Sam is a 6th generation Barossan and has been making wine for over 30 years. His family history in wine making and grape growing has continued with every generation since the 1840’s. He has worked in many winemaking roles over the years, including Chief Winemaker for St Hugo and Wyndham Estate, and Group Red and Fortified Winemaker for Orlando Wines where he managed an annual crush of over 60 million litres of wine from grapes sourced around the country.
Sam has fortunate enough to eat and drink his way around the world, while enjoying working vintages overseas in the USA, Spain and Hungary, and consulting on projects in Argentina, China, NZ, Georgia and India. He has experienced many years of wine judging as a senior judge in Australian capital city wine shows, as well internationally in Hong Kong and Japan.
Their wines have received many awards including the prestigious Red Wine of Provenance Trophy at the 2017 Australian National Wine Show, the Most Successful Small Producer Trophy at the Barossa Wine Show 2017, the Best Single Vineyard Wine Trophy and the Best Wine from a Small Producer Trophy at the Barossa Wine Show 2012.
The Red Wine of Provenance Trophy is awarded to outstanding Australian wines that have shown a consistency of style and quality over many years. It celebrates wines with a sense of place and an ability to age and improve in bottle. Three vintages of the same wine, with the same label, spread across at least ten years are judged as a group. The winning wine was the Red Art Single Vineyard Shiraz from the 2016, 2010 and 2006 vintages. Winning the coveted Wine of Provenance trophy is a huge achievement for any winery as it is the only award which judges three wines together, not just one individual wine.
The Rojomoma wines are extremely rare. They make less than 1000 cases each year and every vintage sells out quite quickly. By hand pruning and precisely managing the vineyard they achieve very low yields. They hand pick their grapes and carefully craft their wine to truly reflect the special site on which they are grown.
Their 5ha vineyard in the Ebenezer sub-region is a fantastic site for red grape growing. The dry grown Grenache vines were planted in 1886, the Shiraz, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon were planted in the late 1990s, and the Tempranillo was planted in 2005. The vines are hand pruned, shoot thinned and handpicked; treating each vine individually to get the best from it. The soil is loam over red and yellow clay and below that is an alkaline calcrete layer.
In the winemaking process, they use the traditional methods such as open fermenters and basket pressing, combined with modern approaches including wild yeast, barrel ageing on yeast lees and whole bunch ferment. They create wine with restrained use of oak that is true to its single vineyard origins. The wine is aged in used French oak for only 12-18 months and then bottle aged. The flagship wine, "Raj's Pick Shiraz" does utilise new French oak.
They seek to get the best flavours from the small berries typical in the Ebenezer region whilst balancing with savoury flavours, acid and silky tannins. The oak is usually old French oak to minimise oak influences and maximise the berry flavour.
They describe their wine as more European in style, more savoury and food friendly rather than big in alcohol and oak. Their wines are deep and concentrated but still elegant.
Bernie is also the author and photographer of a highly regarded book "Portraits of Barossa Winemakers" which is a collection of photographic portraits of winemakers with their hobbies – an insight into their personality, beyond their wine brand.
After achieving the position of Best Wine Writing book in Australia for the Gourmand International Book Awards 2016, Bernie’s book then went on the compete for the Best in the World (Wine writing) in the Gourmand International Book Awards. The top 3 books in each category are awarded “Best in the World”. “True Stories: Portraits of Barossa Winemakers” came 3rd in the Wine Writing Category and so can now proudly wear the title of “Best in the World” in the Gourmand International Book Awards. The international competition is like a ‘Book Olympics’, with countries around the globe competing for the top three positions in their category.
Several of the winemakers that Barossa Reserve sources wine from are featured in the book.
Founder and Winemaker of Dewey Station Wine's, Stefan Dewey, has a great fascination with the relationship between the soil in which grapes are grown and their unique influence on the wine produced from them.
This fascination started through the enthusiastic delivery of many a unrequested geology lesson by his mentor and old friend, Stuart Bourne from Soul Growers.
Each region, sub region and individual vineyard site has it own climate, aspect and soil profile that contributes to the growth and style of fruit that it produces.
From the sandy loams over black clay that are typical of the Barossa's Southern Grounds to the ironstone rich, red yellow and brown loams over red clay of the Northern Grounds - distinct and identifiable characters are yielded from countless individual sites throughout the masterpiece that is the Barossa Valley.
Dewey Station Wines aim to create wine that is synonymous with the 4 f's of Fun, Food, Flavour and Friendship. They describe their wines as "quirky yet serious, something to excite the senses", from the bright and fruity delights of their Shaky Train Series to the super premium, refined and focused Anne-Inspired shiraz.
The Dewey Station range includes:
Dewey Wines have distinct labels that represent their quirky style. the Shaky Train Series is named after Ellie Dewey's uncle and British cartoonist "Shaky Kane". Rich in flavour and bright in colour, this range is all about fruit characters and showcasing regionality of fruit whilst having fun doing it. This is represented in the labels.
I first experienced Gomersal Wines when I hosted a 25-year service dinner for Adelaide Brighton Cement (now Adbri) employees from Angaston, Birkenhead and Klein Point. Whilst the wines that we provided were the entry-level wines they were all fantastic.
I decided to head back and taste the full range one weekend and was blown away by the quality.
The 2010 Reserve Shiraz that had picked up a gold medal at the prestigious London International Wine Challenge 2014, the 2008 GSM and the 2015 Eden Valley Riesling were standouts and they were some of the first ones that I listed on the Barossa Reserve website. The owner, Barry White, was very generous with his time taking me through the range and letting me list his best.
Gomersal Wines kicked off in 2000, when a group of characters who share a passion for both the production and consumption of wine, joined forces to breathe life back into an old, run-down Barossa winery in the small western district of Gomersal.
Led by Barry (‘Baz’ to those who know him) and Gabriela White, the winery, now known as Gomersal Wines, was resurrected with the establishment of a new vineyard in 2001, the opening of a new cellar door in 2005, and function room in 2006, and of course, production of a range of quality wines.
The vineyard that produced the fruit for the GSM, just across the road from the cellar door, consisting of 42 acres of Shiraz, and 8 acres of Grenache and Mataro supplies the winery with rich quality fruit with which to make their wines. Their unique cellar door is a true Australian experience, with eucalyptus trees and native plants throughout the grounds, magnificent red gum tables and pink gum bar, and truly Australian artwork covering the walls. Their function room, ‘The Barrel Room’ provides a wonderful and versatile setting for functions of all styles, including weddings, birthdays, conferences, launches, and art exhibitions.
Their vineyards are largely located along Lyndoch Road on the northwestern ridge of the Barossa Valley. The vineyards have east-west slopes with predominantly north-south rows, and bush vines growth east-west on a south-facing slope. The range of soils at Gomersal quite interesting as they vary dramatically throughout the vineyard. They begin with clay over calcrete and slate bedrock, moving to more weathered slate at the bottom of an ancient glacier. Over the hill the soils are deep, sandy loam and black clays. This variety in soil types creates some excellent subtle flavours in the grapes, which come through in the wines. The soils are up to 20 million years old.
This winery is the second most winery along Gomersal Road as you enter into the Barossa Valley using that path and is a great first, or second, starting point on a day of wine tasting in the valley.
Soul Growers was started by a group of four mates who had significant previous experience in larger corporate wineries and decided to pursue their own dream of creating wines that reflected the soul of the Barossa Valley.
That soul is the grape growing families in the Barossa Valley, those families who have nurtured their vineyards over generations and who were largely descendent from the original Lutheran German settlers who came to South Australia as early the 1830s when the South Australian colony was first established.
Paul, Tom and Stu produce wines that reflect the family vineyards and exemplify Barossa Valley wines. Each batch of wines from each carefully selected family vineyard is treated separately through tank fermentation, pressing and aging in barrels. The very best of the best are produced into limited release single vineyard shiraz named after the grower families such as the "Kroehn", the "Gobell", the "Hampel", and the "Hoffmann". Similarly, a single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is produced from the "Limb" family vineyard. These wines are the flagship wines of Soul Growers and are in our super-premium selection.
The remaining Shiraz from those vineyards and a couple of others are blended to produce the "Slow Grown" shiraz. This premium wine has much of the quality of the super-premium single-vineyard wines but at half the price.
Soul Growers age their individual family vineyard shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, grenache and mourvedre in barrels using a mixture of imported French and American Oak barrels, and locally produced French and American Oak barrels depending on the grape variety and the source vineyard.
The cabernet sauvignon will only see French Oak and the higher the quality of wine the newer the oak.
Blending the different vineyard barrels to produce the wine that Soul Growers want to produce is like putting together a complex jigsaw puzzle. The wines include:
Provident Shiraz - a blend of vineyards from all around the Barossa and aged in old oak so that the oak is not prominent. This is a great value wine that says "Welcome to the Barossa, have a shiraz day".
Equilibrium GSM - a soft-bodied blend but with a richness that makes this wine their most popular. The base of the blend is the Grenache and the shiraz and mourvedre are added to make each vintage consistent.
Serendipitous Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir - the vineyard is right on the border between the Adelaide Hills and Eden Valley and so we will include it in our Barossa Range. This pinot has more body and richness than the typical pinot which was colourfully described by Stu as "that thin pissy shit".
Cellar Dweller Cabernet Sauvignon - this fruit is largely sourced from the banks of the Para River. It is aged in mainly old oak and all French. It is a very elegant style with only 7-10 days fermenting on skins. It is called the Cellar Dweller as it can be expected to hang around in the cellar for many years. This wine is in our Premium Selection.
Soul Growers mainly specialise in red wines but do produce a superb Eden Valley Riesling and a Rose that we were lucky to taste straight from the tank.
Irrespective of whether the wines are the super-premium single-vineyard wines, the premium wines or the great value wines, the winemaking method and philosophy is the same.
In a short few years, Soul Growers have achieved the pinnacle of Australian winery recognition by having been awarded 5 stars for their winery from Halliday with nine of their wines achieving a score of 95 and above with two more scoring 94.
In 1856 the Mader family, driven by religious persecution, left their homeland of Germany, to settle in Australia. The family brought with them traditional viticulture skills along with farming and fruit growing practices and set up a new life on 60 acres of land in the small township called Light Pass, in South Australia. Choosing a section of land aside the banks of the North Para (river) and eastern hillsides of the Barossa Valley, proved to be an excellent site to begin a vineyard. As time went by, all farming and fruit growing gave way to 100% viticulture. Six Generations later, Mark Mader would produce the first wine under the Gumpara label, in the year 2000. The name Gumpara is derived from two words; Gum, meaning large red gumtrees, and Para, Aboriginal for river.
Terroir plays a major part in the quality of Gumpara wines. All of their fruit are sourced from small single vineyard blocks, most of which are situated on the north eastern hillsides of the Barossa Valley in the sub region of Light Pass. Not only are they single vineyard wines, they tend to be selected from precise sections of the vineyard where the fruit is of the highest possible quality. The soil type is mostly a combination of sandy loam, deep red clay, pink marble and ironstone on a limestone base, producing wines of exceptional fruit concentration, pallet weight and structure. These soils are not overly deep and are fairly porous. Vine root systems have grown in search for moisture in between the porous pebbly pink marble and ironstone fragments and are drilled into the limestone base. The red clay layer holds moisture throughout the growing period, but dries nearing harvest. This is especially important as the water and nutrient availability is less and the vines become slightly stressed, meaning that the flavour compounds become concentrated. This soil type profile directly gives the vines an ability to produce desirable smooth skin tannins that are reflected in the wine.The climatic conditions are ideal for producing outstanding table wines and the north eastern sector is where fruit for the Mader Reserve Shiraz is sourced. Yields range from 1/2 to 2 tonnes per acre which is perfect for optimal ripening and flavour development. Low bunch weights ranging between (75 – 90 grams) and small to medium berry size contribute to rich and intense flavours reflected in this wine. Pruning techniques and trellis systems have been modified to spread the fruit zone evenly, providing greater balance to each vine.Vine canopies are low to moderate in vigour in which bunches obtain ample dappled light for optimal ripening, and not too much light for bunches to burn in summer heat waves. After lengthy hot summer days, which can exceed 40°C, cool night gully breezes flow from the north eastern slopes to cool the ripening bunches and assist with the recovery of the vine after it has been slightly heat stressed. Flavours reflected in the wine include rich berry, chocolate, mint and pepper spice. All vine rows run east /west giving good sun protection, that allows dappled light to penetrate during ripening. Most of their vines are between 30 to 90 years old. All of the above factors, along with diligent wine making practices have lead to the production of outstanding quality wines, produced under the Gumpara label.
The fruit that goes into the Mader Reserve Shiraz is sourced from a special section of low yielding vineyard on the the eastern side of Stockwell Road in the North Eastern Barossa. The vineyard is on a significant rise up from the valley floor and so is slightly cooler resulting in slightly minty characters. The vineyard has an early bud burst and has a longer ripening period allowing development of the fruit and rich chocolate flavours. The selection of high quality fruit combined with maturation in new, or near new French hogshead oak barrels for 18 months is what makes this top end wine special. Using techniques such as partial barrel fermentation and light pressing methods, add to the structure and complexity of this fine wine. The wine has been enhanced by the removal of first stage free run and last stage pressings and is a great example of what Gumpara produces and is a wine of great flavour, depth and balance.
The Mader Reserve Shiraz is a typical big Barossa Valley Shiraz style, aimed to deliver on quality, flavour and structure. Rich in colour, displaying a creamy fruitcake nose, with flavours of dark berries, Barossa chocolate and warm pepper spice.
This outstanding wine was judged and recently awarded Five Stars in Winestate magazine’s “New Releases” July/August 2014 addition. The previous 2010 vintage was awarded third place in Winestate Magazines 2012 “WORLD’S GREATEST SYRAH & SHIRAZ CHALLENGE” from a field of 724 entries.
This outstanding wine was judged and recently awarded Five Stars in Winestate magazine’s “New Releases” July/August 2014 addition. The previous 2010 vintage was awarded third place in Winestate Magazines 2012 “WORLD’S GREATEST SYRAH & SHIRAZ CHALLENGE” from a field of 724 entries. According to Joy Waterfang from Winestate Magazine “for his 2010 Reserve Shiraz to come third out of 726 wines exhibited in the Great Shiraz Challenge, it meant he had to beat the socks off some of the country’s super premium iconic wines”. This wine is extremely rare and only 1,000 litres were produced in this vintage and so we are very fortunate for Mark Mader to allow us to include this special wine in our launch pack.