This week we met some of the team behind Collector Wines, visiting their vineyard at Wallaroo and then the beautiful cellar door at Collector. We wanted to understand how this fantastic wine gets to our shelves; all the way from idea, to vine, to bottle.
We spoke with Alex, the dedicated wine maker and founder behind the brand and Emma who is the face behind the social media and wears a range of other 'hats' at Collector Wines. They answered our 6 quick questions, however we also learnt an awful lot about the wine making process and the stories behind the products from Luke at the vineyard and Kate at the cellar door.
We first met Emma the week we started stocking Collector Wines at POP. Emma hosted a special (and socially distanced) wine tasting with our team. From that night our appreciation of wine sky-rocketed and we knew that we had to share more with you all.
Lucky for us, timing was perfect, and we managed to experience the start of the new wine season!
The wine season begins with pruning the vines and we captured this during an early winter morning. The vines are carefully pruned, leaving just enough new wood to promote bud growth. These buds develop and the vines prepare for baring fruits that will be produced into wine.
Alex, how long have you been making wine and how long has Collector wine been running?
I got my first taste of winemaking with Dr. Edgar Riek at Lake George (just down the road from Collector) in the early 1990s. Lake George had a fair bit of water in it then, and Braddon was car dealers, Spokesman Cycles and the telephone exchange! Our first vintage at Collector Wines was 2005. In between, I did an Oenology (winemaking) degree at the University of Adelaide, and worked in a few different regions around Australia and the world.
Why is local shopping important to you?
Emma - Shopping local is important because community is important, and we've seen only too recently how communities come together to support each other in tough times. Wine is a product that is so firmly rooted in where it comes from, and for us it's really special to share those wines with people who are familiar with that countryside and love it just as much as us
Alex– Who doesn’t have urges?
For both of you, what is your favourite stage in the wine making process?
Emma - Definitely vintage, when we harvest and process the grapes to make wine. I think my favourite time is about three quarters through vintage. I find the aromas from the red wine fermentations are at their most intense and it's a feast for the eyes and the senses.
Alex – Vintage is a big adrenalin rush and definitely has its appeal. I do love pruning in winter – the cold air and winter sun (most days) and the wines and vineyards are sleeping – there’s less to worry about.
Alex what are your predictions about the next big wine trend?
I think the use of blockchain or similar tech, as well as the rise of regenerative viticulture are two exciting developments that we’ll see more and more of. I also think the word cloud hovering above Braddon will contain “FIANO” and “SANGIOVESE” in larger and larger font size as time passes.
What is your favourite spot in Canberra?
Emma - there's a spot by the lake, near Scrivener Dam, where you can look over the lake, up to the Arboretum, with Telstra Tower in the background. In the early mornings mist hovers over the lake and it's just magical.
Alex – The ANU campus, lots of great buildings!
What have you been binge watching?
Emma - Alex, you're going to have to bring the hip cred here! I don't watch tv hardly at all. The last thing I binged was The Crown on Netflix... on reflection literally what I've been binging last weekend was Hamilton. I got to see it on Broadway a few years ago and it was incredible. Now it's come out on Disney and I am caught up in Hamilton fever all over again!
Alex – I don’t really stream much – our family, including the 9-yo, was quite addicted to the recent re-runs of The Office (US) on ABC.
We noticed this wonderful catalogue; the works or Rosalie Gascoigne. We had conversations about her work, the local setting and the inspiration she has provided for Alex and Collector Wines. We were lucky enough to travel along Marked Tree Road and sit at the look out above Lake George, where Rosalie Gascoigne would spend time working.
Without giving too much of the magic away, each wine is named after a Rosalie Gascoigne work, except for Marked Tree Road. We'll leave you to explore why that may be and discover the magic of this stunning place for yourself.
Visit the breath-taking Collector Wines cellar door, at 7 Murray St, Collector.