Australia Trade Tasting profiles Paracombe Wines, a boutique Australian winery from a storied region.
Since they bought their land in 1983, Paracombe founders Paul and Kathy have been hard at work making their dream of owning a winery come true. Today, they have grown what was once their idyllic garage project into a full-fledged operating winery. Expanding from 100 cases to a facility capable of crushing 2000 tonnes of fruit in just over twenty years, Paul and Kathy have built Paracombe into a premium wine label through dedication and honest hard work.
As you open a bottle of The Reuben – A Paracombe family blend named after Reuben Chapman who was a great community man that was revered for giving a lot to the district in the early days of Paracombe – one can only wonder how the wine making process has changed since his time. Anticipating the subtle taste of chocolate and tobacco swirling in your mouth, a great whisp of blackberries and strawberries meet your nose and you are reminded of what a great adventure these new pioneers are truly on.
After twenty years perfecting their craft, Kathy and Paul are sharing the fruits of their labour with the rest of the world. Today, Paracombe Wines are exported to United Kingdom, Canada, Europe and Asia.
We caught up with Kathy Drogemuller and she gave us some great insight into how we can all live the Paracombe way of life – It’s one of those unique stories that seems right out of a fairytale.
Tell us about your family winery – where does the name come from and what’s the story behind the brand?
Paracombe is the name of the small rural township where we are located in the picturesque Adelaide Hills, South Australia. Just a half an hour drive from Adelaide CBD and with vineyards and orchards laced through the district, it is a truly beautiful part of the world. Our remarkable story started in 1983 when Paul and I bought a burnt out, old dairy farm after the devastating Ash Wednesday bushfires of 1983. With no background in growing grapes or making wine, we planted vineyards. Then we discovered there was a history of grape growing and winemaking in the region dating back to the mid 1800’s which had died out. So began our passion and vision to revive Paracombe as a premium wine producing area. We started making wine in our tin shed with a home built basket press, second hand milk tanks and crusher. With just 100 cases of three wines we launched Paracombe Wines in 1992.
Today we have 14 wines in the range, have expanded our vineyards, designed and built a winery with facility to crush to crush up to 2000 tonnes of fruit, underground cellars and stunning cellar door.
Paracombe wines are made, bottled, packaged on site and distributed direct from the winery. This soft environmental footprint and authentic style of management has helped Paracombe Wines harness an identity and reputation for producing ecologically crafted wines with finesse and style. Our son Ben has joined the family business and we have an amazing team who all contribute to making Paracombe a successful, award winning winery. It is a wonderful, inspiring success story.
Are your wines produced exclusively from grapes from your vineyards?
Our Paracombe range includes some stunning single vineyard wines from our family vineyard at Paracombe like our Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. We also have some superb single vineyard wines from our Paracombe growers such as the Malbec and Shiraz Viognier. Then there is the wonderful five varietal wine – The Reuben is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec Cabernet Franc and Shiraz harvested from our family block as well as grapes from three local growers.
In addition to our own home vineyard, we also source grapes from local specialist family growers with whom we work very closely to ensure our high standards are met. All vines are hand pruned with minimal irrigation to keep yields low, contributing a strong influence in our premium wine style.
Paracombe has won numerous awards. Tell us about the ones that mean the most to you and why.
Our very first Trophy, for our 1997 Sauvignon Blanc, at the Royal Adelaide Wine Show will always be memorable. And then when our 2012 Sauvignon Blanc won Trophy for Best White Wine in Shanghai in China in the SIAL Wine Awards, was up against 320 winery exhibitors from 11 countries including China, France, Spain, South Africa, Australia, Germany, Hungary, Greece, Tunisia, Portugal, and Italy that was very awesome.
Recently picking up awards for our Chardonnay, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz just makes a fantastic statement about how very special Paracombe is proud to represent Adelaide Hills wine region, which is producing world class award winning wines across a range of varieties and wineries.
What are you planning on highlighting at Australia Trade Tasting?
We’re excited to show our wines, tell our story and realise new opportunities for Paracombe throughout Australia and meet trade and media attendees. We have an incredible offering: Pinot Noir; Chardonnay Sparkling with parcels of back vintages over 22 years; crisp aromatic whites – Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris; point of difference reds like Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and a cool climate Shiraz with great generousity of fruit.
We want to grow by supporting our partner distributors in Victoria and New South Wales and gaining more momentum in the trade by finding new partners in states like Queensland. South Australia is incredibly strong for Paracombe, and we want to find partners ready to achieve and realize our vision for a national Paracombe.
Paracombe wines represents Australian ideals that mimic those of a long and storied history of wine making throughout the world, but their open philosophy to the modern wine industry has given them the exposure they need to succeed. The family winery offers a unique look back at what the Paracombe wine region once was, while also representing the potential of what it will be in the future. Looking out over the Paracombe vineyards, it’s easy see why Kathy and Paul were so enchanted by the land and eager to make Paracombe Wines a national story.
Are you a wine importer, wholesaler or distributor looking to source with Australian Wine Labels? Get Involved and connect with leading Aussie brands at Australia Trade Tasting.