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-4-◆ Tell me a little about Elderton’s background and evolutionElderton is a second generation family company. Looking to set up home n Australia after spending time in Saudi Arabia, my parents Neil and Lorraine bought the Elderton homestead in the heart of Nuriootpa in 1979. It really was the result of a complete coincidence. Our family was from Gippsland in Victoria and my grandfather happened to be in the Barossa for a funeral and heard about the house. Built in 1918, it was originally the Tolley homestead, one of Australia’s most famous winemaking names. The homestead vineyard was planted in 1894 by the Scholz family, and Alfred Tolley and his son Sam Elder-ton Tolley grew fruit for their company Tolley, Scott & Tolley, mainly for fortied wine production. When the Barossa fell out of favour in the 70s as no-one wanted the wines they produced, the vineyard with these extreme-ly old Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon vines became derelict. After years of no interest, the real estate agent eventually oered my parents the 72-acre (29 hectare) vineyard as a bonus for buying the homestead. Three years later, after restoring the vineyard, Elderton Wines was born in 1982, named after Sam Elderton Tolley. The rst vintage of Command Shiraz followed in 1984. My father passed away in 1997, and my brother Allister and I took over running the Elderton business in 2003. We are very proud of what we have accom-plished in the years since then. We built our own winery in beautiful 80-year old heritage sheds on a Penfolds site, which we converted into a very modern winery. We purchased an established vineyard in Craneford in Eden Valley in 2007, and another in Greenock in 2010. All up we have 65 hectares of vineyards, and we believe they are among the best sites in the Barossa.More recently, in 2017 we opened one of Australia’s most distinctive cellar doors in the old family homestead. It enables us to oer experiences that we haven’t been able to in the past, for visitors to enjoy and better understand the Elderton heritage and history. Visitors come in and see the 100-year old homestead and cellar door, the 125-year old Command Shiraz vineyard, then taste the wines on-site, so it really wows them. It also has four private tasting rooms, bespoke dining, lawn tennis, and even a 20-meter swimming pool. Last year we won an award from the Great Wine Capitals of the World for the Best Wine Tourism Services in South Australia, which is great for a small company. The number of visitors has passed expectations, so we are very happy.This year, my wife Julie Ashmead, an accomplished winemaker in her own right, is taking over as chief winemaker from our winemaker for the last 16 years, Richard Langford, who moved on to another Barossa winery. Julie has made wine in Napa, Saint-Emilion, Marlborough, and Chile, was head winemaker at Turkey Flats, and is also the winemaker at her family company Campbells in Rutherglen. She will be the winemaker at both Elderton and Campbells. My brother’s wife Rebecca works in the business as well, in charge of export and production. We all get on very, very Having taken on one of the Barossa’s oldest vineyards in a derelict state 40 years ago, the Ashmead family has quietly gone about business, success-fully establishing and building the reputation of the Elderton brand. Over the last 15 years, guided by second generation co-owners Cameron and Allister Ashmead, it has slowly raised its prole in the Barossa, Australia and internationally, and today is rightfully celebrated as a major contributor to both the rejuvenation and bright future of the Barossa Valley. Village Cellars has worked with Elderton since our earliest days, representing them in Japan since 1997. We talked with co-owner Cameron Ashmead. 〈 Interviewer:Dion Lenting(Kiwi Copy) July 2019〉Our feature story - Part 11Cameron Ashmead interviewElderton - a second generation family winery at the heart of the Barossa’s history and classic wines. well, and are building a business not for us, but for our children’s children. There are three things to running a wine business, and you have do each of them very well. You have to grow grapes very well, to make wine very well, and to run the business of selling wine very well. If you can’t do that you are going to struggle. As well as being environmentally sustainable, we have to be nancially sustainable.◆ What makes Elderton special in the Barossa?Elderton is unique for a winery of our size in that we basically do everything ourselves. We run all our own vineyards whereas others have contract growers. Controlling the grape growing enables us to control the quality, so that we know exactly what is going on. The only thing we don’t do is bottle ourselves because it is labour intensive and requires more sta. We have our own vineyard sta which works out really well, but when we have a very small vintage it can make us nervous (about the wages) .We are a leader in environmental sustainability, in the winery and the vineyard. We put in place a large solar panel array in 2010, and doubled it in 2014. We are self-sucient in water 11 months of the year, harvesting rain water from the roofs of the winery buildings.How dierent are the vineyards and the fruit they produce?We have three established vineyards on very dierent sites with dierent micro-climates and soil. Nuriootpa and Greenock are approximately 15 kilometers apart, Eden Valley is 25 kilometers away. Nuriootpa is about 200 meters above sea level, with red-brown alluvial soils, and very low production in the last few years, approximately 1.5 tons per acre, but the fruit has amazing concentration. Greenock is at about 320 meters altitude and generally more rocky, with more ironstone and sand and produces around 2 tons per acre, which is still tiny. Eden Valley is higher altitude and cooler, and overall the vines are a bit younger and produce 2.5 tons per acre. With the drive to sustainability and the inputs that we are putting into the vineyard, we expect even with the older vineyards that we can increase the yields if we get relatively normal rainfalls. The last few years rainfall has been below average, down a third in 2018, but this year it is on track for a normal year.In tasting the wines, Greenock wines tend to have a little bit of everything, so a little more colour and tannin, whereas Nuriootpa provides the backbone for the wines, the mid-palate. Our Estate Shiraz and Cabernet are generally a blend of all three vineyards, with the addition of Eden Valley which provides nesse and elegance, because it has more skeletal soils. We blend to make the most complete wine that we can.What distinguishes the classic single vineyard wines?The Command Shiraz will always be our most famous and best wine. It is always single vineyard exclusively from our 1894 vineyard, and we have been making it since 1984. There are only 3 vintages where we didn’t make it ‒ 1989, 1991, and 2011. We have been making the Fifteen Shiraz (from fruit from the Greenock vineyard originally planted in 1915) since 2013, but only in very special vintages ‒ 2013, 2015 and a little bit in 2017 ‒ we tried to make it in other years and it didn’t work. From left: Cameron Ashmead, Brock Harrison (winemaker), Julie Ashmead and Allister Ashmead

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