THE TEAM

Iain Muggoch

Raised on the beautiful west coast of Scotland in Rhu, Iain started his career in wine in the late 1980s, as ‘gofer’ to wine merchant Tony Laithwaite. It doesn’t sound so glamorous, but it gave him the opportunity to get a taste of everything … writing and editing copy, bottle photography, vintages out in Bordeaux (doing everything from picking through to fermentation and filling barrels).


Iain was the company’s first management trainee, gaining experience in all parts of the business. Six years later he felt it was time to follow the more youthful pursuit of overseas travel and went to do a marketing degree in wine in Oz, when he was sidetracked by South Africa. There he stayed for three years, becoming General Manager for The Oaks Wine Club. While there, he bought not only Cape wines, but also brought in European classics – bottles that South African wine drinkers had been deprived of for years.

 

In 1998 he returned to the UK and, thinking creatively, set up The Big Dinner Party concept, linking M&S with The Variety Club. Next stop was Bibendum, a small operation at the time, as Fine Wine manager, ending up a few years late as Buying Director. The company by then had increased in size to be one of the largest trade suppliers in the UK. For most of a decade he oversaw the buying of some pretty smart gear from Australia. He worked with Best’s Great Western (oldest family winery in Australia!), Chateau Tanunda in Barossa, Battle of Bosworth in McLaren Vale, Josef Chromy in Tasmania … even developed an exclusive brand with Tim Adams, and was talking to the original RedHeads cellar about taking on distribution for their divine creations.

 

Then in 2013, he was appointed as General Manager of RedHeads, plus five exclusive Bordeaux châteaux in Right Bank Castillon and an English sparkling wine vineyard with more than a little royal lineage!

 

He’s a busy man and is particularly fond of good claret, but best of all the elegance and grip of Esulé.

Adrian Hoffmann

Adrian Hoffmann, affectionately known to all as Hoffy, is regularly touted as the man who grows some of the best Cabernet in the Barossa. High praise indeed! His family have been landowners in the Barossa since 1857, making him a sixth generation grower, which gives a provenance in the area that few can match. One of his fondest memories of the vineyard was when four generations were picking grapes together, side by side. Adrian’s grandfather Gordon, his father Jeff, himself and his son.

 

We came into contact with Hoffy on the hockey pitch a couple of years back, playing around Nuriootpa. Turns out Hoffy’s talents aren’t limited to grape growing – he’s a mean goal shooter too! Most of the time, however, Adrian is tending his vines or making wine.

 

His 120 hectares of vines lie in Ebenezer, in the northern end of the Barossa. There are distinct differences from north to south, in both soil and climate: in the north, in Ebenezer, the red earth is very distinct – well-drained sandy clay loam over a solid limestone, which Adrian describes as perfect for growing Shiraz. “Mean” he says, so the vines have to dig deep for water and, as a consequence, produce dense, concentrated wines jammed with character. Climate-wise, this northern end is the warmest part of the Barossa, too, with low rainfall, which only adds to the intense colour and ripe fullness of the wines its fruit produces.

 

As Director of Dimchurch vVneyards, his own wine estate, Adrian manages 120 hectares of vines, growing an impressive array of grape varieties: Shiraz, Grenache, Mataro, White Frontignac, Cabernet, Merlot and Zinfandel. In an average year, about 700 tonnes of them. But the thing that makes Adrian’s vineyards unique is his old vines, grown on shallow topsoil over deep clay. Most of his more recent plantings are cuttings of these old vines, creating a unique lineage in the vineyard. Bet you’ve never thought of vine lineage before!

  

He has a few funny stories up his sleeve: one picker who came to help, a naturist in her spare time, who challenged Hoffy to a harvesting race. Of course, he filled his bucket the fastest and her penalty (chosen by herself) was to run around the vineyard naked. Nowt as queer as Aussie folk!

Adrian loves the Barossa and is a strong member of the community. He belongs to Wine Grapes Australia, the Barossa Grape & Wine Association, Light Pass Cricket Club (just up the road from RedHeads, in fact), and Nuriootpa Hockey Club, where he met Dan. Adrian is also chair of Grape Barossa and will continue to campaign for the Barossa as a great place to live, work and visit, while also promoting Barossa wine as some of the best in the world.

John Kalleske

John is a fifth-generation grape grower, whose family arrived from Silesia, Poland, in 1839. His independent venture in wine began in 1975 when he bought the Nuriootpa property that the family still own today. He extended it in 1977 by buying one in Koonunga Hill, too.

 

He was a farmer - growing crops and raising sheep - during the day and a vine grower, tending his vines, in the evening with the help of his wife, Barbara. The aim was to build future employment for their family… ironic then, that the Kalleskes bought their second property just as Australia suffered from a grape glut in 1978. This was the famous moment when Peter Lehmann decided to stand by the Barossa growers and take their grapes, despite his employer, Saltram, wanting to renege on the contract.

 

The 1980s were tough times, but John and Barb worked endlessly to restore the Barossa back to what they felt was its rightful position as one of the key areas for wine in Australia. They were right and now its grapes are some of the most sought after. All of this hard work lead the Kalleskes to move solely into grape growing in the 1990s when vines and wine took a more prominent position. Shiraz and Cabernet, Chardonnay and Semillon were the main staples during the first decade. Then from 1999 to 2005, John and Barb started pushing the boat out with more leftfield varieties such as Petit Verdot and Durif ... Vermentino now, too.

 

John feels privileged that the family has vineyards not just in one top area, but two – Koonunga and Ebenezer. They both lie at an elevation of 280 metres, so enjoy hot days followed by cool nights which help slow down the ripening of the grapes. Meanwhile the deep red/brown earth over deep red clays of the vineyards promotes superb depth of flavour and intensity. And to retain all the quality, John goes the extra mile and handpicks all the vineyards – painstaking work, but worth every pluck!

 

The Kalleskes now have a bit of additional help around the place too, which they’re very grateful for! Their son Andrew has now turned his hand towards the family business.

Henry Laithwaite

There’s quite a story behind Henry, eldest son of wine merchants Tony and Barbara Laithwaite! From a tender age, he was dragged around vineyards and wineries on so-called ‘family holidays’ for as long as he can remember. Not a surprise that he’s gone into winemaking in later life; poor guy never stood a chance!

 

At 13, Tony told Henry that the grape had the highest sugar content of any fruit! Naturally, being young and curious, he asked "What is the second, dad?" ... and the answer: "the pineapple son!" Indeed, only pineapples and grapes have enough natural sugar to ferment without adding any extra.

 

As luck would have it, they had just come back from the school fair, where they had won a good number of no, not coconuts, but pineapples. He subsequently spent the whole weekend trying to extract as much juice out of a pineapple as he could. The juice was then put into bottles with some yeast and left down in Dad’s cellar to do its thing. Which for most of the bottles was to explode and spread itself over the precious wine collection…! But never mind, it was all in the spirit of adventure!

 

Ask Tony and he will say they knew from an early age that Henry would be a farmer-cum-winemaker. At just two, he would clamour to sit on the tractor with dad and mow the lawn. Henry also loved to plant things. He learnt fast – through watching, never reading.

 

Along with his two brothers, they of course were dragged around wineries in Bordeaux to do the harvest … it was just part of family life. In the early 1990s at Château La Clarière (in Castillon, Bordeaux) with all three boys under 10, Tony kept back a small quantity of grapes, got the boys to tread them, ferment the juice and make their own cuvée … “Just laying the foundations,” Tony said. And for Henry, it did. By 17, he had made his own wine properly.

 

Following his mum and dad, he studied at Durham University, met his future wife there, Kaye, then went into winemaking full time … the Rhône, Bordeaux, the Ardèche, then finally Australia. Down Under, he worked at the original RedHeads Studio in the McLaren Vale, alongside great winemakers Michael Fragos (from Tatachilla, now Chapel Hill), La Curio’s Adam Hooper and Shed Godfather Phil Christiansen – whilst also getting to know a lot of the top growers in the area like Nat and Jeff McMurtrie.

 

Each March Henry comes back to Australia to make a few barrels of Wilson Gunn for RedHeads. Everything is done by hand in small, open-top vats, the finest oak, lots of love and care. He also has a 6.2 hectare vineyard and winery in Oxfordshire making sparkling wine (first release 2017) and tiny 4-hectare Château Verniotte in Bordeaux’s Castillon, but it’s always lovely to escape to Oz for a few weeks to create his sumptuous big red, Wilson Gunn.

Roccat Vineyards

In 2008, Anthony & Marie Catanzariti, Marie’s brother Joseph Rocca and his wife Jenna decided to plant a vineyard on the 60 acre Rocca cattle property, in the small village of One Tree Hill in the Adelaide Foothills.

 

Marie and Joseph’s father Ross purchased the property in 1985 and ran it as a cattle property for the next 20 years. In 2006, Anthony, who is himself a winemaker in the Barossa Valley, purchased fruit from a neighbouring property, with the aim being to pinpoint a suitable area for growing Mediterranean varieties in South Australia. He purchased Shiraz, Sangiovese, Tempranillo and Nebbiolo to start with and all but the Nebbiolo were a tremendous success. Through a few trials and tribulations – plus a great deal of success – they now grow a fantastic range: Shiraz, Durif, Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Tempranillo, Grenache and Graciano.

 

Their property, One Tree Hill, is nestled in between the Barossa GI and The Adelaide Hills GI, in the Mount Lofty Ranges. While a vineyard without a premium GI was a concern to the family, they decided that the quality of fruit would be able to stand on its own merits. They also had the fact that the property lies on the same ridge as the famous Magill vineyards to help them rest easily. Another little bonus, Penfolds were large fruit buyers in the area which provided further reassurance to the family that they were making the right decision.

 

The vineyard was planted with the hope that one day the family would create their own label, using Josephs skills in marketing and design and Anthony’s Winemaking background. The theme of vineyard was food friendly wines with a Mediterranean varietal influence, with the traditional Australian red wine workhorse – Shiraz, also playing a role due to its superior quality in this area. Making their own wine is still a way off yet, but are happy to see the fruit of their labour end up in some great wines.

 

The altitude of the vineyards ranges between 260 and 300m. Located in its own natural valley with both North facing and South facing plots.

From Anthony’s experience in vineyard and grape assessment he decided to plant 2 blocks of each variety, one with North-South and the other with East-West row orientation, that way some of the seasonal variability (either Hot or Cooler vintages) could be countered and could consistently deliver quality fruit.

Oliver's Taranga Vineyard

Don Oliver runs Oliver’s Taranga Vineyards, and he is the fifth generation of the Oliver family to live on and farm the Taranga vineyards. So long have the family been around that they are celebrated their 175th year of grape growing in 2016! That’s quite a heritage.

 

The vineyard was first planted in 1841, and along with other mixed farming over the years, has been run by the Oliver family ever since. The property is almost exclusively vineyards now, but Don still has a small flock of Dorper lambs running about the vineyards as organic weed removers!

 

Having been around since 1841, the family aim to still be their for another five generations through constant innovation, maintenance and improvements around the property. Their general principals revolve around a low input, sustainable, innovative, technologically advanced, premium method for grape growing that allows them to hit the very exacting requirement of a number of winemakers.

 

Don works very hard to produce the best quality that he can, year in, year out. He has received many grape growing awards, and has been a proud supplier of Shiraz to Penfolds Grange for many years - fine pedigree indeed! He also loves fishing, growing fruit & veggies, hanging with the grandies, 4WD camping & caravanning. But at the end of a busy day on the property there’s no greater pleasure in life for him than sitting back and enjoying a spit roasted Dorper lamb with a good McLaren Vale red with his mates! And who can blame him.

Darren Harvey

Darren didn’t jump straight into wine as a career having spent 15 years working as a hotel manager in Australia, the UK and America while also travelling through Europe. However, it was during these journeys that his love of wine began to grow. For him, it was about the experience and enjoyment of wine, the diversity, the regions, the passion and the culture. 

 

After coming home to Adelaide, Darren completed a degree in viticulture and oenology at Adelaide Uni. He travelled around and studied wine along the west coast of America and British Columbia where he toured winery operations while sampling the best they had to offer. On top of this, he brings with him experience from the Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills to our RedHeads Studio.

Jeff & Wilma McMurtrie

You recognise the name - McMurtrie? Jeff is brother to Nat McMurtrie senior (and uncle to Nat McMurtrie junior!), who was one of our first ever grape suppliers at RedHeads Wine. So inspired was he by RedHeads and what we were crafting with his grapes, that Nat went on to try his hand at being a winemaker too … and is now one of our ‘Greyheads’, making wine at his own ‘shed’.

 

That bit of history aside, Jeff remains 100% a grower of top-quality McLaren Vale grapes. His family have, in fact, been land owners in the region since 1882. The property was used for mixed agricultural farming at the beginning – raising sheep, growing grain, producing hay – and later on, as a dairy farm. Today, this farmland has become their Wilfrey Vineyard.

 

When their father, Colin, died, the land was divided and Jeff decided his 4 hectares were destined to grow grapes. Shiraz to be precise. So, at 47, he planted vines and became a grape farmer. He says “I continue today to be excited by the excellence of the fruit from each subsequent vintage and that gives me the energy to continue.”.

  

The vineyard is situated on the north-easterly slope of the property, on the intersection of Main Road and McMurtrie Road (yes, named after the family – the norm in the early days of settlers). The vines face north-south for optimum ripening. The soil is sandy loam over clay – sandy loam helps water drain, so the vine roots have to work to find moisture, while the subsoil of clay helps retain some of it. And that’s important in this hot, sometimes rainless, climate.

 

McLaren Vale, as a region, is actually one of Australia’s most consistent climate-wise as it rarely suffers frosts, floods and enjoys a great amount of sunlight. In addition to these, McLaren Vale is close to the coast, so benefits from the maritime influence; sea breezes that temper the heat. So, with that climate, the aspect of the vineyard and its soil, the grapes are able to ripen to their fullest perfection year after year.

 

The top of the list for Jeff is sustainability and fruit quality that he is able to consistently deliver thanls to his close attention to detail and hands-on care that he puts into every growing season.

Alex Crawford

Alex is the man with the brands, focusing his time on shouting about anything and everything RedHeads to whoever wants to listen! He’s usually popping up around the place at different events talking people through the stories behind the labels of each wine; it’s best not to be camera-shy around him as he’s always on the lookout for new snaps to put on our Facebook and Instagram pages!

 

He’s worked in wine since 2011, which is basically his whole post-university career. To this day, whenever his degree topic comes up (Classical Studies and Theology…) people still ask if it was any use! So far we’ve yet to get a straight answer out of him…

 

Born and raised in the big smoke of Sydney, he’s travelled the world for wine, enjoying what so many different regions have to offer…  and the Barossa certainly ranks highly in his all-time list! His weekends, prior to sitting down with the odd glass of wine, are usually spent playing cricket for the local side.

Matt and Deb Poole

The Poole family - with Matt and Deb at the helm - are proud owners and operators of a vineyard based in Light Pass amongst the famous Barossa Valley wine region of South Australia.  The land and vineyard has been passed on through the generations of Deb’s family and their four children are sixth generation descendants. 

 

Matt and Deb have spent many years in the Barossa Valley and beyond, working in the wine industry – Matt as a Lab Technician/International Winemaker and Deb in Viticulture Administration; they also own a boutique wine agency in Port Douglas.

 

Thanks to the work and commitment of four Barossa generations before them, they were handed a gift – the family land that was first acquired in 1851 by Deb’s great, great Grandfather (Johann Sporn) and where our vineyard has been planted.  In true Barossa style, they intend to pass on the land and vineyard to their children to carry on the legacy.

 

As growers their philosophy is pretty simple: PAST, meet PROGRESS.  Thanks to all of their hard work, and that of the previous (and future) generations, PAST but PROGRESS is here to stay!

 

The vineyard itself is based on the “Valley Floor” and the North Para River runs through it.  The first of their Old Vine Shiraz was planted in 1954 and the vineyard has seen many different red and white varieties come and go over the years.  They currently specialise in Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.

 

Although no longer owned by the family, the original homestead built by Johann Sporn still stands today and overlooks the vineyard.  It includes many old buildings, a heritage listed blacksmith shop and beautifully manicured gardens.  It was here where Deb and Matt were married.  Thirty years ago, Deb’s late Grandmother penned the Sporn family history, somewhat prophetically.  She concluded her contribution with the following:  “Where are the descendants of Johann Friedrich Sporn, born 1824 in Seifferdorf, Germany?  Will any of his great grandchildren return to his land and carry on their heritage?”  Well Great, Great Grandfather Johann – the answer is a resounding YES!

Sam Mitchell

Sam is unashamedly a nerd. Wine nerd, politics nerd, nerd-nerd. Sam started her career in State politics working as a parliamentary researcher; analysing policy, writing speeches and working with community groups.

 

She joined the wine industry as a way to advocate the region she loves so much and its economic development. During her career within the wine industry, Sam has run Wine Clubs for some of the biggest wineries in the business, as well as developed masterclass tastings, and front of house. What she really loves is being behind the bar and having a laugh with guests.

Any opportunity to talk about food, wine and food, where to eat food, good home cooked food and food, she is in. Does eating count as a hobby? If you want a local restaurant recommendation, Sam is your girl. She has either worked their front of house, or is a regular. 

Sam is also an elected member in Local Government, outside of her cellar door commitments. If she isn’t behind the bar she is either at the gym, a council meeting, eating or showing you pictures of her dogs, even though you definitely didn’t ask her to.

Jane Ryan

In her own words, Jane is a “born and raised Barossa girl” who’s equally happy with a night in, cooking for friends or out at the cricket or football … as long as a few sneaky vinos are involved! She loves sport, although doesn’t get to play as much now as she would like, but she’s still actively involved in umpiring the local netball association. It’s this firm hand that’s going to help keep the RedHeads team in line!

 

Jane has been in the wine industry since she finished school and hasn’t looked back as she was lucky enough to find what she loved early in her career. She started out with casual cellar door work for a few years before moving into the production team for many years. Following that, she switched focus to winemaking support where she enjoyed a diverse role offering admin support to the winemaking and production teams. It’s been a fun and varied path she’s managed to do everything from cellar door work to lab assistant, cellar hand to logistics management and bottling line operation to production scheduling... to top it all off, she’s even started a winemaking degree!

Tim Bartsch

Originally dairy farmers around Echunga (a small town south east of Adelaide) who moved back home and went into grape growing about 15 years ago. Now they own three vineyards spanning from the south of Adelaide Hills (Echunga) to the North of the Adelaide hills (Forreston Vineyard).

A classic Adelaide Hills grower, Tim has has Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc planted across the three vineyards giving a great spectrum of the Adelaide Hills wine region. 

Tim and his wife also produce a small amount of Adelaide hills Shiraz that was on a property they purchased 5 years ago which they label and bottle themselves. The production is around 500 litres - we only make small batches but this is seriously tiny - made in the shed. Where else?!

The Chardonnay that goes into our Blue Belle is from the Forreston vineyard in the Adelaide Hills.

Trevor Boerth

Purchased as a sea change by an ex-telecomms manager... because of the view! Trevor fell in love with it that day, enquired and, amazingly, the property was for sale. So, he sold up his old place, bought the new land and started planting. The property has now been in the Boerth family since 1984; the vineyard came into being 16 years later. Not one to steer far from the classics, they planted Bordeaux's staples: Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

As with every grower we seem to come across the old vineyard dog, which seem to be always very well fed!

 

Trevor’s love of grape growing and winemaking must be genetic... his daughter, Sarah, is the partner of a premium winemaker in the McLaren Vale and his niece, Amanda Mader, is a viticulturist who's married to Mark, who's also a premium grower/winemaker.

The family also makes a small amount of wine for personal consumption along with close friends and family from their treasured Cabernet Sauvignon and the Cabernet Franc vines.

We might be a bit biased here but it is probably one of the most beautiful views from the vineyard in South Australia - quite possibly all of Australia, and the world! It's amazing to look out over the Vale floor to the ocean, truly spectacular. We can see how and why he fell in love with it all those years ago.

Alex Trescowthick

Our RedHeads Manager, the man with the grape liberating plan; taking us to daring new heights. 

 

Alex is from a family of grape growers where the cool climate of his home region - up in the Strathbogie Ranges - was perfect for their premium Pinot Noir, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. With grape growing and winemaking firmly in his mind, he couldn’t help but take on a degree in winemaking from Charles Sturt University (BAppSc).

 

A former winemaker, Alex has gained experience around the world in California, Jura and across Australia in the Barossa, Hunter and Margaret River. With all of that tucked under his belt, Alex decided to step back from the winemaking, to make sure we tick over smoothly and continue to develop our wines of character and personality. 

Check out a mini interview with Alex T here!

Richard & Anne Hughes

The original property was established in 1856 for fruit (peaches etc) and carried on until it became a dairy during World War 2 (for ice cream!). Initially grapes were then planted on the primary property around 1956 with Cabernet before it was mostly planted out with grapes in 1995. 

 

Richard & Anne are a lovely old farming couple with the perfect combination old-fashioned hard work and perfect manners. During our visit in November '16  they were both sat shucking broad beans together in the living room drinking a cup of tea.

 

Richard is the quintessential perfect Aussie gent who takes a great pride in his work. It's only when we got the personal tour of every vine that his passion fully resonated. It's hard not to be awestruck when you're going around the vineyard either; as one of the three most northern vineyards in the Clare Valley, there is a fantastic view of the surrounding area. 

The vineyard is planted with Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling, Shiraz and a few rows of Chenin Blanc. We currently take the Malbec, Cabernet and Shiraz back to the RedHeads Studio to craft into our Nobs & Snobs.

Darren Arney

This is a family operation in the Adelaide Hills that's dedicated to grape quality through sustainable viticulture while the family as whole devote a lot of their time to charitable causes.

 

Darren's vineyard is ion a site that reflects the best aspects of the Northern Rhône. It's got some great altitude for the area (380m) with fresh breezes livening up the area. As you might know, the Northern Rhône has a pretty famous Shiraz/Viognier blend... so we searched for the local equivalent. We source Shiraz and Viognier from Darren but he also grows some Sangiovese and Gruner Veltliner.

The family's social responsibility in the local area covers a wide range of those in need. Darren, his wife and children dedicate a lot of time to "those less fortunate, those who have suffered losses and setbacks, those who need an advocate to protect their livelihoods and wellbeing"

Lloyd Brothers

The Lloyd Brothers, David and Mathew, are third generation McLaren Vale vignerons. With this family history and a tie to the area, they have developed many strong links with the local community.

 

The estate, in Seaview, McLaren Vale, is considered among the locals as some of the finest terroir in the district. However, this isn't their first plot to be in charge of. Before happening on this estate, they tended vineyards in the Adelaide Hills and just down in the McLaren Vale, in Kangarilla.

 

One of the most exciting parcels on the vineyard is the organic Shiraz that sits on the southern slope overlooking the township with views of the Mount Lofty Rangers extending and touching the Gulf of St Vincent.

The Wards

Kerry and Anne Ward purchased the property in 1985 after running a contracting business. Kerry had always had a dream to go farming – and finding the ideal site – a 40 Ha at Armagh, 3 kilometres west of Clare. Previously he ran a chicken catching business… it turns out grapes are easier to grab hold of!

The first vines planted in 1988 were Semillon; this was followed by Shiraz, Cabernet, Malbec and Riesling planted from 1994 – 2002.

Kerry also has a family background in the wine industry: his dad, his uncle (a Jimmy Watson trophy winner), two of his cousins and a nephew are all winemakers! Quite a family CV!

They aim to grow “fit for purpose” grapes of high quality and have concentrated on old clones for the reds. The Shiraz is from one of the oldest clones in the Barossa and sourced from Kerry’s Dad’s original Lyndoch vineyard! The Malbec and Cabernet clones are of a similar age and were sourced from the Clare. The vineyard itself is also planted with Riesling and Semillon.

We love to work with the Wards because it’s a real “hands on” operation here. They manage all the on-ground practices, including pruning, with a dedication and passion that few can match.

Dan Graham

The latest member of the GreyHeads Alumni, Dan grew up at the heart of Aussie winemaking, in Griffith, New South Wales, where his dad was a vineyard owner (and still is, as was his father, too). So, from an early age, he was always out and about in the winery and constantly transfixed by all that was going on. We may do things very differently nowadays, but Dan still uses his dad as his first go-to if he ever needs a winemaking soundboard.

 

With normal teenage perversity, however, he decided to study Environmental Science at Adelaide University, rather than follow the natural winemaking path. But luckily that didn’t work out and, after a year, he came to his senses. Wine beckoned and he proceeded to ‘Do the Double’ – Viticulture and Oenology at the renowned Wagga Wagga University.

 

With that under his belt, the natural career progression into snowboarding made perfect sense…! By taking a job as a lift operator at a Canadian ski resort. However, wine was never far away as Dan was given the chance to work a vintage at Canada’s Okanagan wine region. Between 2010 and 2013, he clocked up experience in Australia’s Hunter and Barossa Valleys, at Peregrine in Central Otago, New Zealand, in Portugal working with Australia’s fantabulous Peter Bright, Italy’s Barolo, in Hermitage – France’s Holy Grail to Syrah – and in Castillon, Bordeaux.

  

Funk is the catchword in Oz right now and, with regard to grapes, that includes way-out varieties. In his spare time he likes playing with the unusual – Cinsault, Cariginan, Zinfandel, Touriga Nacional etc … just to see what they are like and to break out of the Shiraz / Cabernet mould sometimes. You can never expect the standard from Dan, or his wines for that matter!

 

Terroir, regionality and sustainability are key factors for Dan when it comes to sourcing grapes and producing wines. Using these, he’s able to source some incredible produce and create some outstanding wines that you really want to drink.

The Greyheads

It all started with RedHeads in the McLaren Vale in 2002, the idea being that it would be an exciting space with basic winemaking kit, to attract the finest young talent to come and have a go at some really creative winemaking. Forget the narrow strictures of their corporate day job and just make the wine they really wanted to.

 

It attracted both winemakers and some top growers who had never previously made wine, but had a yearning to see just what their precious grapes would taste like vinified solo.

 

A small group of growers were inspired by the idea and ‘ran’ with it … and haven’t looked back. They gained such experience and confidence at our RedHeads shed that they started sheds of their own – and have gone on to make Trophy-winning wines … Adam Hooper with his La Curio, Phil Christiansen now known as Godfather of Garage, Nat McMurtrie, Jess Hardy ... and more. They have earned their stripes with us, then gone on to even greater things.

 

We’ve started a movement out there. And now, even though we’ve gone a little further afield to the Barossa Valley, we retain the links with these original grower-winemakers, buying a few of their terrific wines, and exchanging ideas and knowledge on the location of the best fruit. We call them the GreyHeads.

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