Miranda sisters produce an ideal winery blend

An ideal blend of skills has placed three sisters at the helm of Lou Miranda Estate in the Barossa. Since 2005, Lisa and Victoria Miranda have steered business at the winery that carries their father’s name, but the recent arrival of their sibling Angela as winemaker, bringing more than a decade of international experience, makes the family business complete after a careful 14-year progression.

Angela, who was previously Pernod Ricard’s UK packaging operations manager, US packaging operations manager and technical operations manager in the Barossa, came back to her family’s winery at Rowland Flat in mid-February – after vintage had already started – and acted fast to ensure the family’s progression as a boutique wine brand continues.

“We’d always intended for Angela to join us, but she was reluctant to leave her previous position which saw her travelling most of the year to emerging wineries in China, India and New Zealand,” says Victoria. “Once she came back to work in the Barossa, the decision to join us just seemed like a natural fit.”

The Miranda sisters, Lisa, left, Miranda and Angela of Lou Miranda Estate in the Barossa Valley.

It’s the latest step in a long journey for Lou Miranda’s family, which moved to the Barossa from Griffith in 1991 so that the former Miranda wine brand (which was then among Australia’s larger family-owned wine companies) could access more high-quality fruit.

The big old winery building, erected in 1919, became a weekend playground for the young Miranda girls while their father and mother worked, and later became their own workplace, after they turned 18, as they each took turns serving at the cellar door.

It provided them with a useful skill set when big change came after McGuigan Wines bought the Miranda label in 2003, splitting the broader Miranda family’s wine connections.

For a while, Lou’s family continued to sell Miranda wines from the cellar door, but in 2005, they transformed the Barossa property into a separate identity as Lou Miranda Estate – and Lou’s daughters stepped to the forefront of the business, with Lisa drawing on her sales background and Victoria bringing graphic design skills.

“Dad wasn’t ready to retire, and he had no problem at all with his girls taking the reins,” says Lisa. “We had always been involved in everything along the way. We never thought of ourselves as girls facing any obstacles. We were simply this family’s next generation, moving the business forward.”

Lou Miranda handed the reigns of the boutique winery to his three daughters Lisa, Victoria and Angela.

It was daunting to start again – “We had zero customers, and now we are selling 25,000 cases per year” – but the daughters say they had Lou’s complete confidence to build the business on the back of his experience and their fresh ideas.

Their foundation was the winery at Rowland Flat – previously the Liebich family’s Rovalley winery, which had passed through several sets of hands, but still had the same infrastructure and – more importantly – large reserves of the fortified wines that Rovalley was famous for, stored in the original 7000-litre oak vats that the Liebichs had constructed in 1919.

Angela has revived her fortified winemaking skills, learned through such luminaries as David Morris (Morris of Rutherglen) and Philip Laffer (chief winemaker at Jacob’s Creek), because fortified wines still hold strong appeal for cellar door customers, and was the focus of fortified masterclasses held in the winery during the recent Barossa Vintage Festival.

Many more treasures have greeted Angela in the winery – including fruit from serious 90-plus-year-old shiraz vines (the best being reserved for the $150 Master Piero shiraz, named after Victoria’s first son), and recent plantings of pinot grigio and sagrantino grapes. “Lou was interested in adding Italian varieties but didn’t want to do the same as everyone else,” explains Lisa.

It’s a surprise for these wines to appear in the Barossa, especially a bright, crunchy pinot grigio built in the authentic Italian style around a firm acidic spine. Even more impressive is sagrantino made light and spicy with bright blueberry and liquorice flavours, rather than being heavy and overly tannic as many of these wines from Umbria in Italy are made.

Equally impressive is old vine grenache made in a lively style with juicy raspberry held in check by firm tannins; and a rich blend of old vine shiraz and mourvédre from the 110-year-old Angels vineyard at Lyndoch.

Many wine drinkers remain unaware of these changes, as the family’s popular Leone brand has primarily been noted for its value wines, and the elite Lou Miranda Estate wines are largely a mystery.

The challenge now is for the three sisters to promote these new wines through marketing initiatives that include in-home tasting parties, where a staff wine consultant presents the Lou Miranda Estate and Leone wine ranges for groups of up to eight guests in their homes.

“We have a lot to do,” says Angela, who adds that the full extent of the Miranda sisters’ work won’t be immediately evident, because the cruel 2019 vintage has produced scant volumes of fruit – including a paltry 300 litres (one barrel) of old vine shiraz. “Our best,” adds Angela with a grin, “is yet to come.”

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6 ways to spend a weekend in the Barossa Valley

South Australia’s Barossa Valley is the heart of the big, bold shiraz, quaint bed and breakfasts and more restaurant experiences than your trouser waistline can handle.

It’s a region that prides itself on producing some of the world’s best wines, and is scattered with cellar doors, cafés, restaurants, gourmet trails and visitor experiences showcasing gastronomic delights.

The Barossa Valley attracts a high proportion of interstate overnight visitors (35% of all visitors) and generates $190 million in visitor expenditure (Tourism Research Australia, 2017).

But with many towns, including Angaston, Lyndoch, Nurioopta, Tanunda and Williamstown, to explore it can be hard to decide which places to hit first.

Here’s a guide for the best wine tasting, gin sipping and cheese grazing activities to indulge in, plus something a little spooky and out of the ordinary. Hint: Ghosts in Kapunda!

The grand Yalumba just outside of Angaston.

1. Venture along Seppeltsfield Road
A must see for first-time Barossa visitors, Seppeltsfield Road is one of the most renowned stretches of road in the region and is lined with tall palm trees dating back to the 1930s.

The tourist hotspot Seppeltsfield is a must-visit, featuring a winery and cellar door, Fino restaurant, café, art gallery, craft workshops and studios and the Vasse Virgin skin care factory all in one.

Give yourself a couple of hours to explore the entire Seppeltsfield estate, including a complementary wine tasting or premium wine flight at the cellar door, and a wander around the European-style gardens.

Those wanting to indulge in something a little fancy can venture over to Fino Restaurant for a long-lunch experience while those after more relaxed, casual vibes will enjoy regional cheese platters, toasted paninis, and snacks at Benno’s Kiosk and picnic grounds.

Also, explore JamFactory shop for beautiful SA and Australian-made artworks, sculptures, vases, jewellery and homewares, and the contemporary craft and design studios. Make sure you stop by Barry Gardner the knife maker’s (mesmerising to watch) workshop.

Of course Seppeltsfield Road is home to a number of other top destinations including Whistler Wines, Seppeltsfield Road Distillers and many more cellar doors.

The Seppeltsfield estate is an all-in-one visitor experience. Photo: Seppeltsfield.

2. Explore Angaston’s main street
Angaston is a charming and well-kept country town with a small main street that will occupy you for hours.

Start by fueling up on coffee and Italian pastries at Casa Carboni in the morning (or enrol in a cooking class!) before cheese tasting and stocking up on haloumi, brie, camembert, feta and other cheesy delights at Barossa Valley Cheese Company next door.

Sit back and relax with a bowl of pasta at the cosy Wanera Wine Bar nearby and walk it off by wandering past the quaint cottages and old buildings including the magnificent grey marble town hall on Washington Street.

Finish off the afternoon by enjoying a glass of shiraz at Saltram Wines, a 160-year-old estate with old charm at the entrance to Angaston on the Angaston to Nuriootpa Road.

Matteo and Fiona Carboni are behind Casa Carboni Italian Cooking School and Enoteca. Read our story on them here.

3. Stock up on the sweet stuff at Barossa Valley Chocolate Company.
One of the Barossa’s newest and exciting destinations, Barossa Valley Chocolate Company opened just before Easter and is an all-in-one chocolate factory, cellar door, café and ice creamery.

At the centre of the facility is a mesmerising chocolate wall, inspired by the Venchi Cioccolato e Gelato in Florence, while visitors can also take wonder in watching the chocolatiers at work through a glass viewing area into the factory itself.

The range of sweet treats is extensive and includes the classics milk, dark, white and the newer Ruby chocolate, while unique additions include a salted caramel and cider truffle, as well as a signature truffle infused with sparkling wine.

The chocolate company is also home to Benni’s Café, which has a menu heavy on local produce, a cellar door showcasing Vineyard Road wines and a serene outdoor deck.

Wine lovers can take part in a specially-curated chocolate and wine pairing, while chocolate making classes will be introduced in the near future. A great visitor experience for families and people of all ages.

The Barossa Valley Chocolate Company in Tanunda is a great spot for families, chocolate lovers, wine drinkers and those just wanting to take time out for a while.

4. Spend an afternoon at Provenance Barossa
A food and wine lover’s delight, Provenance is best explored with a couple of hours to spare. The blend of Barossa businesses includes Penfolds wine sales and cellar door where visitors can taste what the region is famous for – the world-renowned Grange – as well as other premium drops.

Pop into Ember Pizza and get stuck into one of their pizzas, and finish it off with a gin and tonic around the corner at Barossa Distilling Company.

There is also artisan coffee roaster Bean Addiction to explore and Steiny’s Traditional Mettwurst’s new tasting room to check out. Stein’s Taphouse will satisfy beer drinkers with 14 craft beverages to choose from on tap, and over 80 more in cans or bottles.

Last but not least there’s Home of the Brave wine and tapas room at The Provenance where you can fill up on delicious tapas matched with drops of your choice from First Drop Wines.

There’s a lot to explore at The Provenance, you might need more than one occasion to experience it all!

Barossa Distilling Company is located at Barossa Provenance a hub of food, beverage and tourism businesses.

5. Choose SA at the Barossa Farmers Market
Chat to local producers about how their food is grown and made, stock up on fresh produce and treat yourself to something special, such as a bottle of olive oil, a pack of freshly roasted coffee or blended tea, a tub of honey, or a selection of smallgoods.

The Barossa Farmers Market is a community produce market running every Saturday (7.30–11.30am) undercover in the Vintners Sheds, Angaston. Check the website on Friday afternoons for an update on stallholders who will be present.

Head for the Breakfast Bar for a coffee by Bean Addiction and munch on a breakfast burger before browsing the stalls, many of which offer samples to try before you buy. The market is a good way of getting a taste for many local food producers and beverages in the one spot.

Sample local produce, treat yourself to a morning coffee and pastry and stock up on fresh produce and goodies at the Barossa Farmers Market. Photo by SATC/Sven Kovac.

6. Get spooked on the Kapunda Ghost Crime Tour
Kapunda is an old mining town just outside of the Barossa and is regarded as the most haunted town in Australia. It’s also home to the most haunted pub in the country, the North Kapunda Hotel.

History buffs and those into a bit of paranormal activity will be in their element, while those who are easily spooked may not!

The Kapunda Ghost Crime Tour will take you on a three-hour tour around Kapunda and into some of the town’s most haunted buildings including the North Kapunda Hotel and the Chapel Street Theatre which was once a church.

Your tour guide will recount stories from Kapunda’s famous haunted past, share tales of locals who met unfortunate endings and notorious cases that will send chills down your spine.

Held every Friday and Saturday night, the ghost tour departs from the North Kapunda Hotel and will take you into dark, gloomy places (which is all part of the fun!) including the pub’s basement which was once a morgue.

You’re not guaranteed to see a real ghost or feel a ‘presence’, but you are encouraged to record on your mobile phone and to take pictures, as technology may pick up things your eyes won’t! Spooky.

Editor’s note: highly recommend fuelling up on a chicken schnitzel at the Kapunda North Hotel beforehand!

Header image by Drea Chong.

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Mother’s Day: SA’s top chefs share their favourite family eating spots

Mother’s Day is approaching on Sunday, May 12 – a chance to spoil the greatest women in our lives. What a better way to show your appreciation by treating Mum to a meal out at one of South Australia’s dining establishments – and supporting local jobs and producers along the way! Brand SA News contributor Vanessa Keys hunted down some of our state’s top’s chefs to discover where they’ll be taking their family this Mother’s Day.

Georgie Rogers is head chef at East End Cellars.

“Mum and I love driving out to regional restaurants and making a day of it. The Lane at Hahndorf is a favourite – the view is spectacular and Jimmy’s (head chef James Brinklow) food is always a delight.

We also go to Mum’s local pub The Kentish a lot – their smoky paprika hummus with ground lamb is amazing. For brunch, I recommend the scrambled eggs at Hey Jupiter. They’re light and creamy – definitely the best in Adelaide.”

Georgie Rogers of East End Cellars.

Nikkita Wood is the pastry chef and manager at Comida. She also runs catering business A Place at the Table.

“I prefer to stay home on Mother’s Day and avoid the crowds. I usually do a brunch spread with Mum’s favourite goodies from the Adelaide Central Market – Fleurieu Milk yoghurt, KI honey, fruit from House of Organics, pastries from Dough, Brillat-Savarin triple cream from Smelly Cheese, plus my homemade granola and jams.

As a family, we love Sukhumvit Soi 38 on Pulteney Street – the flavours are incredible and the dishes great for sharing. For Sunday lunch, we head up to Terroir Auburn in the Clare Valley. Dan and Annika have taken over the café next door to the restaurant and the food is top notch.”

Comida pastry chef and manager Nikkita Wood, right, with her mother and sister.

Jeffrey Trotter is head chef at the Hagen Arms, and Five O’Clock Somewhere.

“One of our favourites for brunch is Pane e Latte. Order the breakfast carbonara – the baked spaghetti gives it the perfect crunch – and the paccheri al ragu di polpo, which is hands down the best octopus ragu in Adelaide, if not Australia.

For dinner, we love Parwana – they have three menus that they rotate throughout the week. Bring your own wine – their BYO charge goes to the homeless. And for Sunday lunch, Casa Carboni in Angaston is a must. (Owners) Matteo and Fiona make you feel like family, and everything is prepared fresh with produce from the Barossa markets. You feel like you’re in a tiny Italian village.”

Jeffrey Trotter of the Hagen Arms pub in Echunga.

Jodie Zerna is head chef at My Grandma Ben.

“This Mother’s Day I’ll be cooking at My Grandma Ben and hopefully giving all the mothers a day off! We don’t dine out a lot as a family – we tend to have barbecues and bring a plate to share – but when I visit my sister in Christies Beach, we always get fish, chips and tabouli at Champion Takeaway. Ask for the fresh flake – they catch it themselves.

For a cheap lunch, we head to Pho Minh in Mansfield Park – order the pho with oxtail, tripe and tendon. And for brunch, the spicy ramen at Black Dog Gallery in Tusmore is a must (and great for a hangover).

If we’re feeling fancier, we head down to Salopian Inn in McLaren Vale for local SA seafood and something green from their kitchen garden.”

Jodie, right, with her mum and sister.

Luke and Anthony Savas run Pan & Vine.

“We usually spend Mother’s Day at Yiayia and Papou’s (grandparents) house. Mum will serve her signature dish – Moroccan chicken – with Yiayia’s homemade apricot jam marinade.

When we go out, we head to Shobosho and order the roast leek and the kingfish sashimi with yuzu dressing. For brunch, we love the Exchange Specialty Coffee – the Wallace sandwich with avocado, pancetta and chipotle mayo is an institution.”

The Savas brothers of Pan & Vine in Kent Town.

Caitlin Duff runs Sibling café.

“Sibling’s open on Mother’s Day, so we’ll spend the morning there and then head to Mum’s for afternoon tea – this is a special one as it’s my first as a new mum.

For Sunday lunch, our go-to is Fino at Seppeltsfield. There’s eight of us siblings and partners all with varying preferences and they never skip a beat in accommodating us all.

As a family, we go to Goodness Coffee Co in Aldinga every single day (sometimes twice) because their coffee is so good. And we love to drop into My Grandma Ben at Plant 4 Bowden when we visit The Lost Loaf to pick up our bread order. Order the roo stack – it’s delicious and ethical.”

Nathaniel Morse and Caitlin Duff at Sibling café.

Kane Pollard is head chef at Topiary.

“For a relaxed family meal, we head to the Stanley Bridge Tavern. They have a great wine list and tasty small plates – the hummus and wedges with house chilli jam are both great.

For brunch, we love Acacia at Henley Beach. Do the tasting menu – (chef) Duane does an incredible job of piecing flavours together that push you a little out of your comfort zone. We also recently had breakfast at C.R.E.A.M, which was pretty impressive. The donut breakfast sandwich felt a little wrong but so incredibly right at the same time. I had it with a side of buttermilk fried chicken – delicious.”

Kane Pollard, left, of Topiary in Tea Tree Gully.

Feature image: The Lane, Adelaide Hills, SATC.

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Brilliant new batch of SA chefs rising

A new league of star chefs is making a big impression on South Australia’s dining scene. They are driving restaurant kitchens with aplomb and flair, even though many have taken the top job in kitchens for the first time, and their inventive menus are enticing a steady stream of curious diners.

Annual festival Tasting Australia has helped shine a light on this activity. In celebrating the nation’s best culinary experiences, the festival’s series of special banquets and dining events have put rising SA chefs in the spotlight, celebrating the flair and talent at work in our top restaurants.

Daniel Murphy is making a significant fine dining statement since taking over the stoves at Appellation restaurant, at The Louise resort in the Barossa, although his rise comes as no surprise to Barossa locals.

Daniel has cooked in the region at Fino Seppeltsfield, Saltram’s and was recently head chef at St Hugo Restaurant (ironically working beside executive chef Mark McNamara, who established the Appellation kitchen 12 years ago). Daniel’s first opportunity to construct his own menu has resulted in bold presentations of the finest regional fare.

Daniel Murphy of Appellation restaurant at The Louise resort in the Barossa Valley.

Max Sharrad recently moved from his head chef role at innovative pan-Asian hotspot Shobosho to now drive the stoves at Nido in Hyde Park. This new attraction, one of restaurateur Simon Kardachi’s popular suite of hip eateries, was beloved by locals through 20 years when it was called The Pot, before a recent refurbishment and change in style to an informal Italian-accented menu.

Max, who cut his teeth in the kitchen brigade at Orana, won the national Young Chef of the Year at the 2018 Appetite for Excellence Awards.

Oliver Edwards came to The Summertown Aristologist in the Adelaide Hills after leaving chic Melbourne dining den Cumulus Inc. He was inspired to dig for his own fresh vegetables on a nearby farm, then find inventive ways to present them as the primary attractions in his ever-changing Aristologist menu.

His hands-on commitment to producing all dishes from scratch extends to milling his own wheat (for house-baked sourdough bread) and corn, making cheeses, vinegars, preserves and smallgoods.

Oliver Edwards of Adelaide Hills establishment The Summertown Aristologist.

Such incisive thinking about food informs striking authenticity and integrity on the plate, capturing supreme freshness and vitality in a range of dishes that change almost weekly, in accordance with what Oliver harvests from the farm.

Tom Tilbury has made sustainability his signature, taking a serious view of the paddock-to-plate philosophy that ensures his menus at Gather @ Coriole in McLaren Vale embrace flavour from the ground up.

Foraging formed an integral part of the kitchen output at his previous restaurant – the tiny Gather Food and Wine in Robe – and has remained important to him since moving to the bountiful Coriole Vineyards estate last year. Tom’s close relationship with local farmers brings maximum freshness to his seasonal dishes.

Quentin Whittle at Herringbone is no stranger to Adelaide diners, although this is the first time that he has an ownership stake in a restaurant. He has a wealth of impressive cooking experience, from The Melting Pot, through The Stranded Store at Colonel Light Gardens, to Stone’s Throw at Norwood.

Quentin Whittle of Adelaide restaurant Herringbone.

All through this progress, Quentin delivers great generosity as he embraces many different cultures on every plate, finding delicious harmony between Middle Eastern, South-East Asian and southern European influences.

Flying under the radar of many diners is Janghoon Choi, the Korean-born chef and proprietor from +82 Pocha, a new Korean restaurant in Grenfell Street, Adelaide. Modest and highly skilled, Janghoon came to Australia in 2005 to study cookery and hotel management at Le Cordon Bleu campuses in Sydney and Adelaide.

“I want to be a cultural ambassador with my food,” he says. “Not many people know very much about Korean food apart from kimchi, but I aim to show that there is so much more to enjoy.”

The deliciousness of Janghoon’s food has caught the attention of Orana chef and Tasting Australia programming director Jock Zonfrillo, who included Janghoon in the festival’s elite Glasshouse dinners program.

“He’s a rising star,” says Jock. “He’s very talented, and as he gets more experienced, we’ll see some awesome things from him.”

Janghoon Choi of new CBD Korean restaurant +82 Pocha.

A rising generation of female chefs is also making an impression in leading Adelaide kitchen brigades and will be worth keeping an eye on as they progress.

This includes quiet achiever Hayley Goodrick, who is now head chef at SC Pannell winery restaurant at McLaren Vale, and Amelia Hussey, who has joined ambitious new North Adelaide restaurant L’Italy (which has superseded Walter Ventura’s Spaghetti Crab and Spaghetti Meatballs pop-up eateries).

Tasting Australia ambassador and Salopian Inn proprietor Karena Armstrong, respected among Adelaide’s most assured chefs and kitchen leaders, is fostering a great talent in Alisha Shurville – first employed casually as a 14-year-old student and now a permanent part of the Salopian team after having recently qualified as a chef, while scooping the award pool at trade school.

“If she stays focused,” says Karena, “I bet she will run her own restaurant one day.”

Feature image is Max Sharrad who is now driving the stoves at Nido in Hyde Park.

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Lot 100: a thriving epicurean delight

In the middle of a cow paddock and beside an apple orchard in the Adelaide Hills, two very large, very modern sheds represent an exciting new development in how outstanding local epicurean fare is made and presented.

Lot 100 brings together a host of the brightest beverage and food talent in this state as co-habitants in a versatile production space and a huge, open plan tasting pavilion, located within the Ceravolo family’s 84ha property in the quiet Hay Valley, just outside of Nairne.

It’s the $4.5 million shared home of The Hills Cider Company, Ashton Valley Fresh juices, Adelaide Hills Distillery (producers of 78 Degrees gin), Mismatch beer and the storage facility for Vinteloper wines.

The size and scale of this smart collaborative venture has made an instant impression on hordes of visitors since Lot 100 opened in December 2018. However, most don’t realise this has been five patient years in the making – and that Lot 100 is determined to keep growing.

Lot 100 during the Adelaide Hills Crush Festival in January, 2019.

The latest step is to open a mezzanine bar in the production shed, built by carpenter Sam Weckert, above the amassed beverage production equipment. At spacious tables and benches, visitors will be able to participate in masterclasses, tastings and blend-your-own workshops presented by the various producers.

“These hands-on activities will be great fun, very educative and also give the participants a very clear idea of just how much production activity is happening inside this vast insulated shed,” says Lot 100 co-partner Toby Kline.

Participants will be exposed to a variety of new taste sensations, especially when presented with Adelaide Hills Distillery’s experimental Native Grain Project, which is working through trials of making spirits from such native ingredients as wattleseed, kangaroo grass and saltbush seed.

The epicenter of the production shed is Mismatch’s 35 hectolitre Premier Stainless brewhouse, which brewers Ewan Brewerton and Leigh Morgan installed and began operating a year ago, while the remainder of the facility was still being completed.

While the space is now humming with activity, there is still ample room for the producers to expand their operations. For instance, Vinteloper winemaker David Bowley continues to make his wines elsewhere in the Adelaide Hills, due to his preference for wild yeasts during fermentation posing a threat to the brewery’s production requirements – but he will store his wine barrels at Lot 100.

The open plan tasting pavilion.

A facility of this size needs significant resources to keep it operating, and its designers have addressed sustainability and efficiency issues at every step of its construction and operation.

The most expensive shed on the property is also the smallest – a $750,000 water treatment facility that extracts water from two bores, removes its salts and minerals via reverse osmosis, then feeds it into the shed for use by each beverage producer. Wastewater is fed back into the system, treated and then used to irrigate crops, grass and trees, including the Ceravolo family’s adjacent orchard, which produces fruit for Hills Cider and Ashton Valley Fresh Juices.

Spent grain from the distillation process is recycled as feed for local livestock and used in the Lot 100 kitchen to bake bread. Electricity used on the site is provided by 1700 square metres of solar panels, creating a sizeable a solar farm on the production shed roof.

While the visiting public doesn’t see this, they do get to sample a huge array of drinks in the company of food within the adjacent tasting pavilion. A bar with 40 taps is designed to swiftly serve big numbers of visitors, with 30 pouring Mismatch beers, six for Hills Cider and four for Adelaide Distillery spritz.

Pizzas are on the menu at Lot 100, as are smaller roasted dishes, local produce plates and pastas.

Adelaide design company Frame (which creates product labels for Mismatch and Adelaide Hills Distillery) has dressed the cellar door interior with raw timber slats rising to the high ceiling and polished-concrete floors. This room opens to broad timber decks and rolling lawns that accommodate many more diners and drinkers under the shade of towering gum trees.

A sustainability message follows through to food served in the cellar door dining area, prepared by chefs Shannon Fleming (formerly of Adelaide’s esteemed Restaurant Orana) and Tom Bubner (of Pizza e Mozzarella and Chicken & Pig). The menu is built around a relaxed Italian style of eating – from pizza to pasta and roasted treats from a wood-fired oven, but the intention is to place locally sourced ingredients on a pedestal.

More plans for Lot 100 are already in motion. Hop plants are growing, so their flowers can eventually be used in Mismatch beers, while a kitchen garden will provide a range of vegetables and herbs for the restaurant, to keep reducing the distance from paddock to plate. An eventual aim is for the cellar door to include produce sales as well as beverages – “a one-stop shop for everything delicious,” as Toby Klein explains.

The makers of 78 Degrees Gin, Adelaide Hills Distillery, operates at Lot 100.

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Old wine dogs show off some new tricks

How do reputable established wineries remain modern, and appear fresh to a new generation of wine drinkers?

The answer, for a growing number of canny South Australian wine producers, has been to create second labels that show off an entirely different side to their winemaking.

Tim Adams has benefitted greatly from starting a second label in Clare after he bought the former Leasingham winery in 2010, saving it from demolition, and recreating it as Mr Mick Wines.

He says this has presented him an opportunity to release a whole suite of new wines – embracing the new era of Mediterranean grape varieties that fascinate him, and employing techniques to provide sprightly, juicy wines without confusing his Tim Adams Wines customers who want sturdy classic wines from the Clare Valley.

Tim Adams Wines, Clare Valley. Photo by John Krüger.

“I was feeling incredibly frustrated to not be doing all the things I wanted to in making wine – and then it became clear that I needed this other wine brand to make it all possible,” says Tim.

“It wasn’t mapped out by design, but the Mr Mick story about being innovative and having fun with wine is truly authentic, and has worked.”

Tim has encouraged the creativity of young winemakers within his company, such as Brett Schutz, to employ fresh ideas. It has resulted in Mr Mick being embraced by a new generation of drinkers, taking out top honours in the Adelaide Review Hot 100 Wines in December 2016 with Novo Sangiovese.

This delicious fresh take on the savoury Italian grape, made in a drink-now style, underpins Tim’s philosophy of Mr Mick Wines being affordable wines for everyone to enjoy.

“We want people to try these new wines, to experiment, without having to pay a lot for them,” says Tim. “We want the exciting new drinking they find in Mr Mick Wines to represent fantastic value.”

Toby Barlow of St Hallett Wines in the Barossa Valley took a fresh approach and launched a new brand, Blockhead, under the St Hallett range.

St Hallett Wines is one of the Barossa’s champions of serious old vine shiraz, but Toby Barlow, director of the winery’s premium winemaking operations, knows there’s more than one way to make shiraz, which is the reason behind its new Blockhead by St Hallett range.

“I think we were in danger of being pigeon-holed as a wine brand confined to one style and one audience,” explains Toby. “We had to ask ourselves ‘How do we introduce ourselves to different customers?’ We took a completely fresh approach; a new brand name and look to the label, a deliberately modern wine style, at a more modest price.”

The result has been an immediate retail acceptance, convincing Toby there is room for more wines in the Blockhead range, possibly with blends involving grenache and touriga grapes.

In the Adelaide Hills, The Other Wine Co has emerged as a companion brand to Shaw + Smith Wines, presenting grape varieties and fruit from regions that fall outside of Shaw + Smith’s carefully curated brand.

Several strong minds and wills are central to this wine business. Owners Michael Hill Smith and Martin Shaw have a particular vision of what belongs within the limited range of Shaw + Smith wines.

However, senior winemaker Adam Wadewitz has ideas for unique wines that stretch far beyond what Shaw + Smith represents. So, rather than ignore or suppress these ideas, The Other Wine Co was born to present small batches of unique wines – old bush vine grenache from McLaren Vale, textural pinot gris from an elevated altitude
plot in Adelaide hills, and, still in barrel, is petit verdot from Kangaroo Island.

“We have the facility to look at so many interesting individual parcels of fruit, and we can react to them under the Other Wine Co label,” says Adam. “It’s very exciting for a winemaker, and it makes clear sense as a wine producer.”

McLaren Vale winemaker Ben Riggs says releasing a very different suite of wines without confusing the solid identity of his longstanding Mr Riggs label led to the recent launch of his companion label, Mr Bright Side.

The 2018 Mr Bright Side 2018 Preservative Free Shiraz.

Capturing bright, juicy fruit flavours within a distinctly fresh, modern style, the lively quartet of Mr Bright Side wines stand as a marked contrast to Mr Riggs’ more muscular and forceful wines.

It’s an important new market positioning statement for Ben, who was crowned a McLaren Vale Bushing King for his super-concentrated shiraz.

Mr Bright Side shows a very different portfolio, comprising a pale grenache rose, Adelaide Hills pinot gris, a preservative-free shiraz, and a lively red blend called Eurotrash, combining tempranillo, lagrein, grenache and petit verdot.

It answers critics who have intimated that Ben Riggs only makes one blockbuster style of wine. “I love making all styles of wines, and a lot of people forget that as a contract winemaker, I already make many wines in these styles for other people,” explains Ben.

Introducing another wine brand has allowed him to define and focus on specific strengths in his winemaking.

“It reinforced in my mind exactly what each of my wine brands should be, without compromising either. And while Mr Bright Side may seem like fun, smashable wines, it takes no less energy to make them. It only means I have to craft beautiful wines in a different way.”

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Gumpara offers a different taste of the Barossa

Mark Mader has always known there’s something special about a part of the Barossa where his family first planted vines on Gumpara vineyard 90 years ago. Now he has a major award for his shiraz to prove it.

Gumpara 2014 Hexen Shiraz was named second behind Penfolds’ Grange in Winestate Magazine’s 13th International Syrah and Shiraz challenge, announced in September.

In Mark’s eyes, the prestigious award is a long overdue stamp of recognition for the largely unheralded Light Pass sub-region of the Barossa where Gumpara vineyard is located.

“More sub-regions of the Barossa are being identified on wine labels as the source of exceptional and distinctive fruit, but Light Pass is one area that should be a lot more famous for the quality of what is produced,” says Mark.

He points to the unusual mix of ironstone, marble and terra rosa clay in the Barossa’s gentle north-eastern hillside soils as the reason for the intensity and length of Light Pass fruit flavours.

The Gumpara 2014 Hexen Shiraz.

Mark says the Gumpara brand name clearly explains the significance of his vineyard, which is laid out beside the North Para River and flanked by ancient gum trees.

Its position captures cool gully winds through the summer that bring a unique complexity to the fruit, according to Mark. He identifies this in the best 20 tonnes of fruit from the vineyard that he keeps for Gumpara Wines (the remaining 140 tonnes is sold to Peter Lehmann Wines).

Now Mark and his wife Mandy are keen to share and explain the story of their Light Pass vineyard when they open the Gumpara Wines cellar door to public visitors on November 24.

After many years of supporting two daughters playing high-level basketball through their teenage years, Mark and Mandy now say they’ve got the necessary time to host cellar door visitors – and enough stock to warrant a cellar door presence. While the first Gumpara wines were released 18 years ago, volumes were initially very small.

“Our growth has been cautious. We haven’t wanted to carry massive debt,” explains Mark.

“Our family has traditionally been grape growers selling to other wineries, so it was a big step for me – the sixth generation on this land – to start making wine. It’s been a great thrill to identify how exceptional our fruit is.”

The Gumpara Wines family.

For a while, Gumpara was part of a collaborative cellar door with several other boutique Barossa labels, sharing a rented shop in Tanunda’s main street, but the arrangement proved difficult to manage and stopped after a few years.

Now, an old shed on the Gumpara vineyard has been re-purposed and refitted with timbers salvaged from the 1857 Light Pass Church Manse, and a 4m Redgum slab used as the bar. It will now be open for regular public tastings on weekends, by appointment.

Visitors will be able to purchase the limited-release $240 Hexen Shiraz, named after an old Silesian “witch”, Mutter Jaeckel, who lived near the Gumpara vineyard and created homeopathic remedies for the first Barossa settlers in the 1840s.

This is the first release of this wine – the culmination of a five-year project, sourced from vines up to 90 years old. It replaces the Reserve Shiraz as Gumpara’s flagship wine, which was also a significant award-winner, taking third place in Winestate’s 2012 International Syrah and Shiraz Challenge.

The cellar door opens November 24.

Cellar door visitors seeking a more modest wine will find great value in Gumpara Victor’s Old Vine Shiraz ($32), which also registered the maximum five-star rating in this year’s Winestate International Shiraz Challenge.

Mark is confident that his small cellar door will help bring visitors to Light Pass, and feels the time is right to put this overlooked part of the Barossa on the map.

“A lot of the fruit grown in the Light Pass area has traditionally been sold to big wineries, but never identified on the bottle as a source,” he says.

“There’s a few small cellar door tasting rooms – Pete Scholz’s The Willows, Gibson Wines, Ben Chipman’s Tomfoolery Wines – but it’s not really known as a region to visit.

“I think it’s time to shine a brighter light on the place and highlight what we have here that’s special.”

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Adelaide’s expanding appetite for vegan dining

Growing curiosity about veganism in SA has lead to a broader acceptance of vegan food in mainstream Adelaide restaurants.

No longer isolated as a fringe interest, vegan dishes are being featured in eateries that cater exclusively for vegans – and also at restaurants that had initially staked their success on the popularity of meat dishes.

American-born chef Greggory Hill has made vegan dishes a star attraction at Hispanic Mechanic Mexican Restaurant at Frewville in Adelaide’s southern eastern suburbs.

Appreciating that vegans shun all animal products, and eat only plant-derived ingredients, he has introduced a separate vegan kitchen and degustation menu as part of what the restaurant provides.

Hispanic Mechanic’s 10-dish vegan feast includes pantacones (crisp slices of deep-fried green banana and guacamole); tostones made with smoked corn, black-bean soy protein and chilli; bola sin carne (non-meat balls made of soy protein, rice and quinoa in chipotle sauce), and his quirky and delicious KFC (Korean-Fried Cauliflower), which has now become the restaurant’s most popular taco filling, far exceeding meat and fish options.

The popular KFC taco by Hispanic Mechanic.

“I’m always looking for the delicious factor, and I find it in how creative and inventive the Mexicans are with plant-based materials,” says Greggory. “This is where the really exciting deep flavours are.”

The spread of established vegan restaurants throughout Adelaide is growing, with notable attractions including Raw Conscious Eatery in Chapel Street, Glenelg, Salem Vegan Café on Marion Road, Ascot Park, and V-Vego at Gawler Place, Adelaide, where proprietor Coco Chen has noticed a surge in attention for the eatery since she opened in June.

She says it’s not just about serious eating, with the Asian-influenced vegan dishes featuring grilled zucchini, banana blossom salad and Dengaku Nasu (miso grilled eggplant). It’s about enjoyment and fun, as Coco Chen notes that pomegranate gin and tonic is V-Vego’s signature cocktail.

More new vegan eateries are emerging, including the recently opened Bob Bowls Café in Port Adelaide.

Jessie Morris of Bob Bowls Café in Port Adelaide.

Vegan caterer Jessie Morris has created a café space within the large Cult & Harper art gallery and retail space, after deciding to take a serious step beyond providing regular pop-up food stalls at events and markets.

“I seized the opportunity to have a crack at presenting this food in a permanent space – and I call it delicious street food rather than vegan, so that I don’t limit the number of people who’ll eat it,” says Jessie.

“I’m pleasantly surprised by the reaction, especially from 30–40-year-old blokes from offices, who first try it tentatively, but keep coming back for more.”

To demonstrate Jessie’s point, his All In Bob Bowl (sumac roasted pumpkin and baby spinach stacked with red lentils, pickles and coleslaw, toasted hemp seeds, fresh dill and house sauces) has become a universal favourite.

He points to other eateries in the heart of Port Adelaide featuring vegan and vegetarian options, at Raw Earth, Red Lime Shack and Drummer Boy, as a sign that vegan eating options are shifting towards mainstream acceptance.

“There’s no sign of this slowing down,” says Jessie. “There’s no limit to what a vegan menu can offer. It’s a springboard for a chef’s imagination.”

These vegan pumpkin tarts are works of art!

To underline the broadening interest in veganism, the annual Vegan Festival Adelaide has recorded a sharp escalation in attendees, from 7500 in 2015 to about 18,000 last year, including a sharp increase in curious non-vegans.

Numbers are expected to be even higher at this year’s festival in Victoria Square/Tardannyanga on Saturday 27 October, from 10am to 9pm, and Sunday 28 October, from 10am to 4pm.

“Everyone’s jumping on board, but I can only look at this in a positive light,” says Vegan Festival Adelaide director and festival co-ordinator Lea McBride.

“The number of options that vegans now have is so very exciting. To get people tempted into trying vegan dishes, we have to make our food taste so much better.”

Diverse food choices – from pickles through to extravagant vegan chocolate desserts – are being presented within a festival program packed with live performances, speakers, cooking demonstrations and more than 80 stalls with merchandise, information and food.

The informative nature of the festival also shines a light on I Choose SA Day on October 27.

Chocolate almond torta by Francesco’s Ciccetti at last year’s festival. Photo by Linda Tobitt.

Stallholders at the Adelaide Vegan Festival will display I Choose SA Day merchandise, so that consumers know the products are sourced from SA.

Escalating esteem for vegan food is also evident in the popularity of the Veguastation Dinner – an elite five-course dining statement that will open the festival on October 24, hosted in Prohibition Gin’s Gilbert Street warehouse.

Tickets for the fine dining experience, prepared by Sydney caterers Alfie’s Kitchen, who are flying into Adelaide especially for the event, sold out four weeks ago.

“Chefs are experimenting, working outside the norm with plant-based menus, and the results are both fascinating and delicious,” says Lea. “Adelaide is proving to be a leader in this area. Yet again, South Australia rides at the forefront of a powerful social movement.”

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Watervale Hotel’s elite food aspirations

A country hotel can embrace city restaurant ethics without destroying the simple ambience and personality of rural hospitality.

This is the belief of Nicola Palmer and Warrick Duthy, who bought the Watervale Hotel in Clare a year ago, and are implementing positive change through re-defining the pub’s cooking and dining philosophy.

Calling themselves “ethical epicureans”, Warwick and Nicola (her family owns Skillogalee Winery at Clare) aim to prepare elite-quality meals while simultaneously practicing eco-sustainability, recycling and provide unique training for hospitality staff.

To achieve this, the couple has also bought two nearby properties where they intend to grow much of their own food.

The newly revamped Watervale Hotel is a country pub that will give any city restaurant a run for its money. Photo by Daniel Blackman.

A plot opposite the pub is providing herbs and brassica for the hotel kitchen, but the majority of produce will come from Penobscot Farm, a 1.2ha permaculture site being tended by gardener Jared Murray, with about 70 mature fruit and nut trees, and space for more vegetable plots, and animals.

It’s part of a big makeover, as Nicola and Warrick intend to spend $1 million over two years to revitalise the hotel.

An exterior and interior facelift is already in motion, together with refreshed signage and a new website to promote the philosophical change.

Next they will re-open No. 6 Quelltaler Road, the town’s former butcher shop, as Farmgate Cellars – a diverse regional wine shop and providore, selling produce from Penobscot Farm.

Watervale Hotel owner Warrick Duthy. Photo by Daniel Blackman.

The owners want Watervale to win renown as a gastronomic food destination, citing the Royal Mail Hotel (in Dunkeld, western Victoria) and Blue Hill at Stone Barns (American chef Dan Barber’s farm restaurant in New York State) as inspirational models of success.

They’ve started to implement their food ideas through a tasting plate menu at the Watervale Hotel, “inspired by the amazing street food of the world, influenced by the local flavours of The Clare Valley”.

“At the moment, it’s baby steps,” explains Warrick. “It’s a big plan that will keep growing as we get all the resources together and continue to build a team that shares the same ethical approach.”

The challenge now is enticing aspiring young chefs to the region so the philosophy can be implemented to its fullest.

“This is a special opportunity that any chef who wants to learn and perform at the highest level just won’t find in the city. They’ll have a chance to create their own food, from the soil up,” explains Warrick.

“Young hospitality workers are telling me they don’t want to come to a place like Clare because of lifestyle reasons, that it’s too far removed from city attractions, but it’s only here that they can become part of a thriving food community. It’s not an impossible dream.

“Places such as Brae in rural Victoria have been awarded Australia’s best restaurant. We want to make it happen in Clare, too.”

Photo by Daniel Blackman.

More notable change is happening in the Limestone Coast, with the Royal Oak Hotel in Penola having recently been sold after a long time under the control of the Hayward family.

The pub has been bought by John Rymill (former managing director of Rymill Winery in Coonawarra), with local chef Kirby Shearing taking residence in the kitchen to drive the hotel’s dining output and serve as a base for his Soul Projects catering company.

Again, the first step this country pub is taking towards revitalisation is via its menu. While not wishing to radically transform the food style, Kirby is adopting a clean food philosophy.

“We’ll be keeping food miles down on the produce we use; sourcing locally, making everything on-site, placing regional freshness as a priority,” he says.

“We won’t try to change what people like to eat, but we will be placing an emphasis on high service standards and quality. I think these are great aspects that new ownership can bring to a country pub.”

We see the Stanley Bridge Tavern’s new beer garden becoming a hotspot this summer.

Introducing change to a beloved country pub is a delicate manoeuvre, as Frank Hannon-Tan (who also runs Amalfi Pizzeria Ristorante in Frome Street, Adelaide) and Pablo Theodoros (ex-East End Cellars) have learned as managers of the Stanley Bridge Tavern at Verdun in the Adelaide Hills.

While the pub is owned by Julie and Ed Peters (who also own the Crafers and Uraidla Hotels in the Adelaide Hills, featured previously here on Brand SA News, Hannon-Tan and Theodoros have been charged with refreshing the pub’s image through modern wines list, simplified bistro-style menu, and modern styling applied to a large rear beer garden, but without damaging the character of a beloved local watering hole.

“It has to be a locals’ pub, first and foremost,” says Theodoros, “so we have to make sure we give loyal locals the best of everything.”

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Coonawarra families co-produce region’s most expensive wine

What started as a late-night conversation between two wine families who share a common distant relative has evolved into the most expensive wine yet produced from Coonawarra – and it sets an innovative new benchmark for elite wine output from the region.

The Redman and Balnaves families are already renowned for producing world-famous wines, but their decision to join forces and produce a wine that celebrates their common ancestor William Wilson (he’s fourth generation winemaker Dan Redman’s great-great-great grandfather) represents a first.

The release of the 2016 William Wilson Shiraz Cabernet on Saturday September 1, selling for $300 a bottle, combines elite grape parcels to produce a style once called claret, and regarded as a distinctive Australian wine signature.

“It was an idea we had before the 2016 vintage – to make a very special wine that could be released to celebrate the 200th anniversary of William Wilson’s birth, but sometimes simple ideas don’t turn out so easy,” says Doug Balnaves with a wry grin.

While Scottish-born Wilson was a famous horticulturist – and the lavish garden beside his Petticoat Lane cottage in Penola inspired Coonawarra’s first grape grower, John Riddock – trying to confirm accurate records of Wilson’s birth has not been so easy, with Doug finding three different dates in two countries.

“Let’s just say the wine is an appropriate celebration of William Wilson’s life,” he says.

To build this iconic wine blend, cabernet fruit comes from 46-year-old vines on Balnaves’ vineyards, while the Redman’s shiraz is from 85-year-old vines on a patch they call The Last Row.

“Both fruit parcels were identified as ideal for this blending project, even before they had been picked,” says Dan Redman.

The Redman and Balnaves families share an ancestor, William Wilson.

The hunch proved right, although it took a while to decide on the wine’s final recipe; the winemaking team initially thought shiraz would account for three quarters of the blend, but after blending trials it became 55% shiraz and 45% cabernet.

What results is a deliciously rich, nuanced wine, eminently drinkable now, but with the structure and intensity that will allow it to age gracefully in the cellar for at least 40 years.

“It’s not a contrived wine,” says Doug Balnaves with a note of pride. “The fruit is exceptional and the quality shines through. It’s a rare thing for a wine to exceed our expectations, but this one has.”

While this was designed as a one-off project, the results have been so encouraging that the winemakers have already secreted away parcels of grapes from the 2018 vintage in the hope of making another Redman/Balnaves blend, although nothing is yet confirmed.

The Redman and Balnaves families have collaborated to produce Coonawarra’s most expensive wine.

“The first my dad knew about us possibly doing it again was when he saw the team I’d hired to hand-pick shiraz from the Last Row block,” says Dan Redman with a sheepish grin.

“If I hadn’t noticed a few extra expensive oak barrels in the inventory, I probably still wouldn’t have been told,” says Doug’s daughter Kirsty Balnaves with a smile and a weary shake of her head.

“The truth is, this project has excited both families. It’s a rare thing to achieve something so exceptional.”

Due to its limited volume, with only 250 dozen produced (shared equally between the two family wineries), 2016 William Wilson Shiraz Cabernet will only be available at each winery’s cellar door or online.

To celebrate the launch of this special wine in grand fashion, the Balnaves and Redman families will be hosting a William Wilson event beside his headstone in the Coonawarra cemetery as part of the Coonawarra Cabernet Celebrations in October, with haggis to eat and bagpipes providing the soundtrack to accompany a wine tasting.

Check coonawarra.org for details.

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