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.

Reflections on our opening weekend.

It’s a rare and wonderful thing to achieve a dream.

As I sit here in our Cellar Door, with the fire burning down low and the late afternoon sun coming in through the window, I know this moment is important and so I’m determined to take a few minutes to soak it all in.

In all the work over the last few years, in those uncertain, challenging moments I always had an image in my mind of the day we would first put our sign out on Krondorf Road. I could see it clearly in my imagination – walking down the driveway on a clear, winter’s morning, standing our “Cellar Door 500m” sign on the side of the Road and then turning back and seeing the Kaiser Stuhl and the Barossa Ranges sitting happily behind our property.

Of course, as it turns out, I went careening down the driveway at five minutes to 12 on Friday, threw the sign out and got back up to Cellar Door as fast as I could to welcome our first guests. Also, it’s now well and truly Spring now, but I think there’s a saying about the best laid (and overly romantic) plans…..  

So I’m taking that quiet, contemplative moment now, to reflect on everything that we’ve worked towards and the realisation of a fifteen year dream.

It’s been very grounding, meeting everyone this weekend, and realising that we’re now part of a broader Barossa narrative. I’ve loved hearing the stories of our guests – some locals, some regular visitors to the Barossa who fondly recall our late neighbour Rick Glastonbury and recognised a bottle of his wine on our mantle piece, or another group who came back on Sunday because they drank all their wine on Saturday night (hi Emma!).

We’ve had warm, generous feedback about the wines and the opportunity to share the story of this property a little more widely, which was the whole point of this caper in the first place.

The weather's been kind, the guests have been delightful and the work has been thoroughly enjoyable, which is a good thing because I see plenty more of it in our future. In fact, I feel I have a sense of what's to come on that front as only someone can who has hand labelled 20 dozen of bottles of wine, knowing full well there is over 200 dozen left to go. 

Our sincere thanks to those who visited, and to those who referred them - what a compliment *that* is. We're looking forward to many weekends to come. 

So here's cheers to the future, and to Krondorf Creek Farm. It's going to be amazing.