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Friday 15 October 2021

Dissecting the art of winemaking


Take a batch of grapes from one Barossa vineyard planted 45 years ago. Share those grapes between six different winemakers and the end result is six different wines.

Artisans of the Barossa shared grenache grapes from the Merv John Vineyard at Light Pass - all picked on the same day in 2020 - between six of their members.

Each produced 480 bottles from their fruit allocation.

Visitors to the new Artisans tasting facility in Tanunda can examine the similarities and differences between the wines. And also enjoy a similar shiraz project. Take your pick.

Corey Ryan and Simon Cowham from Sons of Eden used 50% whole bunch and their fruit spent 19 days on skins in an egg-shaped fermenter, twice being foot plunged. Their wine then spent five months in seasoned oak puncheons - on lees. 

Greg and Alison Hobbs from Hobbs of Barossa Ranges took a different approach: 100% destemmed whole berries, seven days on skins, open fermentation, hand plunging and pumped over twice daily. The oak treatment, however. was similar. 

John and Tim Duval opted for seven months in four-year-old oak puncheons. And so on. 

The Grenache Project 2020 also features wine made stylistically differently from Craig Schell, Craig Stansborough and Mark Slade from Purple Hands and Jason Schwarz. 

The suggested tasting order from lightest to heaviest is: Schwarz, Schell, Stansborough/ Slade, Duval, Ryan/Cowham, Hobbs.

The Grenache Project was launched in 2017 and is aimed at improving understanding of grenache as a table wine in the Barossa. 

After a single row of Barossa grenache is allocated to each of the Artisan winemakers they are left entirely to their own devices when it comes to what happens next. 

The story of the 2020 Barossa vintage was very much of quality over quantity, with yields across the region down by up to 70% on the long-term average. 

That means quality is high - and a tasting of this nature is certainly a conversation starter. 

For details and bookings for a tasting visit


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