I have been asked this week what ‘super premium’ wines really means? I own a super premium winery and all I can do is offer you what it means to me. I do not own a vineyard, I just own a winery. It is a small shed full of winery equipment. I do not have any staff and when I make a wine I do it on my property, by myself. From time to time a friend or other young winemaker will come and help out, perhaps drink a beer or two and nurture some grapes into their new homes.
When I select fruit I chose the best fruit from the best vineyards. I only use very small parcels of grapes, so I am often able to get access to a row here and there from some of the most incredible vineyards that you can image. When the fruit arrives (red or white) it is forked by hand into a small crusher and then pressed or sent to the small fermenters and turned into the most interesting wine that I can create. Sometimes that involves a great deal of intervention, other times very little.
The result is always a great wine. Sometimes the vintage is challenging, by offering fruit of lower ripeness. 2011 was such a vintage. The white wines were magnificent that year and the reds were light, but if you shut your eyes and drop your nose into a glass of that red wine, you would swear you were in the Rhone Valley. In the Barossa, we get some of the most perfect weather for ripening grapes and most years we are very lucky to be able to make wines from some of the best fruit in Australia.
Super Premium wines are not made in million litre tanks, nor are they made by automated processing machines. They are made by hand, often a few bunches at a time until they are perfect.