The government has thankfully amended their liquor sales restrictions to allow local wineries to sell up to a 12 bottle case to each WA home per week. What this means is that not only is ordering direct from a local winemaker now the easiest way to stock up on great wine, but it comes with the benefit of helping out real people who are sharing the same struggles we are.
Over the course of running 12th Avenue we've been really lucky to meet a bunch of winemakers around Western and South Australia, all of whom have shown themselves to be kind, generous, humble and lovely people. We've created this list to shine a light back on the people who have been wonderful to us. Our list is by no means exhaustive, and we have no doubt that we've left out a bunch of incredible people and winemakers.
We really encourage you to order wine from these people. We're not economy savants (hence running a food blog) but we do know that if your wine buying dollar can't go anywhere better than into the hands of an Australian like yourself looking to pay bills and survive a difficult and confusing time.
Swan Valley Wines
Paul and Bree's second-generation family owned and operated estate winery is a funky looking mess of tangled vines which barely rise above knee height. "The inclination, looking at vines like this, would be to tear it all up and start again," Paul told us of the fifty year old vines when we visited their vineyard.
Their wines mark a refreshing change for those who may be somewhat fatigued by the larger wineries of the Swan Valley- in a region where great wine exist albeit at a significant premium, here is a young family putting out fascinating and fun wines at prices which won't prohibit mid week drinking.
Old Mate Wines
Sam Jorgenson's Old Mate Wine is a label for left of centre wines which can be both fun and challenging. As a truly tiny winemaking operation his wines can be hard to get a hold of, but reward the dedicated.
Our own experience with Sam's wines is a fairly funny one- as he had accidentally entered his home address into the 'winery' section of a label and led us to believe that somebody was making wine in Maylands. We set out to find a bottle which was full of huge flavours which we were initially very much not ready for, but stayed with us and eventually became the catalyst for all of our wine adventures. That first bottle may have been a shock, but we have Sam to thank for everything we've loved from him and his many natural winemaking peers ever since.
Sam doesn't have a website, but you can often find his stuff at Wise Child, Mane Liquor, and Besk.
South by South West
Delightful wine from delightful people— Liv and Mij's South by South West label is a more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts amalgamation of Mij's brilliant design work and Liv's extensive winemaking background. Add to the mix a research trip making wine around the world and management of some of WA's most fascinating vineyards, and it makes sense that South by South West have become so well lauded show a particular talent for taking out People's Choice Awards.
You can check out their beautiful website and online store: https://www.southbysouthwest.com.au/shop/
And if you're already enamoured, try their wine very own wine club.
Dylan and Taryn's LS Merchants label celebrates wines which manage to feel exactly as raucous as you do- equally at home in a five-course degustation as splashing liberally in a raging party. LS Merchants wine is fun, young and charming in a bring-home-to-your-parents kind of way. We've been missing Dylan and Taryn's penchant for exciting and off-kilter events lately, but a bottle of their brilliant wine brings us right back.
Spanish for Flower and French for Market, Flor Marche is Elizabeth Reed's nine year venture in making wine back home in WA. Her wines are some of those which we first recommend to friends looking to try out the world of small-batch wine— immediately delicious, strikingly beautiful.
For updates and wine lists sign up to her mailing list: https://www.flormarche.com/contact/
Dormilona— Spanish for 'Lazy Bones'- pays homage to a gentle ribbing Jo received while making wine in Spain and finding herself spending so many early mornings surfing and 'being generally Australian' that she'd often be fast asleep by 9pm.
Jo Perry's wines are, simply put, some of our favourites. Delightfully balanced between raw and natural, serious and sophisticated. We love everything about these wines and about Jo's earnest and open approach to winemaking.
A lot of the wines we've featured so far are delicious, serious wines in fun clothing. By contrast Cullen and Moss Wood alum Rob Gherardi's wines bring flair and fun to a fine wine setting. His wines and history are the sort you can use to impress your friends who think they know a lot about wine, while remaining all deliciousness throughout.
A winemaker with something for everyone- Bon Gould's minimal intervention winery puts out a prolific range from easy to serious, dry to sweet, still to sparkling. Newly added is a shiraz in a can diluted with local rainwater and spritzed. With so many offerings it's easy to forget the winery is humbly run by Ben himself and a few close friends.
Wines of Merritt
Nick and Sarah's single vineyard, small batch wines champion off-the-beaten-path varietals which may just become your new favourites. Knowing your supporting such a delightful couple all the while makes their wine just that much sweeter.
Sam Vinciullo's eponymous wine label makes sense when you see his entirely bespoke operation, which involves Sam managing everything from growing to bottling to sales entirely on his own. Sam doesn't stop there, the wines he produces are also completely free from additions or sulphur. Crazy? Maybe. Delicious? Absolutely.
Nic Peterkin's L.A.S. Vino abbreviates to Luck, Art, Science, denoting his three pillars of winemaking into a phrase he often heard while making wine in Spain. He's since realised they were saying 'Los vino', but took it in his stride as the name had already stuck.
Nic's wines feature striking labels and beautiful juice inside. We love them for making a splash on special occasions- if you've ever wanted to get dressed up and fancy to make isolation a bit more fun, these are the perfect companion.
Though named after winemaker Skigh McManus, Skigh Wines is one of the most democratic wine labels on our list- being owned and operated by a bunch of Skigh's mates amongst him. You'll find the wines as friendly and fun as the crew which produce them.
Brave New Wine
A creative couple who started their label as "an antidote to working in a commercial winery"- Yoko and Andries create some of the most boundary breaking, weird and delicious wines, each with a beautiful hand painted label by Yoko. If you're looking to try out what wine can be without pretence or holdbacks, start right here.
Matt and Danni make no-sulphur wines from their biodynamic vineyard in Mount Barker. Their wines are classic Australian natural wines, funky but fresh, morish and, bright. Add to the mix their delicious tawny and this is a great winery to check out.
Refined and delicious, Andrew Hoadley makes delightful wines with beautiful labels which we can't get enough of. With funky names, it's sometimes a little ambiguous which particular varietals are in which bottle, but with cool names which describe the character of the wine better than a particular grape will, we still love it.
Ryan O'Meara makes clean, bright, smashable wines our of Mt Barker and Porongorup. Don't let our description of Ryan's wild, wild hairdo diminish your opinion of these wines, which are exactly as serious as they need to be, and will impress even your snobbiest mates.
That's everything so far for what's become a pretty big list of winemakers we love. We'll be adding more winemakers from South Australia in the coming week.