Brothers at War
What’s the worst a little sibling rivalry could bring? A few bruises and a couple of stitches are all part of the joys of brotherhood! We couldn’t have been more different, opposites in every way. Until wine came into our lives…
Brothers at War Wines began in 2013 with a tonne of grapes and two brothers’ vision to create world-class wines with unique expression, using small parcels of exceptional fruit from some of the Barossa’s greatest characters.
While only in their 20s, Angus and Sam Wardlaw could be considered veterans of the winemaking game, having access to the vast knowledge (and cellar) of their ‘old man’, David Wardlaw, a pioneer of Barossa winemaking. Then there’s older brother, Andrew, who started his winemaking career in the 90’s, and before long was producing some of the first natural wines in the region.
Picking up childhood friend, Matt Carter (who has long performed the role of referee between the brothers), and Eden Valley vigneron, Chris Alderton, along the way, Brothers at War has grown into an award-winning wine label.
Together, this group of family and friends are looking to the future, adding new varieties and styles to the Brothers at War portfolio, and staking their own claim in wine, while keeping a family tradition alive (not without a few fist fights here and there!)
Meet the maker
Location: Angaston, SA
Tell us your story – what got you involved in winemaking?
In some respects, you would say I had little choice but to be involved in wine…it’s kind of a family legacy. From an early age, I knew I wanted to be a winemaker. My old man, David Wardlaw, could be regarded as one of the Barossa’s winemaking pioneers, working alongside some of the greats of Barossa wine, including Peter Lehmann, Wolf Blass, Jim Irvine and John Vickory. My older brother, Andrew, started in wine in the 90s, and produced some of the first natural wines in the Barossa for his own label, Tin Shed Wines. He would often drag us out to help him pick, prune or walk over the ferment.
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?
What’s really special about the Barossa is the vastly different wines it produces, reflecting the different climates and sub regions of the area. From the big reds coming from vineyards in the warmer depths of the northern Barossa to the more subtle and elegant wines from the high Eden Valley. Plus, it’s an amazing place to live, work and play!
What’s your favourite wine from your own range that you’d recommend our visitors trying at the Good Food & Wine Show?
We’re very proud of our ‘I’m Always Right’ Cabernet which started with just a tonne of grapes from the Eden Valley vineyard of (our now business partner), Chris Alderton, and went on to win the trophy for Best Cabernet at the 2016 Barossa Wine Show. This wine shows great regional and vineyard expression, and is an excellent example of the elegant Cabernets that the Eden Valley produces.
Tell us one thing that makes your own wines so special?
It might sound clique, but making wine isn’t a job for me….it’s a passion. I think (and hope) that the love and attention we put into every detail of the winemaking process – from the vineyard to the winery – really shows up in the end result. I count myself lucky every day that I have a job that I love…and I have to say that I’m proud of everything that we produce.
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?
I’m a big Grenache fan. I could drink it all day, every day (really!) I’m not fussy about what I pair it with, but it goes great with grilled tuna, roast duck or a good pork sausage.
Which wine from another Barossa Winery, other than your own would you recommend visitors trying? Any hidden gems this year
Definitely, Schwarz Wine Co. Grenache! (no surprises there) I highly recommend giving this wine a try!
For visitors planning a trip to the Barossa, what would you recommend them including in their itinerary of what not to miss?
There are so many small, interesting producers popping up in the Barossa. I would recommend taking the time to try something new. One of my favourites is El Estanco in Greenock – a small cafe with an ever-changing, seasonal lunch menu, and a Friday wood oven pizza night. You can BYO too.