In 2014, fifth-generation family member Hugh Hamilton handed over the reins to daughter Mary, the sixth generation of the family. It was she who developed the irreverent black sheep packaging. But it’s more than simply marketing: the business will continue to embrace both mainstream and alternative varieties, its 85-year-old shiraz and 65-year-old cabernet sauvignon at its Blewitt Springs vineyard providing the ability to develop the Pure Black label. This reflects changes in the way the vines are trellised, picking and fermenting in small open fermenters, using gravity for wine movements, and maturation in high quality French oak. The cellar door is lined with the original jarrah from Vat 15 of the historic Hamilton’s Ewell winery, the largest wooden vat ever built in the southern hemisphere. Exports to the UK, the US, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Malaysia and China.
Black Sheep by name black sheep by nature. Hugh does things differently but does them well. He plants what he’s interested in, not what’s trendy. Hugh Hamilton is the 5th generation of the family that planted the first vineyards at Glenelg in 1837, less than one year after European settlement in South Australia. Hugh is regarded as the black sheep of the family who marches to the beat of his own drum. Hugh has a clear vision about the way that he sees wine and produces accordingly. He is a firm believer in the wine and food experience. Neither is magic. Both are great, especially in the company of good friends and lively conversation. Small quantities of interesting grape varieties are Hugh’s thing. He is a master of a most reprobate range of varieties from the classics to the more eclectic like ‘The Oddball’ Saperavi, ‘The Scoundrel’ Tempranillo and ‘The Loose Cannon’ Viognier - this is no ordinary flock!
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