Barossa legend, teaming up with three great mates to make the wine he wants
- Why did Stuart go down the wild winemaking path? To be able to drink his homework of course! Working right alongside three of his closest mates is the cherry on the top of this winemaking guru's story so far.
- He was originally a graduate in both Anatomy and Pharmacology. Since winemaking combines every discipline of Science, it appeals to the geek within. He loves tasting his experiments and now has 20 Australian vintages under his belt!
- For Stuart, it is the local growing families that continue to be the beating heart of the Barossa's world famous brilliance generation after generation. His passion for the Barossa has led to plenty of career highlights, like making it into the Top 100 Wines of the World in The Wine Spectator. Having a wine that he made served to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II also wasn't a bad day at the office!
Map of the Vineyard
Grab the popcorn and take a front row seat for Stuey's story, in is own words.
What's your background?
Science graduate in Anatomy and Pharmacology who also worked hospitality whilst studying. Got bitten by the winemaking bug and went back to study Winemaking and Viticulture. Proudly born and bred South Aussie with a passion for food, wine, music and fun......Rubbish 5th grade wicket keeper.
Why did you become a winemaker?
Winemaking combines every single element and discipline of Science, so winemaking appeals to the nerdy scientist within. Plus, you get to taste your experiments! Everyone loves a chance to drink their homework, don't they? Also winemaking helps pay for my cricket subs each week.
How long have you been making wine?
More than 20 Australian vintages completed, feels like quite a while now.
What is it about your job that you love?
What's not to love? Working with farming families who grow beautiful fruit, living in the country, pottering around on a motorbike, being a Barossan, eating very well, drinking great wine, sharing it all with family and friends, working with your hands, heart and mind, the list goes on - as do I fairly regularly?
What makes your wines special?
It's a combination of factors - the wonderful fruit that goes into our wine, the crew here that make the wine, the love and attention to detail that goes into making wine by hand the old fashioned way, the ancient soils of the Barossa, the beautiful climate of South Australia, the sheer abound of love in The Shed - again the list goes on.
Which varietal / style is your passion and why?
Love Barossa Shiraz. Love. Love. Love! Pretty obvious - it is the Barossa after all. Also love Grenache blends too.
Any tales of joy or sorrow along the way?
Raising a family in the Barossa will always be full of tales of great joy. Making wine in the Barossa is also full of joyful stories. Getting more than a duck most weeks batting in my old man's cricket team is always a joy. Dropping 6 catches in a row behind the stumps is never any good for any wicket keeper though- that was a massive tale of sorrow. It did give rise to the new nickname within the cricket club "CYMBALS". Apparently something to do with clashing them together and there's nothing in between them? Another great tale of sorrow was when Port Power lost the AFL Grand Final by over 100 points to Geelong in 2007. I cried. A lot.
Most memorable moment making wine?
Making Top 100 Wines of the World in The Wine Spectator a few years ago was pretty cool. Having wine that I made served to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was also very cool. Most memorable moment playing cricket was being in a 54 run partnership with my mate Tim. He made 51 of them, extras was 3 and I got an 11 over duck...Super stuff that.
How will Angel backing help you?
The support shown by the Naked Wines Angels will help us to achieve more of our winemaking dreams. It will help support more than a dozen farming families who we buy grapes from. It will help the local cooperage that we buy barrels from to employ young kids on apprenticeship schemes for making wine barrels - basically it will generate "sticky" dollars that will be spent in our local farming community.
Why did you want to join Naked?
When I was asked if I wanted to get Naked in Australia - I was probably thinking something slightly different at the time so of course I said "Yes". Turns out after hanging out with the Naked Wines crew for a while I am still thinking that it is still a big "Yes" from me. Who wouldn't want to be involved in such a great way to bring quality wine for a great price straight to your door, direct from the winery.
What is the biggest difference working with the Naked model?
Crowd funding makes people feel more in tune, involved and in love with the producer. It lets a consumer get right in to the business of making something and take some ownership of it, along with the maker. Crowd funding connects us all much more tightly than any normal buy / sell relationship.
What do you hope to accomplish as an Angel-funded winemaker?
What I really hope to accomplish is to rack up a fair wad of happy endorsements and write ups from the Angel crew. Then I will know I am on the right track. I also hope to use some of the money to buy new cricket batting pads and increase my batting average to more than 7.
"He's such a lovely young man - you should try his wine" - Mum.
"One of the worst wicket keepers we've ever seen in the game of cricket" - numerous players in both my cricket team and within the local competition.
"That Four Men and a Shed GSM is an absolute stunner - you should get on board this one!" - Stuey's best mate Tim.
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