My grandparents on both sides and also my parents were grape growers, so my childhood was spent in their vineyards. My parents moved to North Eastern Victoria where my Father managed a vineyard for Australia’s then largest family winemakers, Seppelts. In 1965 I followed a natural path and started as a trainee winemaker at Seppelt’s Rutherglen winery. It was a wonderful apprenticeship in the old, ordered, slow and gentle Australian wine trade. The wines I drank, the winemakers from previous generations with whom I associated and everything I absorbed in that period had a major influence on the way Rockford is today. Although I’ve spent all my life in vineyards and wineries, the pleasure I derive from walking through rows of vines or casks filled with wine has not diminished. Wine is crafted, not created. The skill is to capture and enhance the fleeting flavours that grapes give from their variety and extract from the earth, then bottle these as a living record of the vintage they represent. Rockford wines are made from established Barossa varieties which form an important part of our winemaking heritage, in a style that best reflects the vineyards, the winemaker’s attitude and the climate in which we live. I have always lived in and feel most comfortable with the warm Mediterranean climate of the Barossa where grapes ripen easily. My preference is to make the wine by hand with traditional methods, attitudes and equipment to produce elegant but rich, earthy, soft, generous wines that will age.
Laced with aromas of blue and red flowers, musky spices and a whiff of cola, this finely crafted, three-dimensional sparkling shiraz is scented with wild, earthy and smoky aromas of blackberries, dark plums, briar and dark chocolates with meaty, leathery and minerals undertones. It’s long and fine-grained, building in richness and intensity towards a lingering, savoury finish of dark berries, graphite and licorice.