I first met Tim at his "tin shed" tasting room at Vine Vale in the Barossa Valley where he took me through his wines. Tim has had a colourful life, working as a roadie for Australian rock bands including Rosé Tattoo, Jimmy Barnes, Dragon and Midnight Oil before starting at Yalumba as a cellar hand, getting a winemaking degree, and working at wineries around the world and the Barossa Valley including Yalumba, St Hallett, Charles Melton, Chateau Tanunda. Tatachilla in McLaren Vale, Chapoutier, Gabriel Meffre and Domaine du Mandeville in France, Cortes de Cima and Azamor in Portugal and Nautilus in New Zealand.
Tim decided to start making his own wines during a study tour to France’s Rhone Valley and established Tim Smith Wines in 2001 with their first vintage in 2002.
His approach to winemaking is accessing great vineyards, timely picking, a light hand in the winery and having a sensibility for tradition. He is heavily influenced by the wines of the Rhone Valley, but with a very healthy respect for the regional Barossa wine style.
Tim loves Mataro and his Rhone blend has Mataro as the dominant variety followed by Grenache and then Shiraz. He also makes a beautiful premium straight Mataro.
The Rhone influence has also led to a superb straight Viognier white wine. Tim is not a big fan of adding Viognier to Shiraz as has been a trend with some wines.
He also favours very old vineyards. The Reserve Shiraz has four source vineyards averaging 50-years age, the MGS comes from four different vineyards with an average age of 85-years and the oldest being 150 years old. The Mataro is sourced from three vineyards with the youngest being 80-years old.
In 2019 Tim was named Barossa Valley Winemaker of the Year.