An afternoon with….Artwine

Recently I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Glen and Judy Kelly, the driving force behind one of the Adelaide Hills newest wine labels – Artwine. Sitting in their beautiful cellar door perched on a hilltop just north of South Australia’s famous Oakbank racecourse, it’s a great place to reflect on how the 2016 vintage is shaping up and to chat about their evolving range of wines. In fact sitting with their dog Coco curled up on my feet and a glass of wine in hand, its easy to see the appeal of grape growing and winemaking in this part of the world.

Artwine’s stunning cellar door in the Adelaide Hills

Although the grapes in South Australia are harvested in the autumn (February and March) each year, the conditions of the previous seasons have a significant impact on the quality and quantity of each harvest. The second half of 2015 was notably dry across South Australia, with the last three months of the year being particularly warm. Dry grown vineyards and the judicious use of irrigation in other blocks means that even in these tougher years the Artwine vines stay healthy and productive, and after a heavy burst of rain in January provided some much-needed moisture to the vines and soil, a dry warm summer provided the perfect ripening conditions for most of the varieties grown. The red wines in particular look like having intense colour and rich long tannins, so things are looking very positive for the Artwine wines from 2016.

Looking across the vineyards from the cellar door

Artwine have an amazing array of vineyard resources available to produce their wines and evolve their styles. Cleverly, they have planted a mix of ‘mainstream’ varieties such as Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as ‘emerging’ varieties including Fiano, Tempranillo and Graciano. The Fiano is a particular favourite of Glen and Judy – it’s a white variety from Northern Italy, and has been planted in relatively modest amounts across Australia’s warmer wine growing regions. It’s a tough variety – thick skinned and hardy, and holds onto it crispness even in the warmest climates.

Judy and Glen Kelly

The Artwine Fiano is labelled as ‘The Wicked Stepmother’…but that may be a story for another time! It effortlessly combines a richness and texture with a lovely refreshing crispness, highlighting the variety’s potential for making drinkable wines that should find a very broad fan base. Relatively few white wines benefit from extended aging (Riesling and Semillon would be the main options in Australia), but recent tastings of some of the earlier vintages of Glen and Judy’s Fiano have been a revelation. The wines are developing gracefully with lovely secondary honeyed notes developing over the aromatic fruits of the younger wines. It’s a work in progress, but a fascinating and enjoyable project to be involved in!

Glen And Judy are visiting Singapore in April and will be hosting tastings at our Duxton, Joo Chiat and Pasarbella locations as below:

8 April Fri
Merchants East Coast (Joo Chiat) 6-8pm

9 April Sat
Merchants PasarBella (Bukit Timah) 12-5pm
Merchants Duxton 6-8pm

10 April Sun
Merchants PasarBella (Bukit Timah) 12-5pm
Merchants East Coast (Joo Chiat) 6-8pm

11 April Mon
Merchants East Coast (Joo Chiat) 6-8pm

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P.S. Artwine’s vineyards recently featured on this great Youtube video of an aerial flight over the Adelaide Hills (courtesy of The Social Sommelier). Click here to view.