2017 and 2018 vintage updates

James spent yesterday going over all our 2017 and 2018 wines that are currently in barrel - checking them all carefully, topping barrels and adding sulphur where necessary to keep them in tip top condition. This is his traditional pre-vintage check, before everything gets a bit crazy as we bring in the 2019 fruit and concentrate on that for a little while.

2017 was a bigger, wetter year here in the Barossa, and the wines look rich and flavourful. The Shiraz is full bodied, with long length, richness and a beautiful chocolate undertone.

The Cabernet Sauvignon is beautifully varietal in this cooler, wetter year - showing classic herbacious, green capsicum characteristics.

We definitely have less Grenache and Mataro in 2017; the Mataro particularly looks great, with bright, lifted fruit and a lovely long length.. We haven’t made final blending decisions with these wines yet, so we’re not sure what configuration of wines we’ll end up with. Stay tuned!

2018 was a magic vintage - everything you wanted to see, with great conditions all lined up one after the other.

James described the wines as being solid across the board - a great year for all the wines.

The Grenache was a highlight for him, although there are only two barrels, so we’ll have to make some hard decisions about where this ends up.

The Shiraz was bright and elevated with a gorgeous nose and soft, ripe fruit on the palate - delicious!

James described the wines generally as being rich, full bodied and with great length.

We’re really excited to see these wines as they continue to develop in barrel for another year or so.

A few other notes - we rotate our barrels to 2pm, so that the bung sits slightly off centre - just enough to make sure it’s kept wet. This creates a vacuum in the barrel (you can hear the tell-tale sucking noise as you release the bung the next time you look at the wine) which means the barrels can sit undisturbed for longer periods of time. The less often you have to test, top up or disturb the wine, the less sulphur you need to add over the life of the wine.

And finally, we only use old barrels to age our wines because we don’t want oak to be an overpowering influence - we really want the beautiful, soft fruit to be the primary element you can see in the wines.

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So there’s a little vintage update for you. We’re getting ready for picking and looking forward to getting the 2019 crop off and into the winery. Stay tuned for more updates!

We ❤️ Mataro!

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One of the greatest privileges of owning and running your own business is the opportunity to make decisions completely unencumbered by external factors. James and I aren’t answerable to Directors or Shareholders or a Financial Officer…. that’s a great feeling!

And it means we can do things like release a straight Mataro, which has proven to be one of our most popular wines in the short time that our Cellar Door has been open. James and I both really love Mataro, and we’re so pleased that it’s struck a cord with our guests as well.

Often our visitors say that the variety isn’t familiar to them, but sometimes when we explain that Mataro is another name for the variety Mourvédre they realise they have tried it before, and that if you’ve ever had a GSM blend, you’ve most certainly enjoyed a little Mataro in your glass.

As a stand-alone variety, our Mataro is bright and vibrant, with lovely lifted fruit and a juicy, mouthwatering finish. It’s a versatile grape, so it’s just as possible that you’ve enjoyed Mataro as an inky, fully bodied Barossa red with serious clout, or even as one of the sweet, fortified styles that were so beloved in Australia up to the 1950s.

Mataro has been planted in the Barossa since the early 1800s, and in fact there’s a tiny little patch of Mataro - eight rows - in Rowland Flat, just down the road from us, that still survives and is believed to be the oldest Mataro vineyard in the world. It was planted in 1853 by Johan Koch and is today tended by the seventh generation of the Koch family.

While there are plenty of Mataro blends in the Barossa, finding it as a stand-alone variety isn’t the easiest task, so the next time you’re in Cellar Door, make sure you ask for some recommendations of where to find it. We’ll be very happy to jot you out a list of our favourites!

Our beloved bush vine Mataro

Our beloved bush vine Mataro

Why bushvines?

The only way to access our Cellar Door is via the winding driveway that meanders its way through our 13 acre vineyard. Planting that vineyard was the first priority for James when he purchased this property 15 years ago, and today the love and care that he’s poured into it pays enormous dividends. We make our wines exclusively from that beautiful fruit, all grown here in Krondorf.

James heading out to the vineyard on his trusty quad bike.

James heading out to the vineyard on his trusty quad bike.

One question we often get asked in Cellar Door is why the vines are planted in different configurations - Shiraz and Cabernet in the recognisable trellised formation, and a cluster of Mataro and Grenache planted as bushvines at the entrance to the property.

Bushvine Grenache vineyard at sunset

Bushvine Grenache vineyard at sunset

There are two answers to that questions. Firstly, we are particularly interested in the heritage and history of the Barossa and we try to preserve that in as many ways as we can. Traditionally vineyards were always planted as bushvines - it was only once mechanisation became commonplace after the Second World War that trellised vineyards presented an advantage, because suddenly you could use tractors to work the vineyards, and you needed uniform rows and spacing to do that. Hence trellises became the norm.

But the second reason is that Mataro and Grenache particular like a little bit of warmth - they love the warm temperate climate of the Barossa and we help them along a little by planting them as bushvines. The wider reach of the canes means that more sunlight can penetrate into the canopy, while being lower to the ground means that they benefit from radiated warmth from the soil, which has soaked up all the sun’s rays during the day and then beams it back up into the bushvine even after the sun has set.

You do get slightly lower yields from bushvines and of course they’re much more labour intensive to care for, but the benefits tell at Vintage, when that gorgeous, concentrated, rich, ripe fruit makes its way into the winery and we reap the rewards of another year’s work in the vineyard.

So the next time you’re visiting Cellar Door, slow down a little as you drive up the driveway, and you’ll notice our bushvine vineyard - a little nod to the traditions of the past, and the foundation of the future of our family business.

Tasting the fruits of our labour in the vineyard that produced it two years previously. Heavenly!

Tasting the fruits of our labour in the vineyard that produced it two years previously. Heavenly!

The story behind the label

We went through a long, slow, contemplative process to design the Krondorf Creek Farm logo which features so prominently on our wine label, and we went through a number of iterations before we decided on this, final version.

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It was a very personal, reflective process and it forced us to really interrogate our fledgling business. We asked a lot of questions of ourselves: who are we? What do we want to stand for, and to communicate to our guests and customers? Ultimately, the process which distilled everything for us was to ask, over and over again: “Why?” Why are we working to restore 150 year old stone buildings? Why are we investing in re-vegetating the creek line? Why are we making wine from grapes we grow ourselves? Why are we only selling our wines directly to our customers through cellar door and not through any retail or wholesale outlets? And the answer to that question was always the same:

We’re doing this to return Krondorf Creek Farm back to its former, productive glory as a bustling and sustainable mixed farming property.

Everything we do, every decision we make, every plan we consider is always judged against this purpose: bringing this beautiful property back to life as a sustainable base for our family. This is why we restore the buildings rather than bulldoze them and build cost-effective sheds; it’s why we work hard to preserve and protect the micro-ecosystem here. It’s definitely why we invite guests to visit us and experience the property first hand, to taste the wine, walk the vineyards with us and discover the connection between our property and our business.  We value-add the grapes we grow in the same way that the Lindner family butchered the sheep they raised in the paddocks that are now our vineyards. You simply can’t get a sense of this from a bottle of wine bought in a liquor store, and it's this personal connection to the Barossa and to this property that we want to give to every one of our guests. 

Which brings us back to our label. The three hand drawn structures are the barn, the dairy and the water tank in the exact configuration that you’ll see as your drive up the driveway to our cellar door. Our logo is born from the property and anchors us in this place; it’s a reminder to every one of our guests of the contribution they’ve made to helping us restore this property and a symbol of our gratitude for their support.    

At the end of this long, exploratory process, we’ve developed a logo which we feel represents us honestly and with pride. So the next time you’re coming for a visit, pause for a moment at the top of the driveway and you’ll see the three structures fall into line in a way that may seem very familiar…. We look forward to welcoming you to Krondorf Creek Farm soon.