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Tuesday 30 December 2014

It's a family affair as grape growers become star wine producers

The Kalleske family does not like to rush things.

The Kalleskes have been farming and growing grapes outside the village of Greenock in South Australia's Barossa Valley since 1853.
Tony and Troy Kalleske 

They have long been known as one of the region's leading grape-growing families – selling quality fruit to many of the region's leading producers.

But it was only just over a decade ago that seventh generation family member, Troy Kalleske, together with his brother, Tony, built the Kalleske winery and made the family's first wines, released in 2004.

The winery is situated on the family estate, where traditional wine-making techniques ensure the vineyard realises its full potential.

The vineyard is managed by Troy's and Tony’s parents, John and Lorraine, and brother, Kym and is planted with shiraz, grenache, cabernet sauvignon, semillon, chenin blanc, mataro, petit verdot, durif, viognier, tempranillo and zinfandel.

The vines vary in age with the oldest remaining vineyard dating back to 1875 and an overall average vine age of about 50 years. The vineyard is low yielding with all grapes grown organically and biodynamically and the winery is also certified biodynamic/organic.

The Kalleske family say sustainable farming has worked for them for generations and they see themselves as “caretakers of the land” who not only want to maintain the environment but improve it for future generations.

All Kalleske wines are estate grown and vinified with minimalist wine-making techniques.

In 2013, Kalleske was named best organic wine producer of the year at the AWC International Wine Challenge in Vienna, Austria, one of the world's most prestigious wine competitions, as well as being the sustainability award winner at the 2013 South Australian Regional Awards.

Genuine sustainability and careful environmental practices continue to be at the core of Kalleske farming, grape growing and wine making.” says Troy Kalleske.

Certified organic and biodynamic practices in the vineyard and winery ensure the soil, air and waterways are not polluted with synthetic chemicals and fertilisers.

Organic/biodynamic farming is not only good for the environment but it ensures the grapes produced are more wholesome with vitality and integrity that reflect the origins of our Kalleske vineyard.

Farming the vineyard organically and biodynamically is the truly natural way of farming ensuring ultimate sustainability, authenticity and quality. It is all about balance and harmony.”

And the Kalleskes do not just pay lip service to sustainability, with Troy saying the farm should be as self-sufficient as possible.

Solar energy runs the entire winery, while a 250,000-litre rainwater tank captures water from the winery and farm sheds. And in the winery itself everything is kept simple.

We rely on natural yeasts, do not use added tannins or fining agents and the wines are naturally clarified through gravity (racking) without filtration,” says Troy.

Today the Kalleske range includes wines ranging from $120 a bottle to $18 – a total of 8,000 cases a year that are exported around the world. 

Of course the Kalleskes also took their time launching a cellar door – but after a year or two of procrastination one is now open at 6 Murray Street in sleepy Greenock. Wine is available for tasting by the glass and bottle seven days a week from 10am-5pm, along with regional food platters (above right). 

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