Barossa Valley couple Natasha Hayes and Jack Weedon launched their new boutique label Rollick Wines in late 2019, joining a fresh cohort of producers stepping out of the shadows of the region’s well-known brands.
Partners in life and winemaking, Hayes is a marketing professional and Weedon a winemaker of more than 12 years’ experience, including several years at Henschke. The pair have also gained valuable experience working vintages together overseas.
“Jack and I have been thinking about Rollick for a very long time. We made our first wine, a Fiano, for charity back in 2014 and that was the first step to creating Rollick,” Hayes says.
Appropriately named First Step, Rollick Wines’ Fiano is made with Riverland-grown fruit, with the Italian varietal taking well to the Riverland’s climate. Hayes says Fiano has been a fun grape to experiment with.
The rest of the Rollick stable – a Shiraz, Riesling, and Viognier – are each produced using single-site grapes from the Barossa’s Eden Valley and Greenock regions.
The couple currently split their time between Adelaide and the Barossa, with Weedon continuing to consult for Barossa wineries in between working on this new venture.
Rollick Wines’ founding is the first major step of a long-term dream to establish a Barossa cellar door and winemaking facility.
“It’s been an eventful 2020 and not what you would anticipate in your first year of business. There’s no denying that it’s a tough year for most industries but we’re thrilled that we launched Rollick; we don’t regret it at all,” Hayes says.
Hayes and Weedon were both born in the Barossa; two weeks apart and delivered by the same doctor. Hayes’ family moved away while she was young and the couple didn’t meet until 25 years later, thanks to a chance encounter at a mutual friend’s birthday party.
“When I met Jack, I was introduced into the world of wine,” Hayes says.
The couple quit their jobs to take an 18-month sojourn adventuring and working vintages for wineries overseas. Weedon has completed vintages at Vietti in Italy, Villa Maria in New Zealand, and Paul Jaboulet Aine in France.
Along the way, Hayes worked as a cellar hand. She cherishes an experience in France in which she was exposed to old-world winemaking techniques with the use of gravity-fed cement fermenters.
“It was it was just extraordinary to see; I think that had been done a certain way for so long,” she says.
Closer to home, Weedon attributes much of his experience and knowledge to the Barossa’s Henschke family, with whom he worked for several years.
Hayes says that while creating their own brand was always the dream, it was worth the wait to gain valuable experience travelling, networking, and learning from experienced Barossa Valley winemakers.
“Travelling and adventuring were good for us from a personal and professional standpoint. You’ve got to go out and let your hair down and create your own stories before you get too bogged down in your own bubble,” she says.
In a region that is home to some of the world’s oldest vineyards and long-standing brands, Rollick is adventurous in its adoption of newer drinking styles – though it still pays homage to the Barossa’s history.
“We’re part of an emerging group coming out of the region. We want to ensure we respect the Barossa brand and the quality and the history that comes with it, but also show some of the youthful, drink-now styles of wine that we like — I think there’s definitely a place for that,” Hayes says.
“There are some cool, young, and interesting brands that are doing exciting things and we definitely think there’s an appetite for it. It’s the balance between creating what the region’s known for while adding your own touch.”
The vibrant artwork for the label was completed by South Australian artist Arlon Hall, a childhood friend of Weedon’s who was also the best man at their wedding.
The label was re-created from an artwork created by Hall in 2015 during a residency in New Delhi through the Helpmann Academy. The original artwork hangs in Hayes and Weedon’s home.
“Arlon has been a big part of the journey,” Hayes says. “Jack and I have travelled quite a bit, so we love that the artwork has a story behind it.”
Those wanting a taste of what Rollick’s about can order three, six, and 12-packs of their wines, delivered to your door. See the website for more information.
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