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It Takes A Village To Make A Fine Wine

About our people

It takes a village to make a fine wine.

Well, just about. Hand-crafted, small batch winemaking involves lots of characters as the grape is transformed from the sun and the sky, the vineyard to your glass.

Each of those characters has a very important role in crafting delicious, climate appropriate, enjoyment creating wines.

Read more about the sunny people behind Aphelion Wines:

• Meet the Mack's

• Meet our Growers

• Our Journey

Meet The Mack's


A bottle of Barolo changed our lives.

Such a revelation to taste the sun on the vines, the winemaker’s careful hands, the years in oak from the very first sip.

This moment crystalised it for us in 2005, and foretold that wine was to be a big part of our future.

Together in 2014 we started Aphelion Wine with huge excitement and a fistful of dollars. This appetite for hands (and feet) on hard work stood us in good stead to grow.

Here at Aphelion HQ we are Rob & Lou Mack. We’re ably assisted by our daughter Clairette, our newest addition bubba Mack, a #winecat and a #winedog.

Everything, from vineyard selection, winery work, labels, bottling, distribution, marketing, export, sales, cellar door, social media, order picking packing and dispatch – that is all Rob & Lou. Strategic decisions for the business are shared between us, generally over dinner and a glass of wine.

So hello from sunny McLaren Vale!!

We are so glad you have found us.

Our life’s goal is to bottle sunshine to match perfectly with the foods you love and your life’s best moments.

Cheers to that!
Making up the Aphelion team, we have:

• Rob & Louise Mack

• Clairette Mack

• Sari #winedog

ROB MACK: FOUNDER & WINEMAKER

Rob has fast gained a reputation as “Mr Grenache”. As Founder, Director and one half of Aphelion Wine Co. Rob is our well respected winemaker, business manager, and an esteemed wine judge. Raised in Adelaide, Rob started Aphelion with a dream to hand craft premium wines in McLaren Vale, to showcase the unique environment and the variety of each parcel of fruit.

Prior to striking out on his own, Rob worked at Kilikanoon in the Clare Valley, Laithwaites Wine People in Sydney, McLaren Vale Winemakers and Serafino in McLaren Vale.

Rob’s a smart cookie with a business degree from UTS and a great palate after completing the Len Evans Tutorial, Advanced Wine Assessment Course, as well as a WSET Level 3 Cert. In 2016 Rob graduated with a Bachelor of Wine Science from Charles Sturt Uni after six years of study along with a University Prize where he was recognised as the graduate with the highest skill in sparkling wine production.

In his (limited) spare time, Rob likes to go mountain bike riding in the Willunga Hills, walk his wine dog on the beach, play with his daughter,, travel, and go skiing.

He really is an all round nice guy.

Say hi to Rob by dropping him a line at rob@aphelionwine.com.au



LOUISE RHODES MACK: FOUNDER & OWNER OPERATOR

Lou prides herself as a “Selley’s Fill The Gaps”, having a finger in every pie at Aphelion. Louise grew up in the bush suburbs north of Sydney, riding bikes and horses, sampling her Dad’s wine collection and joining trips to the Hunter Valley.

A transition from her career as a corporate sustainability professional into wine and food feels like a natural one. Louise walks her talk, supporting an ethical, sustainable lifestyle that is so easy in the beautiful, abundant McLaren Vale region. Lou has a great palate and won the amateur blending competition at Lerida Estate in 2008 – beating Rob to the title!

Writing has been a passion from a very young age, and Louise is the author of the popular Wine Food World – food, wine & travel blog.



MEET MONTY

Mr Monty is the newest member of the Mack family.

Super chilled with a considered navy blue gaze.

His current favourite beverage is a copious daily (and nightly!) amount of the house white on tap.



MEET CLAIRETTE

A key part of the Aphelion team at the tender age of three

.Clairette is a bright spark who loves meeting people, especially at cellar door or on the phone.

Unofficial marketing director, Covid Marshall and visitor greeter.

Our muse and sunshine.



MEET THE #WINEDOG

With her gorgeous white-gold locks, Sari really should be the covergirl for Wine Dogs Australia!

The livestock guardian instinct is strong in our 6 year old, half Italian Maremma sheepdog.

No shrinking violet, you will likely be greeted to our cellar door with a huge bark! But fear not - her other half is Golden Retriever so she is friendly and smiley with a big waggy tail.

Sari loves to run and play with her squeaky toys which she uses to “communicate”, and digging up deeply buried rocks and other treasures – she’d make a great truffle dog!



VALE OUR #WINECAT

Monte our Brown Burmese is warming laps at the cellar door over the rainbow bridge.

After 15 years of greeting cellar door guests, seeking to convert non-cat-lovers, and being extraordinarily patient with toddler "love", he deserves his long rest.

Our Growers

Without our growers, there is no Aphelion Wine. They craft from the earth and the sun premium grapes with minimal intervention in Australia’s most sustainable wine region. Nestled between hills and the sea, their hard work and passion is seen on the vines and in the bottle..

We work hand in glove with the growers of our premium quality fruit. Inspired by their sustainable viticultural practices, their philosophy matches ours. These parcels are hand tended using modern equipment and time old methods to create low intervention wines that speak and taste of the land they are from.

Two of our key growers have been with us since the beginning of Aphelion.

MARSH BRINI

Marsh Brini has a passion for his vineyard that is clear when you meet him. It is all around you when you walk his SW facing, SW-NE running vineyard off Chapel Hill Rd in the Blewitt Springs sub-region of McLaren Vale.

80 year old Grenache bush vines are protected from birds with modern innovations, such as helium filled balloons that rise and fall to frighten birds away.

Bush vine Grenache can only be picked by hand – it’s impossible to get a machine harvester to take the fruit from this style of vine pruning. Fermenting whole bunches adds a different complexity of flavours.

The 80 year old bush vines, under Brini’s care, put the sun’s energy into both grapes and stems. Why not make use of both?



JO LOPRESTI

Nestled between the town of Willunga and the sea is White’s Valley, where our rare Sagrantino is grown.

Other emerging Italian varietals, like Nero D’Avola, are also grown here by Joe Lopresti, as they are so suited to the Mediterranean climate of McLaren Vale.

Running north – south on this west facing block, three precious rows of scarce local Sagrantino are grown and carefully hand tended.

Our Journey



Aphelion is Ancient Greek for "From the Sun"

Aphelion was founded by Lou & Rob in 2014 with a fistful of dollars and the sun in our eyes.

We knew we wanted to specialise in Grenache.

We knew we wanted to make aromatic, elegant Grenache.

We knew that the best Grenache fruit in the country is from Blewitt Springs.

So we set about woo-ing our grower. We managed to secure 1 tonne of pristine whole bunch, 80 year old bush vine Grenache from Blewitt Springs.

From this one tonne, we made four wines. The now historical (and legendary?):

  • Aphelion Grenache Whole Berry
  • Aphelion Grenache Whole Bunch
  • Aphelion Pressings
  • Aphelion Grenache.

We sat on the floor of our kitchen on newspapers with a crock pot of white wax and hand dipped every bottle, then hand applied the labels - made with Lou's artwork and a graphic designer friend from Sydney.

All this 3 months after moving to McLaren Vale from Sydney.

In 2015 and 2016 we floated between 1 and 3 tonnes of grapes.

Wine critic Mike Bennie was an early reviewer who loved our wines and as a result of his scores and reviews we sold out our wines including to some restaurants and wine bars, which was terribly exciting!

This gave us the confidence in 2017 to expand to our first commercial vintage of 19 tonnes, to evolve our labels and packaging, expand our range to include Shiraz, Mataro, GMS, Sagrantino, introduce a sub-range By Aphelion of experimental wines like Clairette's Clairette - a tribute to our daughter born in 2017.

Our Grenache focus and continuation of small parcel winemaking continued with those very first wines renamed:

  • Aphelion Aromat
  • Aphelion Verdant
  • Aphelion Confluence.

To our great excitement in 2017 we were Top 50, then Top 12, and then Best New Act in the Young Gun of Wine Awards.

This gave us the confidence that we really were on the right track, and gave us attention from wine lovers, restaurants, wine bars, critics and importantly distributors. We now needed help to sell our increased production and signed on with distributors around Australia.

Rapture was born. Our best of vintage pinnacle wine in its' distinctive black and white label.

Packaging was updated, adding embossed caps, necks and labels, and wrap around labels.

We planned and launched our wine club - the Sun Lovers Club offering members exclusive wines, discounts, and surprises in their wine shipments.

In 2018 we increased production again and were as high as the sun to win the whole Young Gun of Wine competition in Hobart, Tasmania!

We were starting to get great reviews from the few key critics we submit our wines to - Huon Hooke The Real Review, Nick Stock at JamesSuckling.com , Mike Bennie and Gary Walsh at TheWineFront.com

Our labels and packaging were updated again, with a line under APHELION, further clarifying of the colour personality for each wine, dropping the "The" ahead of each wine's name.

And the Rapture moved to it's show stopping bottle with guaranteed TCA free cork and beret of hand applied black wax. We'd come full circle and back to hand waxing again!

2019 we went national with our distribution (apart from Melbourne and WA) by partnering with red + white.

A January trade trip to Hong Kong, our key export market cemented relationships there and allowed enough time for some family holidaying.

At the McLaren Vale Wine Show we were thrilled to be named McLaren Vale's Best Small Producer.

2020 we opened our cellar door - the front room of our heritage Willunga home - and had to close it a few months later with the onset of COVID. Covid rocked us hard.

With no restaurants or wine bars trading our sales suffered.

Export stalled to a trickle.

Our poor old website broke and refused to let anyone through checkout.

We took this time to look again at how we worked. How we could pivot, prepare, plan and set in place better ways to bring bottled sunshine to you.

  • reopened in June and launched a unique "Back of the Ute" vineyard wine tasting experience.
  • Updated our Sun Lovers Bottled Sunshine Subscription Wine Club to be flexible, more exclusive, and with more VIP treatment for our members.
  • Launched our first Christmas packs.
  • Made more effort with our blog and social media.
  • Offered direct sales via order form or email to make up for our lack of online ordering during covid.

Most importantly, it was the support of wine loving folk like you that got us through. Being willing to order direct kept things going here at Aphelion HQ.

When the silver lining opportunity to step away from other work and make Aphelion our fill time pursuit arose - we took it.

All of these things combined to keep us afloat.

The sun is shining. The vines are growing. Vintage 2021 is set to be a brilliant one.

We hope to share some bottled sunshine with you soon, or again!



Taste the sun in our wines, easily paired to food and your life’s best moments.

We aim to showcase the best of our home region, McLaren Vale, as well as select pockets of surrounding regions in South Australia.


Our Labels.



Lou crafted our label image using an ancient photographic technique called cyanotype. To create an image, you place a flat object on a piece of paper, brush over two natural chemicals, and place the page to prove in the sun. Everywhere the light touches becomes beautiful shades of cyan blue. The space under the object remains white. Our object was a feather with the top cut off that was on Rob’s Akubra hat. In the white-space of the feather we have placed clouds and colour to distinguish each of our wines.



What we stand for.


Taste the sun in our wines, easily paired to food and your life’s best moments. Genuine, Authentic, Quality McLaren Vale Grenache & other climate appropriate Mediterranean varieties. Our growers are our partners coaxing premium quality fruit from select parcels of land. We invite you to be part of our family.
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