Meet the characters: Alex Hurn, Brokenwood
Alex Hurn joined Brokenwood Wines in November 2018 …
Visit the vineyards during ‘crush season’ and you’ll be treated to an atmosphere of anticipation and exhilaration as the teams work hard behind the scenes to pick, crush, press, ferment, blend and bottle (or barrel) this year’s special wines.
It’s a complicated process, with winemakers carefully analysing sugars and acids inside the maturing berries to decide upon the perfect time to begin harvest. Small samples are crushed into juice for testing, and winemakers can be seen strolling between the rows of vines, tasting the grapes and assessing their unique flavours.
With the grapes finally harvested and crushed, a palette of wine parcels, each with distinctive flavours and textures, are melded in search of balance, fullness, and finesse. It’s a fine art, requiring equal parts intuition, viticulture and chemical science, with winemakers spending years studying, practising and honing their skills.
Learn more about the art of winemaking during hands-on experiences at d’Arenberg, Mandoon, De Bortoli and Tahbilk:
The Blending Bench, d’Arenberg, SA
Live the dream of being a winemaker for a day inside the famous d’Arenberg Cube at McLaren Vale, where chief winemaker and fourth generation family member, Chester Osborn, will guide you to create your very own blend. The experience begins with a tour of the Alternate Realities Museum, before moving on to the Blending Bench, where you’ll formulate your very own original wine and take home a 750ml sample to show off to your friends.
The Perfect Blend, Mandoon Estate, WA
Challenge your palate and dig a little deeper into the world of winemaking at Mandoon Estate in WA, just 15 minutes from Perth International Airport. Explore the explore the unique characteristics of different wine varieties and how they can work together to create harmony and balance; and create the perfect wine to suit your taste. Go home with your own unique blend, complete with a personalised label.
Winemaker’s Secret Art, Tahbilk, VIC
The motto of winemaking is that “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts”. At historic Tahbilk, in the Nagambie Lakes region of central Victoria, you’ll be guided by a Wine Ambassador to blend a series of individual wines into your very own blend. A 750ml bottle of your blend will be yours to take away. Work up an appetite and stay on to luxuriate over a 2-course lunch with a glass of wine in Tahbilk’s Wetlands’ View Restaurant.
Behind the Scenes Tour and Wine Blending, De Bortoli, VIC
Treat yourself to an experiential adventure at De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate. Immerse yourself in a behind-the-scenes tour of the winery, where you’ll learn about the viticultural practices and taste wines straight from the barrels and tanks. Indulge in a wine and food pairing in a private tasting room before enjoying a hands-on experience at the Blending Table, where you’ll create a truly unique wine with distinct flavours and textures. Bottle, name and label your own personalised sample to take home.
Even in locations where vintage has come and gone, such as the Hunter Valley of New South Wales and the Granite Belt of Queensland, the cooler temperatures and peaceful vibe of autumn is the perfect time to warm up on reds and fortified wines, and take your time exploring the historic Cellar Doors.