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Friday 3 September 2021

Tough times produce good wines

It is 15 years since the Tar & Roses wine brand was launched by Narelle King and her late business partner Don Lewis. 

The duo began making wine in the late 1990s after Narelle completed of a winemaking degree at Charles Sturt University. 

While working together at Mitchelton Wines, the pair soon developed a mutual respect for each other’s winemaking skills, as well as a shared admiration for the wine and food experiences.

What started as a small passion project  has transformed in a range of excellent - and affordable - wines from Victoria’s Goulburn Valley. 

Tar & Roses is the love child of grapes of Mediterranean heritage wine; including Spain and Italy. Think pinot grigio, a nebbiolo rosé, a tempranillo and a sangiovese. 

But the road has not been an easy one for King, who has been flying solo since Lewis, a former Jimmy Watson Trophy winner, died in 2017. 

“Don loved Tar & Roses and what we had been able to achieve," she says. "It gives me great pleasure to think of how we’ve continued and grown the brand successfully in his absence. 

"He would be so happy to see how many people now love and drink the unique pinot grigio we produce.” 

Tar & Roses was inspired by time both winemakers spent travelling around Mediterranean wine regions. 

They sourced fruit from Heathcote, the Strathbogie Ranges, King Valley and even some from Priorat in Spain.

Tar & Roses is based in Nagambie, a small country town north of Melbourne. 

“Having the opportunity to produce an array of different varieties from various, celebrated areas around Victoria has allowed Tar & Roses to engage with multiple vineyards and wineries, each with its own distinct personalities and quirks,” says King. 

The 2021 Pinot Grigio (around $22) is a seriously delicious standout, with the savoury tempranillo and juicy sangiovese well worth a look. 

“It makes me happy to think of our achievements over time, the problems we overcame, the fun we had along the way and the joy our wines bring to so many people,” King says.

"Life is short, and you do really need to “just do it”. I think Covid has taught us to appreciate that and what’s important in our lives. Just like good coffee, you should enjoy the things that make you happy, especially fine wine.”


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