The 23rdof May is a very special day… not only for our immediate family, but for our Brockenchack family and friends as well.

The 23rdmarks the 19thbirthday of our grandson Jack Harrison, and to celebrate, we're launching the first of many Jack Harrison Shiraz days!

As many of you would remember, in February we launched our first Mackenzie William Riesling Day to celebrate the birthday of our grandson Macka, and it’s only fitting that we celebrate together in the same style, with a glass (or bottle in our case) of this remarkable Brockenchack Shiraz that was named in Jack’s honour.

As we gear up for a week of Jack Harrison Shiraz celebrations, we thought it might be nice to take a little trip down memory lane, to a younger Jack and the history of this great wine…

The year is 1960. This is the year the very first Shiraz vines were planted at our Eden Valley vineyard. A few years later, in 1972 the remainder of our Shiraz vines were planted out, giving our vines an average age of 54 years today. This was well before we became custodians of this beautiful land and so it is with heartfelt thanks that we raise our glasses to the former owners of our land, for setting out on this path some 35+ years before we'd even put the wheels in motion to turn one man’s dream into a reality.

Come 1972, Marilyn and I were living in Queensland and I had developed an interminable love for a hearty Barossa Shiraz. Long before I'd even fantasised about moving to the Barossa, I had loved the Shiraz being produced out of this region. In the years that followed, we began making frequent trips to the Barossa and I started to follow who I believed were the young guns of the Barossa; Shawn Kalleske, David Franz, Ben Radford, Allister Ashmead, Marco Cirillo, Christian Canute and James Linder - who now probably class themselves as old fellas! During one of these wine-trips in the early 2000s, I was sharing a Shiraz with Shawn Kalleske - likely one of his own actually, when we joked together that if I ever bought a vineyard, Shiraz would have to be the hero of my collection and Shawn would have to be my winemaker. He laughingly agreed, but I’m sure he didn’t actually think I was serious. For those of you that know me personally, you’ll know I’m a passionate guy, and that ‘jokey’ conversation was enough for me to see it through to a reality.

In 2001 our little Jack Harrison Pollock was born on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

It was a few years laterin 2007when we purchased the Eden Valley vineyard. Of course Shawn came to the inspections with us. It was the very next year that we put our new grapes to the test, to get a feel for the quality on our new vineyard, and boy were we all pleasantly surprised with the result of this trial batch. The fruit for this trial was all handpicked and produced a mere 37 dozen of our very first Brockenchack vintage, the 2008Jack Harrison Shiraz.

It was this 08 Jack Harrison Shiraz that started it all. I knew we were onto something special with the exceptional quality of wine that our new vineyard had proved it could produce.

At the time, Jack was only seven years old and getting up to all sorts of mischief. He could never sit still. I know seven year old boys have a lot of energy (any parents of young boys will understand this) but I’ve never seen a kid who moved so much – Jack was always leaping off things, somersaulting over chairs, cartwheeling, tumbling, you name it (he’d have made a great gymnast actually). But he loved getting outdoors and as he grew, this evolved into nippers, swimming club and rugby. Every school holidays, Jack, Mack, Bronte and Charli would come down from Queensland to visit us here in Eden Valley. Whenever Jack came to stay he would always be out exploring the vineyard with Macka in the buggy, or they be out on the motorbikes, playing on the zip line, or helping me out around the property.

Our Jack Harrison Shiraz was moved into the spotlight when we started scoring 94s and 96s from Halliday. Our 2010 and 2012 vintages particularly marked us on the map as a serious contender and the gold medals began to roll in for our 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015 vintages. As ourJack Harrison Shirazcontinued to rack up greatreviews and awards, including some great international recognition, we decided to start exporting this wine, making it now available for keen Shiraz drinkers in the USA, China, Malaysia, New Zealand and Germany.

We jump forward a few years now, to February 2019. It was after years of visiting us on the farm that Jack decided he could see himself settling into country life and made the move down from the Sunshine Coast to live with Marilyn and I, here in Eden Valley.

Jack has been living with us for a little over a year now and while he’s certainly kept us on our toes, it’s been great having him around. Jack is quite the handful and has always been full of energy, but we love that he’s always eager to learn, whether that be about motorbikes, our vineyard, farm machinery or winemaking. And even more conveniently, Jack decided a while back that he wanted to continue the Brockenchack name and go to university to study Oenology to become Brockenchack’s next winemaker.

Shawn Kalleske started the Brockenchack journey with us as our winemaker for the entire Brockenchack collection, but in 2015 we brought Jo Irvine on board to manage a handful of our wines and she now crafts our entire collection (although her first chance at making our Jack Harrison wasn't until the 2018 vintage). The only exception is our Pinot Noir, which is still in the safe hands of Shawn, as his special project. We’ve been lucky enough that Jo has taken Jack under her wing and has been teaching him the ropes for the last two vintages at her winery, before he heads off to uni later this year. This has given him an enormous amount of knowledge already, which can only help him throughout his studies.

Jack has a lot of ‘get-up and go’ about him and over the last year he set himself a goal to get certified with all his gun licenses, MR truck license and forklift license before starting uni, and he has achieved all of those. He’s always out riding his motorbike and spending time with mates on weekends. He’s also turned his hand to cooking more recently and has absolutely perfected his steak and fried eggs.

Much like Jack, our Shiraz is unique and vibrant, yet it continues to develop, due to the acidity and tannins in our our Eden Valley fruit, making it a great addition to any cellar. Since this first vintage, we’ve selected our Jack Harrison grapes from specific rows of Shiraz vines across various parts of our single vineyard, to ensure the highest quality is achieved. The grapes selected are all the same clone, just grown at varying altitudes and in varying soil types, which each bring different nuances and complexities to the final wine.

To date these grapes have been typically hand-picked, de-stemmed with 100% crushed berries, spent around 14 days on skins in open top fermenters before being basket pressed and matured in roughly 30% new French oak and 70% seasoned French oak for anywhere between 18 and 24 months, before being bottled. This wine is released to the market approximately 4 years after being picked.

Considering this was the wine that really lit the fire in my belly and started our Brockenchack journey, back in 2014 we thought it only fitting to create a membership that heroes this wine; ourCousin membership. Becoming a Cousin of Brockenchack entitles you to receive a dozen Jack Harrison across the year (allocated to our members first, before being made available to any other markets), along with a range of other great benefits. We are really thrilled that our Brockenchack family has only continued to grow as we now only have five places remaining to become a Cousin. A good portion of our existing Cousin members secured their places back at the beginning and have never missed a delivery! If you’re a lover of our Jack Harrison Shiraz, we highly recommend you jump on this great membership opportunity before we’re at capacity.

While the quality was exceptional right from the get-go, our Jack Harrison Shiraz has continued to evolve and mature over the years to create an outstanding wine that we are proud to stamp our Brockenchack name on. Similarly, Jack has matured into a responsible and enthusiastic young lad that we’re incredibly proud of.

Even though he grew up on the Sunshine Coast, he was always a country boy at heart. With an incredible grandfather on his father’s side who has farmed beef cattle his whole life in the Burnett area of Queensland, plus this old guy farming persimmons, avocados and now grapes… he was destined to end up on a farm somewhere… and gee we’re glad it’s here!

We’re so proud of you Jack and look forward to seeing how far you go in the future!

We’d like you to all raise a glass of ourJack Harrison Shirazwith us this Saturday the 23rdof May and join us in a 'cheers' to Jack’s 19thbirthday and the launch of our Inaugural Jack Harrison Shiraz day!