Q. How has being a family-owned winery harnessed success?
A. We are very lucky that everyone gets on so well. It’s a long game getting a wine business off the ground, and you have to be prepared to make mistakes – regularly. But ultimately, thinking of what we want this to look like in 10 to 20 years is hopefully a real strength of ours.
Q. Could you share some exciting news on your prime and lesser-known varietals?
A. We managed to source a wonderful batch of dornfelder for the first time this vintage. A soft, juicy red with great flavour and incredible colour. We can’t wait to show off our first vintage later in the year. In the meantime, it formed the basis of an early release red blend, solstice, which is our first sulphur-free wine.
Q. How has being sustainable fostered a sense of community?
A. Part of being sustainable is making use of the community around you. We’ve endeavoured to source knowledge and goods from as close to the farm as possible. This approach allows us to continually discover the amazing people that make up the surrounding community. We can’t wait to open our cellar door so we can more easily share our little patch of turf.
Q. How has your winemaking philosophy developed over time?
A. Every year we learn more about the capabilities of our vineyard, though we’ve had a fairly clear philosophy for Mewstone Wines from the beginning – it’s been about doing less to make sure the vines and the site are the centrepiece. This minimal intervention approach has increasingly informed the winemaking of our hughes&hughes label. This year, for the first time, hughes&hughes has been entirely naturally fermented, and we have introduced two sulphur-free wines.
Q. Can you distinguish your two ranges, and explain how they work alongside each other?
A. Mewstone Wines is our vineyard in Flowerpot; its fruit grown and wines made are the heart of our winery. These wines reflect our unique sight and the seasons that create them, while always having an eye to the future. Then we have hughes&hughes, which is about exploring ideas. By using great growers from around the state, we’re always trying to make wines that may be challenging, but always enjoyable.
Q. Could you describe the emotion felt once being awarded Halliday's 2019 Best New Winery of the Year?
A. Matt's story is the best – he was driving our new ute from Sydney down to Hobart, and accidentally hung up on James, not knowing who it was, or how to use the car phone. James called back and said “Hi it’s James Halliday here” and gave him the news. Matt had to pull into a truck stop. He immediately called me and said, "you wouldn’t believe who just called me!", it was quite surreal.
Q. How did you celebrate being awarded Halliday's 2019 Best New Winery of the Year?
A. The event itself was great fun, and meeting James Halliday in person was a highlight. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many wine glasses on one table. After the event, we headed to Bar Tini for a few too many dirty margaritas. In hindsight, the eight am flight the next morning was poor planning.
This article was produced by Halliday Wine Companion in partnership with Mewstone Wines.