Let It Shine
When you speak with our senior winemaker Paul Smith about his winemaking philosophy, there is a continuing theme of ‘letting the fruit shine’. He wants our wines to look bright and lively in the glass and reflect the site or vineyard that spawned them.
Fruit source is paramount, whether it is from the old vines on our estate, or from our loyal band of growers across McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills. That’s why Paul spends so much time in the vineyards. At the height of vintage, he is out and about all day walking between the rows, tasting fruit and talking with growers to time the harvest to the minute.
When the fruit is in, wines such as The 12th Man Chardonnay give the team a chance to flex their winemaking muscle, while others like The Lost Watch Riesling will be best left to their own devices. The only certainty is that when it comes to Church Block, everyone feels the weight of expectation to “get it right”*.
*Internally referred to as “Don’t #@^% it up!”
The Wirra Wirra cellars have an ancient, almost medieval feel to them, with massive arched doors, over-sized fireplaces, a minstrel gallery and wine stained red brick floors. There's nothing ancient about the winemaking at Wirra Wirra though, with a focus on preserving fruit purity and vineyard expression, there's an obsessive commitment to keeping parcels separate until final blending. This gives Paul and the team a chance to grade and blend with precision. It also allows Paul and viticulturist Anton Groffen the chance to follow each vineyard vintage to vintage and develop an intimate understanding of how they performed in any given year.
Senior Winemaker: Paul Smith
Winemakers: Tom Ravech & Kelly Wellington
Assistant Winemaker: Grace Wang