Purple Hands Wines was started in 2005 by Craig Stansborough and Mark Slade, long-time friends who shared a passion for good wine. Stansborough also happens to be chief winemaker at Grant Burge Wines and the 2014 Barossa Winemaker of the Year. Together, the men share a vineyard at the southern end of the Barossa Valley from which they source much of the fruit for their wines.
They share their story here as part of a series profiling wineries participating in the 2016 Cellar Door Festival next month.
Our story …
“When two good mates get together, one the chief winemaker with a major winery from the Barossa Valley and with his own vineyard, the other with a passion for wine, the inevitable had to happen and Purple Hands Wines was created. We had a humble beginning, making just 100 dozen in the first vintage. Just over a tonne of hand-picked Shiraz was crushed and barrel-fermented in Craig’s shed, and then came the hard part – to find a name for the label.
“Anyone who has made red wine will know what a pair of purple-stained hands looks like. A red-winemaker’s hands become stained purple during vintage due to the constant contact with grape skins and the juice. Of course when winemakers are busy, they wipe their hands on their shirt, and this was the inspiration behind our name and wine label.
“We experimented with some white T-shirts, some red wine and some fun in the garden. The rest was left to the label designer to translate our concept to the label.”
What we do best …
“While we love a vast array of styles of wines, our aim is to produce premium wines showcasing not only the Barossa but each little patch of dirt where we source grapes from.
“We aim to make balanced wines so they can be consumed as young wines, but will also become interesting and enjoyable older wines. So that really means they can be enjoyed now, but we are confident our wines have the potential to cellar if you have the patience.
“Our greatest passion is to promote and develop Barossa Grenache as a wine of elegance but substance that suits the climate we live in. We source our bush-grown old-vine Grenache from the Zerk family, just outside Lyndoch in the Barossa Valley.
“We are dedicated to making this bright, medium-bodied style wine, with little to no oak influence to let the fruit shine through, while providing structure on the palate to make this a thoroughly enjoyable wine for many occasions.”
What our place means to us …
“We own a 32-acre (12.9ha) vineyard at the southern end of the Barossa Valley, just north west of Williamstown, with a great aspect and near-perfect dirt, friable red clay with ironstone and quartz, ideal for growing high-quality red grapes.The southern end of the valley is recognised as the ‘cooler’ end of the valley, with slightly lower temperatures and longer ripening periods to develop flavours. Not only is the view exceptional looking back down the Barossa Valley to the north, but the elevation provides for great air flow and drainage, ensuring the vines are given the best possible chance to grow premium grapes.
“The vineyard plantings include Shiraz, Montepulciano and Aglianico. We source premium fruit from this vineyard as well as Grenache, Mataro and Cabernet Sauvignon from a small group of dedicated and passionate growers from the region.
“Our Ancient Vine Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from a vineyard just outside Lyndoch, where circa 1880 PF Zimmerman planted 468 Cabernet Sauvignon vines on his family property ‘Woodlands’. We believe this to be one of the oldest bearing plantings of this variety in Australia and we feel privileged to be the custodians of this special part of the Barossa.”
What we will bring to the Cellar Door Fest …
“We will be bringing our range of reds and our Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris. The Cellar Door Fest will see the release of the 2014 Planta Circa Ancient Vine Cabernet. This stunning wine received 97 points from James Halliday for the 2013 vintage, and there are only 60 dozen made, so people will get the first chance to snap up a little piece of history from the Barossa at the festival.”
Why we take part …
“We do not currently have a cellar door, and we love to get our brand and our wines out there for people to try. We especially love introducing people to wines they may not have seen a lot of, such as our Old Vine Grenache and our Mataro-driven blend of Mataro-Grenache-Shiraz.”
Craig Stansborough and Mark Slade will join 180 other South Australian food and wine producers at the 2016 Cellar Door Fest from February 26 to 28 at the Adelaide Convention Centre, where they will have their Purple Hands Wines available for tasting and purchase.
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