Rojomoma is a family micro winery and 5 hectare vineyard, handcrafting wine with love. Sam Kurtz and Bernadette Kaeding, together with their son Raj (who is sometimes useful) hand craft their wine every step of the way, from grape growing, making wine, designing labels and selling their precious few bottles of wine. Their vines, aged up to 132 years old, grow intensely delicious grapes, perfect for full flavoured red wines of integrity. Their wines have received many awards over the years including the prestigious Red Wine of Provenance Trophy at the 2017 Australian National Wine Show, the Most Successful Small Producer Trophy at the Barossa Wine Show 2017, the Best Single Vineyard Wine Trophy and the Best Wine from a Small Producer Trophy at the Barossa Wine Show 2012.
Sam Kurtz is a 6th generation Barossan and has been making wine for over 30 years. His family history in wine making and grape growing has continued with every generation since the 1840’s. He has worked in many winemaking roles over the years, including Chief Winemaker for St Hugo and Wyndham Estate, and Group Red and Fortified Winemaker for Orlando Wines where he managed an annual crush of over 60 million litres of wine from grapes sourced around the country. About as far opposite in scale as you can get compared to the size of Rojomoma! Sam has fortunate enough to eat and drink his way around the world, while enjoying working vintages overseas in the USA, Spain and Hungary, and consulting on projects in Argentina, China, NZ, Georgia and India. He has experienced many years of wine judging as a senior judge in Australian capital city wine shows, as well internationally in Hong Kong and Japan.
Meet the maker
Tell me your story – what got you involved in wine making?
In spite of having a family history in the wine industry I initially chose civil engineering as a career. I soon realised it wasn’t for me. Dropping out of university I got a job at a local Barossa winery to earn some money. It was while filling barrels with Chardonnay and Cabernet that I realised winemaking combined the science aspects that had attracted me to engineering, with the more fun and creative elements. So I went back to uni to study winemaking and never looked back.
In our post show visitor survey from 2017’s shows, the Barossa was identified as the visitors favourite wine region / wines. What do you think makes the Barossa so special?
The Barossa has a diverse range of soils and climates, and so can make a wide variety of wine styles. The Barossa has some of the world’s oldest soils, which have been weathered and depleted over millions of years, leading to vines that yield low crops and wines of great depth and concentration.
What’s your favourite wine from your own range that you’d recommend our visitors trying at the Good Food & Wine Show?
Our Red Art Grenache, made from our really old vines planted in 1886. These dry grown bush vines grow without the aid of trellising and irrigation. They have survived the many seasons, generations and wine fashions. The beautifully fragrant wine is rich and complex, with amazing length.
Tell us one thing that makes your own wines so special?
Our wines are extremely rare. We make less than 1000 cases each year. By hand pruning and precisely managing the vineyard we achieve very low yields. We hand pick our grapes and carefully craft our wine to truly reflect the special site on which they are grown. Our wines are deep and concentrated but still elegant.
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?
In the Barossa we have hot, dry summers and cold, wet winters. So one wine is too hard. Can I have two? For summer I’ll have a crisp Riesling matched with Coffin Bay Oysters. In winter I’ll take a Shiraz with Beef cheeks.
What wine from another Barossa Winery other than your own would you recommend visitors trying? Any hidden gems this year?
For outstanding traditional Barossa styles with a twist try Rolf Binder, especially his Montepulciano. For something a little different try the tasty Schwarz Meta Mataro.
For visitors planning a trip to the Barossa, what would you recommend them including in their itinerary of what not to miss?
Ferment Asian for amazing food and an incredible wine list. A bush walk on the Heysen Trail in the high country. A drive up Trial Hill (from Rowland Flat), with a side trip to Steingarten (bring a picnic), down to Angaston past Pewsey Vale and Heggies vineyards. A visit to David Franz Cellar Door for lunch, wine and views. The wine bars of Tanunda main street. Hire a bike and ride along the Barossa bike track.