Hugo Wines is very much McLaren Vale, continuing the tradition of quality boutique winemaking from one of the nation's finest estate vineyards
The story of Hugo Wines is intrinsically linked to the property on which the vineyard is established. John Hugo's maternal great grandfather, George Sauerbier acquired the property and first farmed the land in the early 1900s, originally a Southdown sheep stud, grazing cattle and dairy, almonds, glasshouse tomatoes and mixed cropping, not to mention paddocks of grapevine meant for personal consumption. At that time, anything planted had to perform and provide a return, whatever the soil and climatic conditions.
There were no local sources of water and the science involved in agriculture as we know it today was in its infancy. Machinery was limited and the majority of tasks were performed by hand, quite often with the aid of magnificent heavy horses which have now been replaced by tractors and harvesters. Generations later in 1951, still in family hands, Colin and Gwendoline Hugo (nee Sauerbier) built a new homestead and established a block of dry grown Grenache vines which remain productive until this day, the source of an amazaing quality bush wine.
When John took over the reins from his father Colin, he decided to produce an estate label under the guidance of eminent McLaren Vale winemaker Wayne Thomas. The inaugural estate Shiraz was vintaged in 1979 and the estate Cellar Door was opened in October 1982. Much critical acclaim has since been awarded to Hugo Wines.
There are currently thirty hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, Grenache, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc under vine. Many of the original plantings date back to 1970 when John Hugo followed in his father's footsteps on the family vineyard at McLaren Flat.
John and Liz Hugo take pride and joy in the vineyard where they work and at the McLaren Flat estate wineworks where they live. To manage the day to day tasks of managing a vineyard, the family relies on the help of farmhands who return year after year, not to mention the highly capable pruners who know the individual vines like the back of their hand.
Consistency and quality is what Hugo Wines are all about, using nothing but estate grown fruit makes the realization of the highest standards in McLaren Vale wines a reality. The climate soils and proximity to the coast are also contributing factors in maintaining quality. Since inaugural release, Hugo Wines have received many conspicuous wine competition accolades. The Reserve Shiraz is made from the oldest dry grown Shiraz vines on the property. When the old vine Shiraz grapes are processed, parcels are kept seperate for barrel fermentation in new American and French oak hogsheads. Batches earmarked for inclusion into the Reserve Label are only approved after a barrel cull to determine the finest barrels. You can be assured of an exceptional red wine.
The cosy award winning cellar door facility that now houses Hugo Wines was opened in 1998, it offers visitors panoramic views of the vineyards whilst tasting the range of wines and estate made virgin olive oils, all within the surrounds of a beautiful gallery displaying the finest work by talented local artists.