The South Pack: Young Australian winemakers on a mission

August 15, 2009

The wine glut in Australia makes wine marketing a true challenge. Many vignerons and wineries have to knock on endless doors of wine outlets, restaurants and retail shops. You get sick of it. Among others, that’s one of the reaosns why eight young independent winemakers from Victoria have created “their own thing”. They call themselves “The South Pack”.


Three years ago they started their own roadshow to Melbourne and Sydney. Instead of going out and selling wine, they decided that people should come to them. They look for a suitable location, a restaurant, a hotel or any other suitable facility and invite the top trades and restaurant people to come for a tasting: meet the maker and his wines. Usually it’s accompanyied by food and music and great fun.


The eight young winemakers (actually they are nine people) knew each other through the wine business and are friends and mates. This year the roadshow will be conducted for the third time. Last year, also Brisbane was included. Attendence is by invitation only but numbers at the shows have multiplied every year. This year will be no different. There is a great interest to meet the originators, the magicans, the winemakers and have them talk about their products: hand carfted artisan fine wines of ourstanding qualities. These wines are not like the industrial liquids, technically well made wines but a bit ordinary, normal, faceless.


Meet the unusual. I only know one of the eight personally, Timo Mayer, a longtime friend. Timo is the winemaker of Gembrook Hills in the Yarra Valley and has his own vineyard and label. He made our award winning ‘2002 Two Hills Sauvignon Blanc’. He told me all about South Pack. I was exited to learn about this initiative and its immediate success.

Even if you have not been invited, just pick up some of their wines. Most of them you can buy online. Here is where to find and contact them:

Luke Lambert: mainly Syrah from St. Andrews, Yarra Valley and Nebbiolo from Heathcote.

James Lance – Punch: The winery in the Yarra Valley was severely affected by the bushfires, produces Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon

Gary Mills – Jamsheed (named after a famous Persian king): Shiraz and Gewuerztraminer

Timo Mayer: Bloddy Hill he calls his vineyard on the top of a windy peak overlooking the Yarra Valley, most of his 2.5 ha are under Pinot Noir, some Chardonnay and some Shiraz

Mac Forbes: wines come from the Yarra Valley (lots of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) but also the Strathboogie Ranges (Riesling). The so called “alternative wines” are made from fruit from other wine regions in Victoria. Here you’ll find varieties such as Barbera, Gruener Veltliner, and Blaufraenkisch

Adam Foster -Syrahmi: another winery from Heathcote with beautiful Shiraz wines
I could only find references ot his wines but not a proper website.

William Downie: solely Pinot Noir wines are made by William, the fruit comes from the yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Gippsland

Barney Flanders and David Chapman – Allies: Allies is a collaboration between Barney and David. They produce a variety of wines (one label is called “Garagiste”, implying garage wines of made of excellent fruit; there must be a lot of French influence!?). Their Pinot and Chardonnay wines come from the Mornington Peninsula, the Shiraz comes from Heathcote (no surprise).