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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
 
1 February 2019 | Howard Duncan

Moving Time!

This Sunday marks the final day at our current home as we close the doors at 3pm and say goodbye to our time at the top of Magnolia Road.

Whilst we’re building the new home of Artisans of Barossa, we invite you to taste and buy our wines from the Vino Lokal Barossa Wine Room and Bar at 64 Murray Street Tanunda. Every wine from our artisan winemakers - John Duval Wines, Hobbs of Barossa Ranges, Spinifex, Schwarz Wine Company and Sons of Eden – is available for tasting and purchase.

Vino Lokal is open from 12 noon and offers lunch, dinner and wine bar service 7 days of the week from a menu created by Director of Cuisine Ryan Edwards, formerly of the one hat Appellation Restaurant at The Louise. Check the Vinolokal.com website for the latest wine list, menu and current opening hours. Keep up to date by following us on Instagram and Facebook at @vinolokal.

We thank you for your support and look forward to welcoming you to Vino Lokal soon!

Cheers from the team

Time Posted: 01/02/2019 at 1:09 PM
Howard Duncan
 
28 December 2018 | Howard Duncan

What’s happening at Artisans of Barossa... and Vino Lokal

With plenty happening, we wanted to share an update on our plans for Artisans of Barossa and Vino Lokal.

To help out with a smooth transition, we’ve agreed with Calabria Family Wines to stay on at our current home until the end of January. We’ll be open every day from 11am – 6pm all through January, including the New Year’s Day and Australia Day public holidays. The only change to note is that Harvest Kitchen now has a dedicated direct phone number, and can now be reached on (08) 7523 3950. 
 
Vino Lokal is the name of our new Wine Room and Wine Bar, and this will open at 64 Murray Street Tanunda on January 4. As we work our way up to full speed, our opening hours for the first 10 days will be:

Friday 4 Jan.   3pm – 10pm
Saturday 5 Jan.   3pm - 10pm
Sunday 6 Jan.   11am-6pm
Monday 7 Jan.   3pm – 8pm
Tuesday 8 Jan.   3pm – 8pm
Wednesday 9 Jan.   3pm – 8pm
Thursday 10 Jan.   3pm – 8pm
Friday 11 Jan.   3pm-10pm
Saturday 12 Jan.   3pm-10pm
Sunday 13 Jan.   11am-6pm

From Monday 14 January, we plan to be open from 11am every day. 
 
If you need to contact us, please call Artisans of Barossa or Vino Lokal on (08) 8563 3935. For email inquiries:
 
Contact Vino Lokal at wineroom@vinolokal.com
Contact Artisans of Barossa at tastingroom@artisansofbarossa.com
 
And if you want to keep up with the latest news from Vino Lokal, then please follow @vinolokal on Facebook and Instagram. Sometime next week we’ll start to share a few sneak peaks of the Wine Bar menu which is being kept under wraps by Director of Cuisine Ryan Edwards. Stay tuned!
 
Here’s a few things we'd also like to share with you about Vino Lokal.
 
From Monday 14 January, the Wine Bar will open every day from 11am offering over 50 Barossa wines by the glass, half carafe and bottle. The Wine Bar menu is all about food to go with a glass of wine, and will feature a daily selection of small plate offerings created from fresh seasonal produce sourced from Barossa and across South Australia
 
We’ll open the Wine Room on Monday 21 January. The Wine Room re-imagines the winery tasting bar with a shift from just wine, to wine and food, and from stand up to sit down, (and sit down you will – in the most luxurious surrounds and comfort!). Open every day from 11-5, over 50 wines from the region’s artisan winemakers are available for purchase in tasting flights of your choice, accompanied by a daily selection of bite sized portions from our wine bar menu. 
 
Vino Lokal is a small and intimate place of just 50 seats spread across 2 rooms. If you plan on coming in a group of more than eight, can we ask that you call or email ahead so that we make suitable arrangements (we suppose that’s our friendly way of saying – groups of 9 or more are preferred to be by appointment).
 
We’re fielding plenty of requests for reservations – which is fantastic, and whilst we can accept bookings by phone and email for the Wine Room, we’re unable to accept bookings for the Wine Bar. We’ve also had plenty of interest in private functions for special occasions. If you could be patient, we’ll soon have details of our special events packages to share with you.
 
Vino Lokal will also serve as the temporary home of Artisans of Barossa in 2019. We’re on track to start building our new home in April which will open in January 2020. Vino Lokal will stay open, and operate in tandem with Artisans of Barossa to offer two great ways to enjoy Barossa wine, food and warm and friendly hospitality.
 
January is always a beautiful time to visit Barossa, and now you’ve got two great reasons to plan your trip. We look forward to welcoming you at Artisans of Barossa AND Vino Lokal.
 
Cheers,
 
Howard Duncan, Chief Operating Officer and the team at Artisans of Barossa & Vino Lokal

Time Posted: 28/12/2018 at 5:50 PM
Howard Duncan
 
20 December 2018 | Howard Duncan

Vino Lokal by Artisans of Barossa. The story so far.

Just four months ago we decided to open a ‘place’ in the main street of Tanunda. 

We hadn’t planned on opening a wine room and wine bar. 

And the building was still under construction. 

And we didn’t have a name. 

But the will to do it, the idea of what it could be and how it would work crystallised in an instant, and we’ve charged on at a relentless pace ever since to meet our opening night deadline of January 4, 2019. 

The name Vino Lokal seemed logical. Vino means ‘wine’ where ever you go, and this is a wine place. The Spanish origins of the word tied in neatly with the origins of ‘Barossa’, and ‘Lokal’ is a German word for ‘local’. Bring them together, and you have a gentle nod to the heritage of the region, and a clear message that this place will be all about Barossa wine… hence ‘Barossa Wine Room & Bar.’

So what can you expect from a Barossa Wine Room & Bar?

The Wine Room is our re-imaging of a winery tasting bar. A shift from just wine, to wine and food, it’s about sitting down and slowing down. 

The Wine Room will operate every day from 11-5 and offer over 50 Barossa wines on tasting from our Artisan winemakers – John Duval Wines, Spinifex, Schwarz Wine Company, Hobbs of Barossa Ranges and Sons of Eden. Wines will be available in flights of four/ six/ or eight tasting pours and will be accompanied by 4 bite sized selections from our wine bar menu. 

The Wine Bar will open from 11am - 8pm Monday to Thursday, 11am – 10pm on Friday and Saturday and from 11am – 6pm on Sunday. Matching our Wine Room program, we’ll offer a similarly extravagant selection of ‘lokal’ wines by the glass, carafe and by the bottle. Grower Champagne by the glass will also be in the mix, as will a few featured imports from familiar places and friends around the world. The Wine Bar will offer a menu of 10-12 small plate designed by our Chef Ryan Edwards to match perfectly with a glass of wine.

As for beer? Yes, we’ll have one. Gin and tonics? Maybe not. Possibly. Probably. Not sure. That’s a work in progress. Can you book a tasting in the Wine Room? Of course – drop an email to wineroom@vinolokal.com and we’ll lock it in. Can I book a seat or table in the Wine Bar? Unfortunately, because we’re a Wine Bar and not a restaurant, that won’t be an option. But by all means, give us a call on 8563 3935 before you head out the door and we’ll let you know the lay of the land.

We’ll keep you updated with news as we get closer to opening day. Make sure to stay in touch with the latest news via Facebook and Instagram – head to @vinolokal

 

Cheers from the team from Vino Lokal & Artisans of Barossa

Time Posted: 20/12/2018 at 2:01 PM
Howard Duncan
 
15 November 2018 | Howard Duncan

‘One Door Closed, and then Two Opened’

On December 31 we close the door on our time in Vine Vale, and just days later open the doors to Vino Lokal, our new wine room and bar in central Tanunda. In April 2019 we begin construction on the new home of Artisans of Barossa which will be located at Kroemer’s Crossing at the top end of Tanunda. That will open in early 2020, and Vino Lokal and Artisans of Barossa will then operate in tandem offering two fantastic, but very different ways of enjoying Barossa wine and food.

The seven years we’ve called Vine Vale home have been quite a ride. What started as a simple idea for a group of small Barossa winemakers to share a cellar door mushroomed into something much, much more. The team at Harvest Kitchen have played a pivotal role in that story, and we wish them well as they stay on in a new partnership with Calabria Family Wines who take up residence from January 1. Make sure you head up the hill and say hi to Bill, Michael and Andrew Calabria. This a great family and we welcome them warmly to the Barossa wine and food community.

The first set of new doors to open for Artisans will be at 64 Murray Street Tanunda, in a building once known as Roger’s Shoe Store and then for a time as Nosh. Construction and fit out will be completed in the next six weeks, and we’ll tear down the brown paper to reveal ‘Vino Lokal Barossa Wine Room & Bar’.

Vino Lokal will be a melting pot of ideas, opportunities and possibilities. A distillation of our collective experiences, of much time spent in some great (and occasionally not so great) wine bars and wine places around the world. Time spent thinking how, and wishing that, we could bring all of the good bits together in a place we called our own, right here in our Barossa backyard. A place where you can taste and drink and buy across the spectrum of Barossa winemaking, with wines from a few overseas friends thrown in to the mix as well. Somewhere to snack and graze from a compact wine bar style menu of tasty food, with its soul and its foundations in the lands of the farmers and the hands and minds of the artisans food-makers of our fair valley. A place to meet up with friends, and a place to take guests to and show them what Barossa does best. Even a place for a quiet moment of solitude and a sneaky glass of Eden Valley Riesling before you head home to face reality.

We hope Vino Lokal will be all of that.

The doors at Vino Lokal will be open 11am to 8pm Monday to Thursday, and 11am to 10pm on Friday and Saturday. Sunday is an 11am to 6pm affair. During the day we'll offer a completely re-vamped cellar door style tasting program featuring our Artisans of Barossa wineries in the front room. Think of sitting on luxurious, art deco inspired, velvet bar stools along a white marble topped bar, or sinking deeply into tub chairs. Think of pondering, and then creating tasting flights that can lead you astray, in a Barossa wine kind of astray. In the back room, drop in for a glass of wine and a light bite to eat anytime. Take a seat at the window, or somewhere along the 20 seater communal table. Come 5pm, the front room converts from wine room to wine bar, and we'll offer over 50 great Barossa wines by the glass and plenty more by the bottle. Yes, we aim to proudly overwhelm you with choice. 

Alongside everything we do in wine, throughout the day and into the night we’ll have delicious bites on offer prepared by Ryan Edwards. We welcome the former Executive Chef at the one hatted Appellation at The Louise as our ‘food artisan’ and trust he is slowly coming to terms with the fact he will soon have two places to look after!

We’re on track for a January 4 2019 opening. The construction team from BGI have worked nothing short of miracles - Michael Hannay, you need to be cloned! Thanks also to Andrew from Homburg, and our landlords Robert and Pam for being so responsive and positive to our idea for Vino Lokal. Thanks too to Jenny & Steve from Decor Made Easy who have been a tour de force - just wait until you see the interior design they’ve come up with.

As you can see, there’s a strong ‘lokal’ flavour to this endeavour, from the wines to the food and to the people who helped bring it all together at breakneck speed. We can’t wait to welcome you through the doors at Vino Lokal when we open on January 4, and for it to become a place full of happy and contented lokals.

Cheers

Howard and the team at Artisans of Barossa

Keep up to date with Vino Lokal's news and events by connecting with us on:

Facebook: Vinolokal

Instagram: @vinolokal

Time Posted: 15/11/2018 at 8:11 AM
Howard Duncan
 
2 August 2018 | Howard Duncan

Winemaker in the House - Tim Smith Wines (round 3)

In the school of winemaking, Tim Smith is most definitely a subscriber to the KISS principle, and I suspect in the school of rock, he may well be a subscriber to the KISS Army. After all, this was the bloke wearing black jeans during the recent ‘Barossa in Boardshorts’ roadshow through Queensland! In each and every wine that Tim produces under his succinctly named ‘Tim Smith Wines’ brand, there’s a consistent pounding beat of considered, unfussed winemaking principles applied to exceptional quality fruit sourced from a compact selection of superb Barossa vineyards. Each and every wine a pure expression of bottled Barossa deliciousness, each wine a reflection of Tim’s belief in vineyard over winery when it comes to influencing the character, flavour and texture of wine.

Tim is very upbeat in an understated Tim Smith kind of way about his latest releases. The 2016 Barossa Shiraz is a blend of Barossa Valley Shiraz – all rich and unctuous with a belly full of dark fruit – and ‘a good chunk’ of Eden Valley Shiraz to fancy it up . The 2016 Mataro is from a vineyard that’s somewhere around 140 years old making it one of the oldest on the planet for this variety. Farmed by the same family for 6 generations – a delicious and beguiling red with a big dose of Barossa heritage to boot. And the 2018 Eden Valley Riesling is in my view bordering on the perfect drink – juicy limes and citrus fruits, with just the right amount of crisp acidity to keep it fresh and balanced. At an exceptionally friendly 11.5% alc/ vol, I don’t think I’m out of line in suggesting this will be a very popular ‘sessionable’ wine for the warmer months in the Barossa.

The KISS principle applied to winemaking at the Tim Smith winery is also readily apparent in the Tim Smith ‘Guide to Gourmet Dining’ when discussions turn to matters of what to eat with each of these wines. The quick fire responses are: Riesling - a dozen oysters and a sunset. Shiraz - Linke’s porterhouse, hand cut by Steve, pan fried and served with bok choy tossed in the pan juices with garlic and a touch of oyster sauce. Mataro – roasted porchetta rolled in fennel seed and cumin, with old school roasted root veg such as swedes, turnips and parsnips. Served with a green salad to make the Instagram shot a winner. Impressive!

Tim is in the Artisans house this weekend – from 12-4pm on Saturday and Sunday presenting a range of new red wine releases from the outstanding 2016 vintage, and his recently bottled 2018 Eden Valley Riesling. Head up to Artisans at some time over the weekend to have a yack with Tim and taste through his range of wines. And if you’re feeling indulgent, grab a table at Harvest Kitchen and hop into a plate of their slow braised beef cheeks served with crunchy pillows of deep fried polenta. The perfect food for winter…the perfect match for a glass of Barossa Shiraz.

Cheers

Howard

 

Time Posted: 02/08/2018 at 6:28 PM
Howard Duncan
 
29 June 2018 | Howard Duncan

Winemaker in the House - Max & Me (round 2)

 ‘MAX & ME’ or Sarah & Phil, back in the Artisans house this weekend.

As I walked in the front doors of the Rex in Tanunda at 6.40am on Wednesday to face my weekly thrashing at the hands of Jess the personal trainer, the BOM app on my phone reminded me how bloody cold it was – a touch below -2 degrees Celsius. And whilst I considered for a moment the insanity of anyone being out and about at this time of the morning (paying to be thrashed!) in these alpine conditions, my heart went out to the folk living high up in the hills of the Eden Valley. For we in the wine business recount time and again of the cooler nights and crisp morning conditions of that fair Valley, and the powerful impact these special micro climates have on the wines produced from the vineyards dotted across what must be the most Australian looking of Australian vineyard landscapes. (cue kangaroos, gnarly old gums, rolling hills and big blue skies etc).

Concerned, I dropped Phil “Lehmo” Lehmann a text this morning ‘Morning mate… random question. How cold did it get at your joint in the EV this week?’ I then prepared to wait a little while for a response, giving Phil the time to take of his gloves, warm his digits, blow the steam off a mug of coffee, shoo away the kangaroos and file his response. ‘Cold as penguin’s feet mate – would have hit minus 0.5 I reckon.’ Now that was not what I expected, and I conveyed my surprise at reports of positively tropical conditions coming in from my similarly hirsute mate from Eden Valley in a follow up question. ‘Bugger me, I thought you blokes would be colder up in them thar hills?’

‘Closer to the sun’came the reply in an whip crack of an instant of time. The Lehmann dry wit that has spanned generations is still hard at work.

Phil & Sarah Lehmann’s Eden Valley property produce some brilliant wines under their Max & Me label, and we’re very excited to have them in the house at Artisans pouring their wines this weekend. And why is their estate label ‘Max & Me’, and not ‘Phil & Sarah’? That story starts with a chance meeting of Sarah with Phil’s dog Max, which marked the start of their journey together. Sarah, a professional ballet dancer and passionate dog lover, was performing at the Barossa Music Festival. She met Max at rehearsal, and meeting Max led to meeting Phil. Max was always with either, or both; whether working in the vineyard or winery with Phil, or at work or University with Sarah. He went to the wedding, and tagged along on their honeymoon. So what to call their wines made from their beautiful Eden Valley vineyard? ‘Max & Me’ of course!

The full range is on tasting this weekend, and the Lehmanns will be in the house from 12-4pm Saturday and Sunday with the latest weather and vintage reports from their beautiful Boongarrie Estate property in the Barossa Ranges. A place where biodiversity is encouraged and where pest and disease pressures are minimal. Where sheep and cattle graze the vineyard grasses during winter, and where dung-beetles do what dung-beetles do – eat animal poo to produce dung-beetle crap to serve as fertilizer to improve the vineyard soils. This philosophy of managing the land to look after the soils, and deploying minimal chemical inputs makes for special dirt in a special place. And with special people in charge, there’s one thing for sure. These are exceptionally special wines! 

Cheers, Howard from Artisans.

 

Time Posted: 29/06/2018 at 5:03 PM
Howard Duncan
 
24 May 2018 | Howard Duncan

Winemaker in the House - Massena (round 2)

Jaysen Collins from Massena is in the Artisans house this weekend. (And because winemakers are real people too, he’ll be a little late on Saturday as he heads back from Adelaide after watching the kids play soccer.) Catch him from 2-4pm Saturday, and 12-4pm Sunday. 

A Massena tasting can be best described as an adventure – the wines once described by Lisa Perotti-Brown of The Wine Advocate as “…exciting departures from the status quo.” This weekend’s tasting will definitely have you venturing off the high street – the Eleventh Hour Barossa Shiraz surrounded by a bedazzling collection of diverse varietals including Saperavi and Primitivo, and red and white blends that reflect the eternal willingness of the Massena winemakers to take a path less travelled in the pursuit of making wines that are a sheer pleasure to drink. If you happen to make the journey to Artisans this weekend, you’ll also be treated to a sneak pre-release tasting of the first edition 2017 Massena ‘Stonegarden’ Grenache. Jaysen has smuggled a few bottles out of the winery ahead of the official release (which is on June 6 at Rockpool in Sydney) making it well worth a drive to the top end of Magnolia Road over the weekend.

Massena celebrates 20 years of winemaking next year, and I sense it’s a coming of age moment for founders Jaysen Collins and Dan Standish, along with their new collaborator - vigneron Glen Monaghan. Jaysen and Dan were young blokes in their early 20’s when they thought it might be ‘a bit of fun’ to partner up to make ‘a bit of wine’ – an opportunity to express some artistic licence free of the restraints of their respective day jobs at Turkey Flat and Torbreck. With the benefit of hindsight, those founding ideals of ‘a bit of fun’ and ‘a bit of wine’ now appear to be equally gross understatements. Plenty of wine has been made (albeit in small batches), and plenty of fun has been had… some would suggest fun on a scale previously unimaginable in the business of making wine. 

2017 was a watershed year for Jaysen and Dan’s, bought about by the decision to head out in search of a peerless Barossa vineyard to produce a new range of top tier wines for Massena. They say fortune favours the brave, and an introduction to Glen Monaghan who’d only recently purchased the Stonegarden Vineyard in Eden Valley saw a partnership of two winemakers grow to include a vigneron. The platform for Massena ‘Stonegarden’ wines was in place and the first wines are now released. The 2017 Riesling was an impressive debut, as was the 2017 Fruit Salad Block White – a brilliant example of the power of collaboration between committed grape grower and innovative winemaker. Few would think to hang onto a vineyard block containing 20 something grape varieties – and I suspect only Massena would think to have a go at making a wine by blending the lot! The 2017 Stonegarden Grenache is next on the release schedule, followed by a 2017 GSM blend, then a second vintage of Riesling and a Shiraz and a Cabernet Sauvignon. And there is talk of a Mataro and a Malbec made in tiny quantities from fruit picked from individual vines found here and there amongst plantings of other varieties at Stonegarden. All exciting examples of extreme and rare Barossa provenance.

For 20 years, Massena has lived and celebrated the Artisan ideal of individual expression in Barossa winemaking. And whilst the Stonegarden wines might represent (dare I say it) a ‘maturing’ for Massena, the determination to keep making sure it’s fun has not diminished. To prove the point, Jaysen tells me they’re testing a new Shiraz-Tannat blend from the 2018 vintage – apparently it’s going to be called “Shitnat”.

Cheers,

Howard

Time Posted: 24/05/2018 at 2:39 PM
Howard Duncan
 
16 May 2018 | Howard Duncan

Winemaker in the House - Spinifex (round 2)

If there were such a thing as 'Barossa Shiraz divining rods' then Pete Schell, proprietor at Spinifex Wines must own a set! This winemaker's ability to seek and find the patchwork of small vineyards that supplies an incredible array of superb expressions of this wine region's hero grape variety is certainly impressive. If not uncanny. Or possibly god-like if you really love your Barossa Shiraz. Either way, a tasting with Pete of his myriad of Spinifex Shiraz (at least 7 different ones at last count) is what we're offering this Saturday and Sunday from 12-4 up at Artisans. This is your chance to meet, talk and taste with a true Shiraz Sifu. (Or 'master' if your Cantonese is a bit rusty.)

Pete is clearly comfortable with the idea of embracing diversity. In contrast with some of the bigger wineries, his wines are driven by the landscape and his preference for expression of varietal and site typicity rather than the winemaker's influence. This is a winemaker who both understands the land, and respects the importance of building relationships with good growers. He rejoices in the differences. and that shows in the wines on tasting this weekend.

The 2015 La Maline is a fine and elegant example of Shiraz produced from mostly Eden Valley Vineyards. Just 60 dozen of  the 2012 Old Vine Shiraz were produced, from a 110 year old vineyard at Nuriootpa. A great vintage and as good an example of Barossa Shiraz you're ever likely to taste. The 2016 Indegine introduces a good dollop of Mataro blended with old vine Shiraz from the Eden Valley and Moppa - it's a bold, tannic and structural expression of Shiraz, in contrast to the elegant La Maline...the sort of Shiraz you'd drink listening to ACDC at 80 decibels. The 2015 Bete Noir is fine - it's lean, it's structured, it's athletic - I think it to be cast in the image of Michaelangelo's David. And then there is the youngster produced from 20 year old vines grown at some of the higher points around Barossa - the 2017 Syrah is loaded with soft, plush and bright primary fruit. Barely a hint of oak,  and so pure! Finally 2015 Miette - made with a singular mission in mind - to bring drinking pleasure to the table.

One winemaker, six diverse expressions of the art of making Barossa Shiraz on tasting (with the winemaker) this weekend at Artisans. Don't miss out!

Cheers from Howard at Artisans.

Browse/buy the Spinifex range here.

Time Posted: 16/05/2018 at 6:43 PM
Howard Duncan
 
7 May 2018 | Howard Duncan

Winemaker in the House - Jack West

John Lienert seems to be known by more names than I’ve had hot lunches -  the impressive sobriquet ‘Jack West’ graces the labels of his ridiculously delicious Western Ridge reds – wines made from the fruit he grows himself in a part of Barossa locals like to call New Mecklenburg. (Seems like one name is never enough out on the western ridge – others may know this part of Barossa as Gomersal.)

John’s/ Jack’s Barossa wine story is a familiar one. He's part of a Barossa family tree with a solid trunk and roots that go deep down, and with plenty of branches producing aunties and uncles and cousins here, there and everywhere across the district. He was born here, grew up on the family farm here, spent his school years here and graduated from Faith Lutheran College under the guidance of the Lutherans. They don’t come much more local than John Lienert, which may be what motivated him to create the alter ego Jack West to name his wines. “Jack West just sounded a whole lot more interesting than John Lienert of New Mecklenburg.” John’s words… and point taken, perhaps a good strategy to stand out from the pack of Barossa Lienerts many of us know.

John started off in wine growing grapes in Lienert country at one of the higher points on the Western Ridge, out along the Gomersal Road. 100% reds – this is no country for white wine. He had a ‘dabble’ with winemaking back in 2005 with a bit of Sangiovese that no one else wanted, which became the itch he just had to scratch when he launched Jack West Wines in 2014. 

“It wasn’t a hard decision to make, I’d think about making my own wines as I was going to bed, dream about making my own wines through the night, and then still be thinking about it the next morning as I was ploughing through my bowl of cornflakes. Sometimes you’ve just got to follow your gut feel, and gives things a crack. I’m 5 years down the track, and very comfortable with where I’ve got to. The wines reflect my bit of Barossa dirt, and me and my approach to winemaking and wine enjoying. I like to keep things simple, I like wines that express a sense of place, but wines that have a distinctive personality. For me, that means making the rich and juicy reds for which the Western Ridge is known for, wines with plenty of flavour and a good strong backbone. And making wines that people love to drink.”

And then almost on queue, ‘Wazza’ a local grapegrower passes by and slaps John/ Jack on the back - "John - that Grenache of yours is bloody delicious, send me another case." This winemaker has plenty of local and vocal fans.

As for a perspective on the 2018 vintage from someone who grows it, picks it and makes it?

“It sure was slow to get going. January was very cool, and apart from a spike of heat at the start of February, things were fairly cool out our way through February and March. I think we cleaned and polished our new harvester plenty of times before the Shiraz got ripe. The Grenache came in straight after the Shiraz, and then the Mataro did what Mataro does – hanging around longer than a single bloke at the Tanunda Footy Club Social – we ended up picking it in late April. The yields were good this year, and the fruit looked great. The ferments smelt awesome and the wines have amazing colour, flavour and texture. This will be up there with the best of them I reckon. All up, 2018 was a great year for the grower, and also for the winemaker, lucky I’m both!”

Jack West joins us in the house at Artisans on Saturday 12 & Sunday 13 May from 12- 4 pm. Stop by for a chat and introduce yourselves to these brilliant wines – and take time to talk to the farmer, the winemaker and now the sales guy - all wrapped up in one, and known only as Jack West of the Western Ridge.

 

 

 

 

 

Time Posted: 07/05/2018 at 1:36 PM
Howard Duncan
 
4 May 2018 | Howard Duncan

Winemaker in the House - Hobbs of Barossa Ranges (round 2)

The Hobbs' were always guaranteed to arrive in the Artisans house a little later than the others.  Their vineyard in the high country of Eden Valley is generally the last to be picked of all of our Artisans' vineyards, and it wasn't until the last week of April that the call was made to bring the last of the fruit into the winery. With the hard slog of vintage now behind them, Greg and Allison join us this weekend to present the latest releases of their imperious and delicious reds alongside a superb Viognier.

Anyone that knows Greg Hobbs can appreciate he's a man not to mince his words. Nor is he a chap prone to hyperbole. In short, Greg calls it as he sees it. When I asked him early this morning for his thoughts on the 2018 vintage, he was emphatic. "At this stage, it's as good as Allison and I have seen since we bought the vineyard back in 1995. Plenty of power, but balanced with refined, silky and beautifully elegant tannins. We had a near perfect run up here at the home block - the early February heat didn't affect the fruit, and from that point all the way through to the last pick, the conditions were nothing but absolutely perfect. We couldn't be any happier with the quality that we've been tasting in the vineyard."

On tasting this weekend will be the 2015 vintage Gregor Shiraz, alongside a first showing of the 2015 Tango Shiraz Viognier and the excellent 2017 Viognier. Apart from the opportunity to have a good yack with Greg and Allison and  taste some exceptional wines, this weekend also provides you the chance to get to understand a little more about what makes the high Eden such a very special part of our Barossa wine world. We've also got a few tables available at Harvest Kitchen....a Hobbs red with the Hutton Vale lamb, or  Viognier with the field mushrooms (or both) would turn your good weekend into a great weekend. Call ahead on 8563 3935 to make a booking.

Time Posted: 04/05/2018 at 2:12 PM