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About Our Wine
Bottled Sunshine, Vineyards and Winery
Our Wine Philosophy
Greek speakers will know that Aphelion means from the sun and this concept is
central to our winemaking philosophy.
Our intentions are clear - to bottle sunshine.
And we mean it. Rob uses minimal intervention winemaking
techniques, allowing the sun's life sustaining force to shine out of the
wines. Wines that are bright and fresh.
From our perspective, the ascendancy of our McLaren Vale wine brand Aphelion has been relatively meteoric. In the space of six short spins around the sun, we have turned our tiny, one-tonne project into our full time pursuit and one of the hottest brands on the market.
To market, to market, we need a fine coat. Creating the label was sunny serendipity.
Using a sun-driven and ancient photographic technique called cyanotype, Lou crafted the recognisable Aphelion labels. In cyanotype a flat object is placed onto a piece of photographic paper. Two natural chemicals are brushed over the object. Finally, the paper is placed under the direct midday sun for about an hour to prove. 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 gave each wine it’s own personality and it’s own colour, which is washed over images of clouds. Some people see waves, or mountains. Even a race car and an alligator! What do you see in our labels?
Aphelion’s first vintage in 2014 was made from a single tonne of perfect
Blewitt Springs Grenache. It sold out.
A second vintage and another tonne of Grenache sold out in 2015, and in 2016,
we went for it and tripled production.
Good thing we did. The next year, in 2017, Aphelion was named in the Top 50
in Young Gun of Wine Awards and Rob took out Best New Act.
Our wines took off and we didn't slow down.
Vintage 2017 we reached for the sky and bought 19 tonnes of grapes. This made new wines, Sagrantino, Mataro, Shiraz. A curly haired cherub was added to the mix, our daughter Clairette, and we spent 3 months in Barolo learning Italianate winemaking skills.
After winning the Young Gun of Wine Award in 2018, we leapt into the sun with both feet and now work with 32-35 tonnes of grapes a year.
Winning McLaren Vale’s Best Small Producer in 2019 gave us confidence that we were on the right trajectory.
Covid led to another shift and now it is our full time pursuit. Scary! Exhilerating! All of our skin is in this now. We have added a new range, we welcome the Welkin, to house our ridiculously drinkable, out of McLaren Vale, and experimental wines. Welkin means vault of the sky. From the sky, from the sun, we craft these beautiful bottles for you.
McLaren Vale is a beautiful place to live, work and for you to visit. Bush and forest clad hills make way for verdant plains that finish in cliffs by the sea. We invite you to explore, and would love to pour some bottled sunshine for you at our cellar door or in our vineyard.
We now hand (and foot) craft a range of up to 12 wines. Each with its’ own personality, it’s own deliciously sunny story to tell in your nose and mouth. Let the sunshine in and give them a try.
As first generation winemakers, our small family business remains focussed on producing the absolute best of McLaren Vale and surrounding regions.
Though we own no vineyards or winery of our own, we instead create lasting relationships with growers of only the most extraordinary fruit, and lease space in a winery where we have full use of facilities and equipment to craft the best wines possible.
We foster positive and energetic relationships with our growers, a handful in particular have been with us from the very beginning. This continuity is a thread that takes the radiance through every wine we make.
Farmers in McLaren Vale till our rich, ancient soils in environmentally sustainable ways to harvest world class produce.
McLaren Vale itself is incredibly diverse, boasting 19 different soil types and over 60% of its’ land being managed under our world leading Sustainable Winegrowing Australia program.
The varieties we’ve chosen thrive in our warm Mediterranean climate. They are what McLaren Vale is best-suited to: Grenache, Mataro, Nero d’Avola, Sagrantino.
Also Chenin Blanc; a white with a tendency to bring people together - gathering in polar palates from Sauvignon to Chardonnay.
Our growers are passionate about producing premium, hand tended grapes. We partner with only the most select, unique parcels of land and highly skilled growers who harness the sun and sky into pristine grapes.
Essential to create the premium quality of Aphelion Wine.
Robyn & Gary Waite
Cathy Charnock & Peter Lockett
Thank you. Without you, we are cloudy skies.
From the vineyard, to the winery.
The next stage in the journey of grapes to your glass, next to your plate.
In an effort to concentrate Rob’s efforts on making delicious wine, not managing a big shed of machinery, we lease winery space to undertake our winemaking with full access to a full suite of winemaking equipment and facilities.
The magic, once the place and equipment are sorted, is in the winemaker’s hands. Much like Michelin starred chefs, it is half science and half art.
Rob’s careful winemaking lets the sun shine right out of these pristine grapes and results in incredible aromatics that perfectly suit what we put on our dinner table, and the best moments in life. Drinks on the deck with friends. BBQ’s at the beach. A night out at a fine diner.
After the effort that goes into producing grapes, against the odds of drought, storms, and birds, we wouldn’t want to waste a drop. When making wine, some juice naturally bursts through the grape skins during fermentation. This is drained off as free run juice. What is left are moist skins and berries that had not burst. By pressing and squeezing the skins, more juice is extracted, with a style all of its own, distinct from free run juice.
Working with the fruit this way lends itself to many small batches which Rob expertly blends together to create delicious, complete wines.
Our aim in the winery is to handcraft minimal intervention authentic, quality McLaren Vale wines.
Wines that the sun shines right out of.
Wines that speak of their provenance and match perfectly with the food and occasions that you love.
Do tell us if you feel that.
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