|James Stanley Malpas, born of Willunga, served with the 27th Infantry Battalion AIF during World War I in Gallipoli and France, decorated with the distinguished Military Cross, he returned to McLaren Vale and cleared the land known as Fox Creek. Three quarters old vine Shiraz, a fifth of Cabernet and soupçon of Franc, JSM makes a wine of complexity, substance and panache, it's all luscious fruit, framed by long textural Cabernet tannins, fully integrated and balanced by the patience of nineteen months in the pick of well seasoned oak. Fox Creek»|
|A vigorous diction of new world Chardonnay, framed within a tasteful veneer of judicious oak, crafted by an artisanal winery that's claimed best white and best red wine trophies, as judged amongst peers at the Mornington Peninsula Vignerons Association. Willow Creek offers a stylishly proportioned palate, finishing as crisp as the maritime winds which enthuse the Peninsula. Willow Creek»|
|A mostly Cabernet wine with a tenth of Merlot, a jot of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, representing almost a third of Hollick's annual production. Previous vintages of Tannery Block have won numerous prestigious awards, including the pre-eminent Jimmy Watson, Robert Bryce and Arthur Kelman Trophies. Hollick»|
|Scotsdale was acquired by Howard Park as a pastoral property, specifically chosen and planted to make a single vineyard wine. Shiraz is harvested according to flavour with little regard for analytical data. Howard Park»|
|White Label is a McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon of the highest eminence, having been nominated for the George Mackey Memorial Trophy, awarded to the most outstanding Australian export. Crafted from fruit grown to some of the oldest vines at Pirramimma and McLaren Vale, it has twice claimed Gold in San Francisco and competed well against a formidable host of distinguished growths at the prestigious London International. Pirramimma»|
|Langtons Excellent Classification. From ancient vines planted in the 1890s, Elderton Command has established an enviable reputation since inaugural vintage, one of Australia's most eminent icon wines. Elderton»|
|A compilation of the finest parcels Chardonnay available to the Brown Brothers winemaking team, hand picked and whole bunch pressed into a selection of seasoned and new French oak barriques for a rich course of ferments and completion of full malolactic, a year's maturation and the luxury of regular lees stirring battonage for textural opulence and intriguing complexity. Stone fruits and cashew, citrus and pear, elegant with crystalline minerality and struck match complexity, a long lingering palate, structured and seamless, resplendent and refined. Brown Brothers»|
|The Moppa district was a flourishing settlement of pioneering farmers and gold miners. When the Kalleske vineyard was established in 1853, there were few schools in the region, so local parents established the Moppa Public School to provide their children with a formal education. Kalleske»|
|Bleasdale are Australia's second oldest family owned winery, established 1850 by English migrant Frank Potts. Potts built much of Adelaide's early colonial works before settling down to his homestead at Langhorne Creek. Bleasdale»|
|She's such a special wine, that a distinctive hand blown bottle was designed just for her. Tempus Two is the definition of romance and desirability, elegance and finesse, all who have countenanced her endowments agree. Tempus Two»|
|An assemblage of clones MV6 Pinot Noir from the Mount Gisborne vineyard at Macedon, alongside Pinot clone D5V12 from Chanter’s Ridge at Woodend. A mix of whole bunches and gently destemmed fruit are treated to a traditional, wild indegenous yeast open top ferment, hand plunged thrice daily, befor pressing to French oak hogsheads for completion of malolactic and fourteen months maturation. Bress»|
|A rigorous tasting selection of the best barrels Malbec from a superior Langhorne Creek site, only ever made to small batch techniques in the most exceptional vintage years. Fruit is destemmed and open fermented, pumped over four times daily and pressed into a selection of well seasoned French oak puncheons for malolactic and a year's maturation. Bleasdale»|
Robert Crabtree studied law at Oxford University and was a practising lawyer/ academic at Cambridge, he always had an interest in viticulture and made fruit wines as a hobby
Crabtree's curiosity in winemaking led him to complete two vintages at Bergerac and another in New Zealand, before landing in Australia and deciding that he would become a full time winemaker. After careful selection of possible wine regions, Robert decided that the Clare Valley was to be the region of choice. Whilst studying winemaking at Roseworthy, Robert purchased a small existing property at Watervale in 1980 and named it Watervale Cellars. In 1983 Robert purchased the old Flax Mill building in Auburn. He equipped it as a small (somewhat rough and ready) winery and planted two acres of Cabernet Sauvignon. The business became known as Crabtree’s Watervale Cellars for a number of years. Robert built an enviable reputation for fine classic Watervale wines over the following 27 years and became a passionate advocate for the Clare Valley and South Australian wine industry. Robert sold his beloved property and winery in 2007 but remains a welcome friend and advisor to the new Crabtree Crew.
The Crabtree site has been planted to vineyards for well over 100 years, with the first vines being planted in the 1880s, though none of these original plantings exist. Adolf Glaetzer and his sons were largely responsible for the planting of the vineyards as they are today, with the remainder being largely Robert Crabtree’s more recent plantings of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, and a little more Riesling. Although the original plantings have long since gone, most of the current vineyards are still quite mature, including 60+ year old Grenache, 50+ year old Shiraz, and 30+ year old Riesling vines.
The winery is quite small overall, and is very much a boutique operation so far as production is concerned. The greater part of the production, as for many of the Clare Valley wineries, revolves around Riesling, with this variety accounting for approximately 50% of overall production. Second in production volume is Shiraz, and then Cabernet Sauvignon, with smaller amounts of Tempranillo, Grenache, and Semillon.
Traditional rod and spur hand pruning is used on all vineyards, and all grapes are handpicked. All fruit is estate grown for the dry white and dry red wines, with a very small percentage of high quality Muscat grapes from the Smith family in the North of Clare (from 140 year old vines) added to complement the estate's own Muscat of Alexandria supply to make sweeter Muscat and Zibibbo wines. Vines are very low yielding and are essentially dry grown, although most of the vineyards do have drip irrigation lines to ensure the vines do not suffer from too much water stress.
The house that makes up the cellar door dates back to when the Clare Valley was first settled, and has been the home of a number of local identities over the years. Robert Crabtree resided here while making wine on the estate. Adolf Glaetzer was one of these residents, known best in the Clare Valley for his fresh fruit and vegetables rather than winemaking, though his descendants have made the Glaetzer name synonymous with Australian winemaking. Robert Crabtree purchased the house from the Glaetzer family, it is heritage listed, the oldest sections date back to 1849.
The estate is home to a family of very inquisitive alpacas, which apart from being pets, also keep the grass at bay around the winery. José, the older male Alpaca, has the handy habit of being very protective of his family of females and keeps the sheep safe. The alpacas and sheep love nothing more than eating freshly crushed grape skins and stems during vintage, and will crowd around the winery when they see grapes on the tractor hoping to get a feed, which they usually do. Free roaming geese, an increasing number of ducks, chickens, cats, and some lorikeets, all of which can be seen wandering around the house (except for the Lorikeets of course), and some of which occasionally join in the cellar door for visitors wine tasting. Sales of alpaca wool or chicken and duck eggs through the cellar door go directly to improving education at a school in Africa that the winery sponsors.
All the stake holders and staff at Crabtree Watervale Wines are hands on, completely involved in the winemaking process and pruning the vines etc. The annual crush is around 100 tonnes of grapes per year, and will remain around that amount as there are no intentions to make larger volumes. The miniscule winery is at full capacity most vintages as it is. This means many of the wines are very limited in production, and is the reason why you won’t see Crabtree wines everywhere.