January 07, 2018

Back in 2005, after two bumper vintages we had some Shiraz grapes left over from what would normally be provided to one of the many different wineries we supplied grapes to, with no other options for the fruit a couple options were staring at us in the face.

  1. Harvest all the excess fruit and dump it on the ground.
  2. Make some of it into wine ourselves and go one better than attempting to make wine in a home brew kit, and make a couple tonne of Shiraz in one of our 2.5 tonne grape bins.

Option 2 was an easy choice!

The fruit we chose to use was that from one of our Northern Barossa Shiraz blocks, beautiful old soils that help the vine produce rich, black and concentrated grapes.

And once the fruit was picked we had to start the process of making the wine.

Only problem was I didn’t have any winemaking equipment!

So I went begging to friends and family to borrow some of theirs!

  • Helper 1 – My brother-in-law, Aaron and sister Julie, to destem the Shiraz and tip it straight into the bins.
  • Step 2 – Put it on the back of the trailer and tow it back to our place on Research Road.
  • Step 3 - Ferment it. No problem, this is all pretty straight forward.


  • Step 4 – Crap the ferment starts to get hot.

What to do (!?)

  • Drive back to Aaron’s, pump the juice into his cooling vat, chill it down, pump back over the warm skins and back home I go.
  • A few days later and ferment is slowing
  • I need to keep it warm so the ferment finishes

Another what to do moment!

So it’s time to ask for more help! Mum, I’m going to need your garage for a few days!

She was a bit unsure at first but as a true great mum does she caves into my request and I reverse the trailer in!

Now the wine stays warm and the ferment goes all the way through to sugar dryness.

One thing left to do…

Press the wine of the skins.

                Hmmm need a press now!

I give one of Dads mates Mike Mecuri a call and he graciously says “Yep, you can use mine…”

So, off I go on the 30-minute drive in the truck to a little town at the Southern end of the Barossa called Lyndoch to collect it.

Get there and he’s not around but told me I can load myself with his rattly old forklift.

Rrr, rrr, rrr, rrrrr. It doesn’t start… No fuel.

So I call Mike and 30 minutes later, he arrives with some fuel (and blames some guy called Milko for it having no fuel!).

Loaded and away, I go back home once again and ready for pressing.

As a first time-effort, my other brother-in-law, sister, nephews, folks and a good mate come around on a Friday evening to press the wine must.

A great night had by all and the wine turned out pretty good considering the journey it (and me!) went on to make it!

A truly rewarding experience seeing the wine go to barrel made with some amazing help from many and one that helped see the beginnings of our transformation from 6th Generation grape growers to wine makers.

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