Elderton was the name given to a vineyard that was first planted on the banks of the North Para River in Nuriootpa in 1894 by early German settlers, the Scholz family. In 1916, it was purchased by Samuel Elderton Tolley who built himself a sprawling homestead on the Estate and sold the fruit to his family’s winery. It was run successfully for many years, but became derelict in the early years of the vine pull (circa 1975).
“If you buy the house, I will give you the surrounding 72 acres of old vines for nothing”. This was the proposal offered to Lorraine and Neil Ashmead in 1979. The rambling old homestead looked ideal for a growing family and the Ashmead’s worked tirelessly to salvage and restore a phenomenal treasure of a vineyard.
In 1982 the first wine was made under the Elderton Label. Tough times prevailed, but ultimately the vision of the founders shone through and Elderton is today celebrated as a major reason for the rejuvenation of the Barossa. In 1993 Elderton shot to national prominence after winning the Jimmy Watson Trophy. International success ensued. The wines of the Elderton Nuriootpa vineyard are enjoyed globally for their richness, vibrancy and uniqueness. They are celebrated for being traditional examples of the best of the Barossa.
The second generation took the reins of the business in 2003. Brothers Cameron and Allister believe very strongly in continuing the traditions that began a generation earlier, on the Nuriootpa vineyard. Wanting to take the family company to the next level, they together devised a plan to buy great vineyards in other significant sub appellations of the Barossa. Through using sustainable practices, the hope is that the next generation of the Ashmead family have a lot to work with when they are at the helm. In 2007 a great little vineyard in the Eden Valley was purchased and this was followed in 2010 by the purchase of a vineyard on the northeast corner of Greenock. The intention of making wines from these exceptional vineyard sites is to celebrate the differing terroirs of the Barossa and showcase the absolute best that the Barossa has to offer.
Tell me your story – what got you involved in wine making?
It is a family affair. After Mum and Dad ‘accidentally’ bought an old derelict vineyard in the middle of the Barossa Valley in the late 70’s, and started making wine from 1982, it was very easy to be seduced by the family business and the blood, sweat and tears, along with all the good times that are involved.
In our post show visitor survey from 2016’s shows, the Barossa was identified as the visitors favourite wine region / wines. What do you think makes the Barossa so special?
Community. Respect for the land. History. Humbleness. Quality. Personality. Food.
What’s your favourite wine from your own range that you’d recommend our visitors trying at the Good Food & Wine Show?
Estate Shiraz. Whilst not the most expensive wine that we make, I believe this is our flagship wine and represents all that is great about the Barossa in the one glass.
Tell us 1 thing that makes your own wines so special?
We do not follow fashions as a winery, as we believe that style is more important and long lasting.
If you could only drink one wine for the rest of your life, (hard one, we know!) what would that be and what food would you pair it with? Young Eden Valley Riesling with Oysters and other amazing Australian seafood, spicy food and Chinese food – or cellar it for more toasty and rich flavours and pair with barbecued or roasted Barossa Valley Chicken.
What wine from another Barossa Winery other than your own would you recommend visitors trying? Any hidden gems this year?
Go and see our friends at Gibsons. Cracking Family, and if they are pouring their Nero D’avola it is an amazingly delicious wine made from grapes that are native to Italy and made famous in Sicily, but by the looks of what Gibbo and Adam have achieved, it could have a future in the Barossa.
For visitors planning a trip to the Barossa, what would you recommend them including in their itinerary of what not to miss?
A breakfast burger at the farmers market and / or a wondrous coffee from the lovely people at Casa Carboni to ward off the excesses of an indulgent and fun Friday night….