted here over 170 years ago. Barossa today lays claim to be home to the oldest continually produsing Grenache vineyards in the world, and produces a diverse range of compelling expressions of a variety that is rapidly emerging a favourite amongst the region’s artisan winemaker community.

In the last few months, the faith of the Barossa wine community in its old Grenache vineyards has been rewarded spectacularly. Bethany Wines’ 2016 Grenache was awarded Best Red and Best Wine at the Barossa Wine Show, and Turkey Flat’s 2016 Barossa Grenache won Australia’s most famous wine award, the Jimmy Watson Trophy (a first for a Grenache wine). Barossa Grenache’s light has never shone more brightly.

The Grenache Project is an exciting new initiative from Artisans of Barossa, representing six wines made by our six winemakers from a single Barossa vineyard. Each winemaker was allocated two rows of vines, and left entirely to their own devices. Responding to a simple brief…’Make a Grenache you'd like to drink’, the Project has produced a set of wines that are testament to the outstanding vintage and an emphatic statement of the supreme qualities and deliciousness of Barossa Grenache. And whilst the character of the vineyard is evident throughout, each wine stands apart from the others, bearing the distinct imprint of the maker through style, character and flavour. For adventurous discovers of small batch Barossa winemaking, The Grenache Project is not to be missed.

What we’re doing with The Grenache Project is really bloody important. It’s symbolic of the commitment of artisan winemakers and growers to exhibit the best of their craft and showcase the best expressions of the region’s ancient soils with a variety so deeply rooted in our viticultural heritage and so clearly suited to this place. The growing profile of Barossa Grenache is to me a sign of the maturing of a new generation of winemakers and wine drinkers. They respect the landscape and what it’s best able to produce, rather than imposing the will of the market upon it to yield the latest fashionable variety. By doing our best to make delicious wine, we hope to nurture new audiences for these brilliant heritage varieties.” Pete Schell

To purchase your 2017 Grenache Project please visit our online wine store

Each pack contains a single bottle of each plus an exclusive storybook detailing the story behind the Project and each wine.

Price is $250 per pack plus $10 delivery.


Time Posted: 04/12/2017 at 2:17 PM
Howard Duncan
18 August 2017 | Howard Duncan

This week at Artisans - 17 August 2017

I'm talking to Tim Duval about growing up in the Barossa Valley in a wine family, about life as a lawyer and about working with Dad in the family business - John Duval Wines.

You can't be anything but green with envy when Tim Duval starts talking about his introduction to wine at the Duval dinner table at a time when Dad was chief winemaker at Penfolds. (That's him in the picture above, front right next to Max Schubert.) Whilst he's quick to state Grange was not served every night ("Koonunga Hill was probably my true wine training wheels"), there's no doubt Tim Duval was developing a commanding appreciation and deep understanding of Australia's most famous wine at an age most of us were drinking Tang and Cottee's Cordial with our Wednesday night bangers and mash. But Tim's early memories of wine extend far beyond the regular privilege of enjoying Penfold's best.

"Growing up in the Barossa with dad working as a winemaker, wine was on the table every night of the week. There was a really healthy attitude to wine, it was part of a meal and central to the dinner table conversation. Wine was part of our everyday life and inevitably the network of Barossa mates I developed through my childhood each too had their own close connection to wine through a parent's involvement with a winery or a vineyard. It was only when I moved to Adelaide to study that it became apparent that not all family lives revolved around Shiraz, Grenache and Mataro, vintage, ferments, yields and vineyards.

My first hands on experience with wine came around the age of 17 working in vineyards along the western ridge training young vines to the trellis wire. A full day out in 40 degree heat gave me new found respect for the hard work that is grape growing, and equally the importance of a good piece of also helped fund my early years studying law in Adelaide. All through my uni days, I stayed closely connected to wine working in some of Adelaide's best independent retailers. That experience opened my eyes to a much bigger wine world, and on weekends I'd head home to the Barossa with a few new discoveries to share and talk about with dad. With a year to go in my law degree, I took a break and headed to the Yarra Valley to work under Tom Carson at Yering Station. At that point, I knew working in the wine business was my ultimate destiny."

Tim and I get to the question what it's like working with your dad, and how John Duval, 26 years winemaker at Penfolds, welcomes Tim Duval, 7 years a practicing lawyer, into the family wine business.

"With 32 years age between us, there was never any doubt I'd bring a different perspective on wine to the business. I have enormous respect for what Dad has achieved in wine and in business....not only during his time at Penfolds, but for what he's done to get John Duval Wines to where it is today. I enjoy working with him, which is obviously important in a small business when it just him and I and Sally our Finance Manager in the office!  He's very supportive, and his incredible knowledge of winemaking and relationships with the owners of great Barossa vineyards are the pillars upon which our family business is built.  That won't change...and ultimately it will become dad's eternal legacy to John Duval Wines. Working alongside him in the business now affords me the opportunity to learn as much as I can from him....and I'm fairly sure he respects the value of having an ex lawyer around the place!

Shiraz and our family name's connection with Grange is a big part of our identity wherever we travel in the world - that's undeniable. But with each discovery of a great Barossa vineyard site comes an opportunity to write a new page in the story of John Duval Wines. Watch out for the first vintage releases of a single vineyard Mataro and Cabernet Sauvignon which will be released later this year. Of our current releases, our Annexus Grenache is the wine that excites me most. Barossa Grenache should be celebrated and promoted to the world - it's an incredible resource we have and when you discover the right site with the right clone, you can make wonderful, savoury wines with incredible depth of flavour. The 2015 vintage is almost sold out and 2016 is in bottle ready for release in December...a brilliant vintage for Barossa Valley Grenache."

Whilst John's winemaking career and Tim's childhood have been influenced by their respective experiences with Australia's most famous winery, it's clear this father/ son team is charting a future for their family business based not on the past, but on their faith in the Barossa as one of the world's great wine regions. To them, where their wine comes from and how it's made remains paramount to ensuring the standing of John Duval Wines as one of this region's most respected family winemakers.

It's rare a day goes by that Tim and/ or John is not sighted somewhere around our Artisans home in Vine there's a very good chance you'll bump into them this week at Artisans.

Time Posted: 18/08/2017 at 10:03 AM
Sal Johnson
13 February 2017 | Sal Johnson

Winemaker of the Month - Hobbs of Barossa Ranges


Winemaker of the Month - Hobbs of Barossa Ranges

The Hobbs name is relatively new to the Australian wine landscape. Greg and Allison Hobbs' postage stamp sized vineyard in the upper reaches of the Barossa Ranges is anything but, with Shiraz vines dating back to 1905. The Hobbs family moved to the historic 15 acre vineyard in 1995. In 1998 30 dozen bottles of "house wine" was made for the family and Hobbs of Barossa Ranges was born. Greg and Allison collaborate with winemakers Peter Schell and Chris Ringland to create their wines, spearheaded by a powerful trio of old vine Barossa Shiraz. "Our philosophy is to nurture rather than interfere with nature. Even in bad years, this block produces good fruit. Maybe it is simply being stubborn in old age, refusing to bend to the whims of nature".


10 questions with Allison Hobbs

What is the oldest vineyard that you make wine from?

The beautiful 110 year old vineyard on our property in Flaxmans Valley, which is in the high hills of the Eden Valley.

What is your fvourite part of vintage?

The last day of picking!

What would you do if you weren't in the wine industry?

Working as a registered nurse.

What do you love about your job and why?

I love my office out in the vineyard, my wonderful team (Greg) and being the boss (in a mostly equal partnership with Greg...)

What grape variety or style excites you?

Viognier. It's a temperamental and unpredictable grape to grow, but it makes a beautiful full bodied wine with layers and layers of flavour. Every vintage is different.

What are your top 5 tips for people visiting the Barossa?

 - Stay in one of the Barossa's B&B's rather than a hotel.

 - Breakfast burgers at the Farmers Market on Saturday morning

 - Casa Carboni for coffee and cake, lunch or drinks on a friday evening.

 - Artisans of Barossa for a fabulous wine tasting and lunch, or a drink on the deck on a friday evening

 - Hamburgers at Appelation on a summer evening under the stars

What was the first wine you drank?

Lindeman's Ben Ean Moselle, you will have to guess which year!

What (and when) was the first wine you made and what did it teach you?

1998 Old Vine Shiraz from our own vines. It taught me to choose only the finest quality and let the grapes be the hero.

What is it that makes the Barossa home for you?

Sitting at home on the verandah, overlooking Flaxmans Valley with Greg and the family sharing wine and something delicious from the Farmers Market.

How many vintages have you completed?



10 questions with Greg Hobbs

What are the three most memorable wines you have tasted?

Billecarte Salmon Nicholas Francois, Kracher Icewine and the 1945 Haut Brion.

What is the oldest vineyard you make wine from?

The 1905 Shiraz vineyard on our property.

What is your favourite part of vintage?

The first Shiraz pick of the 1905 block

What would you do if you weren't in the wine industry?

I would still be working in the Police Force in the STAR Group.

What do you love about your job and why?

Working with my wonderful wife Allison every day.

What are your top five tips for people visiting the Barossa?

Taste, Eaat, Drink, Laugh and enjoy one of the top ten wine regions of the world.

What was the first wine you drank?

Mateus Rose.

What is your favourtie meal?

Seafood Laksa

What (and when) was the first wine you made and what did it teach you?

1998 Old Vine Shiraz. It taught me that I know notheing and have everyhing to learn, and I still have a great deal more to learn.

What is it that makes the Barossa home for you?

The Barossa Ranges, our home and vineyard.



Time Posted: 13/02/2017 at 10:57 PM
Sal Johnson
9 December 2016 | Sal Johnson

10 questions with Tim Duval


This year saw the next generation of Duvals join the John Duval Wines family. After a 7 year stint working as a commercial Lawyer specialising in Wine, Agribusiness and Hospitality, Tim joined the family firm in January this year just in time for vintage madness.

10 questions – Tim Duval

What are the three most memorable wines you have tasted?

- While I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time, drinking Cristal as a 17 year old on site at Champagne House Louis Roederer

- Sharing a great bottle of 1986 Grange with family – a birth year bottle for my brother and one of JD’s favourite Grange’s

- Trying Seppelt 100 year old Para Tawny for the first time

What is your favourite part of vintage?

- the first cold beer at the end of a long day is pretty good.. following wines through fermentation and seeing the reflection of the vintage conditions and of the site is a highlight.

What was your first job?

 - working some long, hot, Barossa summers training vines.

What would you do if you weren’t in the wine industry?

- I would probably still be a commercial lawyer, having 7 years as a lawyer under my belt before I joined John Duval Wines. Having said that, my practise as a lawyer still centered around the wine, agribusiness and hospitality industries, so I always had a connection with wine.

What grape variety or style excites you?

- I’m most excited about Grenache at the moment. The Barossa is undergoing a Grenache renaissance, with more serious attention being given to Grenache. And why wouldn’t we, having access to some of the oldest Grenache vines in the world.

What are your top three desert island wines?

- Start with Krug, throw in a 1973 Leo Buring Eden Valley Riesling and finish with some 1978 Conterno Monfortino Barolo.

What are your top 5 tips for people visiting the Barossa?

- Take your time to explore – don’t try and do too many wineries in one day

- check out historic Seppeltsfield, try your birth year tawny and eat at Fino.

- Take a walk in the Kaiserstuhl Conservation park

- Visit Hutton Vale Farm – great history, produce and people

- And, of course, spend a lazy afternoon tasting and grazing at Artisans of Barossa.

What was the first wine you drank?

- I was practically weaned on Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet..

What is your role at John Duval Wines and what does it entail?

- I work across a wide range of areas within John Duval Wines. During vintage I am out in the vineyards and in the winery with John. Following vintage, we are on the road or on a plane visiting key markets and connections. I also co-ordinate our labelling, bottling and packaging along with other commercial activities.

The great Bakery question – Apex or Linke’s?

- Apex – I’m a Tanunda boy through and through.

Time Posted: 09/12/2016 at 2:46 PM
Sal Johnson
5 December 2016 | Sal Johnson

Winemaker of the Month - John Duval

Winemaker of the month - John Duval of John Duval Wines

With over 40 vintages under his belt here in the Barossa and winemaking across three continents, what JD doesn't know about making wine - and in particular Shiraz, isn't worth knowing. After a career defining stint as chief Winemaker at Penfolds, John stepped out on his own in 2003 and developed his own label, finally geting his name on the label! I recently caught up with John for a vintage update in one of his top Eden Valley Shiraz vineyards and squeezed in the following 10 questions.

What are the three most memorable wines you have tasted?

 - 1966 Penfolds Bin 620 Coonawarra Cabernet Coonawarra Shiraz – tasted while studying at Roseworthy and influenced me to want to work for Penfolds

- 1948 Penfolds Kalimna Cabernet – a bottle that was given to me while I was at Penfolds and the oldest Penfolds table red wine that I have tasted and a wine that Penfolds didn’t even have a bottle of in their own museum.

- Seppelt Para 1878 Tawny (First vintage of 100 year old Para) remarkable in its concentration and complexity – Barossa at it’s best, unique and world class.

What is the oldest vineyard that you make wine from?

 - 1858 Grenache in the Stonegarden Vineyard in Eden Valley

What is your favourite part of vintage?

- Watching the transformation of fruit during fermentation from some of our best vineyards into wine.

What do you love about your job and why?

- It’s different every day, no two days are the same and it involves a mix of the art and science of wine, it’s a great opportunity to experience great food and cities around the world.

What grape variety or style excites you?

- Shiraz – I am lucky enough to make wines from Shiraz across three continents!

What are your top five tips for people visiting the Barossa?

- try hot air balloon, it gives you that other perspective of the Barossa

- enjoy some Apex bakery pasties, the unique wood fired oven’s pasties are to die for;

- visit in spring time; the new season; the green of the new vineyard growth, excellent weather, pretty Barossa – at it’s best

- Stay in the Barossa for at least a night, there is much more to do and see than just a day trip

- Visit the Barossa Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning from 7.30am

What was the first wine you drank?

-My grandfather worked for Reynella Wine, so I can remember as a young child being poured a little glass of port and lemonade – quite the treat.

What (and when) was the first wine you made and what did it teach you?

 - The first wine I made (employed as a winemaker) was in 1974 which was my first vintage at Penfolds. It was a wet, difficult year that reinforced the basics of winemaking.

What is it that makes the Barossa home for you?

- It’s the place that I bought up my family. It’s an easy comfortable way of life, full of good food, wine and people.

How many vintages have you completed?

43 Barossa Vintages, with 14 vintages in the US as part of the joint venture with Longshadows in Washington and 13 in Chile with Vina Ventisquera (can I claim 70?)

Time Posted: 05/12/2016 at 1:30 PM
Sal Johnson
14 November 2016 | Sal Johnson

Winemaker of the Month - Jaysen Collins from Massena

Winemaker of the Month - Jaysen Collins from Massena

A quick chat with Jayse over a glass of Saperavi and a plate of Ribs and I am all caught up on the happenings at Massena including some exciting new releases. This year has seen Jayse take a quick trip to the States for vintage with Forlorn Hope winery and two new products come into the line-up under the JC's Own label. For years Jayse has been setting aside small parcels of fruit and playing around with winemaking techniques to enure that the Massena wines are constantly evolving. Some stellar Grenache from 2015 that was just too good to blend away is the first (of many to come) wine to be released. Adding another string to his bow this year Jaysen has produced a Wermut (aka Vermouth), using Marsanne as the base and then infused with wormwood, juniper, rosehips, lemon peel and a raft of other delicious botanicals, its a beatifully crafted gem.

What is the oldest vineyard that you make wine from? - 150 year old bush vine Grenache in the Barossa foothills near Angaston that goes into my JC’s Own Originale.

What is your favourite part of vintage? - Looking at each vineyard and batch that comes in and deciding on the spot what to do with it.

What was your very first job? - Disbudding roses at a local glasshouse that is long gone.

What would you do if you weren’t in the wine industry? - I’d have a well paying, secure job in finance somewhere, probably more financial success but maybe not so happy.

What do you love about your job and why?- Everyday is different and you get exposed to the whole spectrum of the trials and tribulations of small business, but mostly it is that I can wear casual clothes every day.

What are your top five tips for people visiting the Barossa? 

- Have a bacon challenge – Schulz’s vs Linke’s and see who wins.

- Visit Artisans, grab a glass of Massena Surly Muse Viognier Marsanne and a serve of Harvest Kitchen’s fried chicken.

- Eat at Vintners Bar and Grill in Angaston, a truly iconic regional restaurant.

- Play a round of golf at Tanunda Pines

- Go for a walk in the Kaiser Stuhl National Park

What was the first wine you drank?- Mateus Rose with my folks as a well under age drinker

What (and when) was the first wine you made and what did it teach you? - I started making wine in 2000 from a vineyard that promised a lot but delivered very little. I quickly taught me the importance of the vineyard in making good wine.

What are your top three desert island wines

- Domaine Tempier Rose

- Forlorn Hope Ribolla Gialla

- Etna Erse Bianco

How many vintages have you completed? - 20 - Every Southern hemisphere vintage since 1999 plus 2 northern hemisphere vintages at Forlorn Hope in Califonia

Time Posted: 14/11/2016 at 9:44 AM
Sal Johnson
10 October 2016 | Sal Johnson

Winemaker of the Month - Schwarz Wine Co


Winemaker of the Month - Jason Schwarz from Schwarz Wine Co.
The Schwarz family has been farming in the Barossa for the last five generations and have a long connection to the land. Both Jason's Father and Grandfather were state Pruning Champions and despite growing and pruning grapes for generations, Jason is the first in his family to make wine. Jason sources fruit from family owned vineyards around the Bethany sub-region of the Barossa Valley as well as Stonewall, Stockwell, Light Pass, Eden Valley and Vine Vale. The wines are a true expression of place.

I recently caught up for a chat with Jas in the Nitschke Block vineyard (above) and he was telling me about how the family have a long connection to the Bethany region, sure enough just up the road in the Bethany Pioneer Cemetery are the headstones of the first Schwarzs to arrive in the Barossa. Now that’s local.

10 questions with Jason Schwarz.

What are the three most memorable wines you have tasted? - An old mid 80’s Peter Lehmann Stonewall Shiraz, Henschke Mount Edelstone Shiraz and the wine I drank last night.

What is the oldest vineyard you source fruit from? - The 1881 Schiller vineyard at Hallett’s Valley, planted by Carl August Otto Schiller 130 years ago and still in the Schiller family to this day.

What was your very first job? - Cutting Apricots for drying on the family orchard at Bethany.

What do you love about your job and why? - Creating a unique product from grapes grown by family and friends that you then get to see people enjoy.

What grape variety or style excites you? - Funky Grenache – in particular Old Vine Grenache like the fruit we source from the Thiele Road vineyard in Bethany.

What are your top 5 tips for people visiting the Barossa?

Stay longer – there is plenty to see and do in the Barossa.                                                                                        

Listen to the local’s recommendations – especially when it comes to which wineries to visit.                                                

Drink a bottle of wine at windy point – grab a bottle and head up Rifle Range Rd at Krondorf and watch the sunset.      

Hire a driver – that way everyone gets to enjoy the experience.                                                                                        

Visit the unknown – head off the beaten track and visit the lesser known wineries, who knows you might find a new  favourite.

What was the first wine you drank? - Riesling and lemonade with my dad at the Leo Buring weighbridge when delivering grapes during vintage in the 70’s.

What and when was the first wine you made and what did it teach you? - Four Flags Grenache in 1997 with mates from university and it taught me that it’s hard to make good wine.

What is your favourite part of vintage? - Getting dirty and the beer at 4am is pretty alright too.

How many countries have you made wine in? - Three - Australia, South Africa and Germany.

Time Posted: 10/10/2016 at 2:45 PM