McLaren Vale, the first stop....
The month is July, the year is 2015. The Wine Brothers concept is merely an idea.
After a 8 hour flight from the overwhelming humidity of Hong Kong's summer we touch down in the city of churches, Adelaide. Our search for quality small batch wines has landed us in the state of South Australia, the state responsible for more than 50% of Australia's total wine production. Following a 45 minute drive south from the International Airport we depart the urban sprawl to be greeted by an open landscape; coastline and ocean to our right, vineyards and hills to our left. We are in McLaren Vale.
We have been lured to McLaren Vale Winemakers, a co-op style boutique winery, by founder Steve Grimley. Steve takes the time to explain the distinctive concept of McLaren Vale Winemakers while we wonder around the sprawling property. It soon becomes obvious that not only is the physical set-up of this winery different, but more importantly the motivation and mentality behind its creation is unique. This excites us!
McLaren Vale Winemakers acts as a hub for local winemakers to practice their trade. The relatively small winery (150 Tonne a year) provides the infrastructure and support (a team of in-house winemakers and cellar-hands) to allow individual winemakers an opportunity to produce their own small batch creations. The opened ended invitation and hospitable environment attracts an eclectic array of winemakers; they range from seasoned veterans (often employed by larger, commercial scale wineries in the area) moonlighting on their side projects, to local vineyard owners saving their best fruit for their own label, and even young rookies looking to learn off their seasoned colleagues. The winemakers come with their own fruit and their own ideas. The concept of having a blank canvas creates an environment of excitement, of creativity and most significantly, an unrivalled feeling of passion.