Our Brockenchack Journey

The story of one man turning his dream into a reality, with a lot of grit, hard work, determination and family spirit.

We've come a long way in a relatively short amount of time since Trevor decided to turn his hand to producing a Shiraz which he could be proud to call his own. It all kicked off in 2007 with the purchase of our centenarian vineyard in Eden Valley...

  • 2007

    An avid wine enthusiast since his early thirties, after many years of ‘research’, Trevor came to his own conclusion that there really was no other wine that tasted as good as Barossa Shiraz! ...so why not make some yourself?

    2007 saw the acquisition of our Eden Valley vineyard which we refer to as Home Block. It has been a working vineyard since the late 1800s with around 20 acres under vine, including Riesling dating back to 1896, and Shiraz vines from 1927.

    Prior to being planted out as a vineyard in the late 1800s, our land had been used for grazing cattle and was planted with fruit and olive trees. What is now our cellar door used to in fact house a little local butcher shop for the region. Our underground trophy room was formerly used by the butcher to hang his meat.

  • 2008

    Our first vintage.

    At this stage the majority of our red grapes were being sold under contract to Yalumba.

    Our Riesling vines were in a run-down state when we took over this vineyard. They needed two years of care to bring them back to a quality we were happy with.

    We hand picked our first small batch of Shiraz and produced just 37 dozen of our first ever Jack Harrison Shiraz... just to see what we had. Boy were we excited when we tasted our first wine and that excitement only grew at the realisation of the exceptional quality this vineyard could produce. Needless to say when those contracts expired, our grapes then stayed with Brockenchack.

    The 2008 vintage was a hot one, with 15 consecutive days in March over 35 degrees. 2008 also delivered a dry end to the year.

    Winemaker: Shawn Kalleske

    We planted an extra 2 acres of Shiraz this year.

  • 2009

    Our 2009 vintage was very dry (even our large dam was dry) thanks to a dry end to the 2008 year. However Eden Valley had moderately cooler conditions than the Barossa Valley, resulting in healthy canopies. March and April were warm and mild and resulted in gradual ripening and excellent flavour development in our reds. Our Shiraz was of high quality with good flavour concentration, but low yields. The Eden Valley standout variety was Shiraz, with minimal heat damage, gradual ripening and generally low crop levels, resulting in excellent quality this year.

    After vintage, winter rains came and filled up the dam again.

    We produced our first ever William Frederick Shiraz from this vintage.

    Winemaker: Shawn Kalleske

    Awards for our 2009 wines:

    William Frederick Shiraz - 94 points | Jack Harrison Shiraz - 93 points

    We also installed our family zip line cable ride this year, up at the highest point of our vineyard.

  • 2010

    Expansion...

    In February 2010 we purchased the adjoining vineyard, securing a solid water supply for the farm and an additional 20 acres of vines. We jumped at this opportunity to expand our single vineyard with the addition of our neighbouring block, which we now refer to as our Gunyah Block. This gave us 103 acres of land with around 40 acres under vine.

    Our 2010 vintage delivered good canopy growth and earlier winter rains. The warm and mild weather through the ripening period was ideal and resulted in high quality grapes - a viticulturist and winemaker’s delight - and produced some exceptional wines. In Eden Valley the reds were gorgeous, and the Riesling was stunning, showing delicacy and finesse with long, mouth-watering, natural acid.

    We produced and released our first ever Mackenzie William Riesling from this vintage, as well as our first ever Zip Line Shiraz, which was released approximately 18 months later.

    Winemaker: Shawn Kalleske, all varietals

    We planted a further 4 acres of Shiraz this year.

    Awards for our 2010 wines:

    Jack Harrison Shiraz - Gold | Mackenzie William 1896 Riesling - 91 points | Zip Line Shiraz - Bronze

  • 2011

    Our 2011 vintage experienced a heavy rainfall in December, regular rain throughout February, and an extremely heavy rain event in March, resulting in flooding throughout the Barossa. The rains came after our Riesling had been picked, allowing this to be a standout variety of the vintage, with beautiful natural acidity and pristine flavours. Only the reds were slightly affected, resulting in a lighter, more European style compared to our normal offering.

    Many Australian wine producers will agree that 2011 was a challenging year. It was an extremely wet year, evidenced by the record rains and major flooding throughout much of eastern Australia, including the Barossa and Eden Valleys and our own Vineyard. 

    For many, the wet season resulted in disease which dramatically decreased the 2011 yields. It was so bad that some producers weren’t even able to produce a drop of wine. However, it’s through challenging seasons like this year that the strength of a vineyard and the winemaker is really shown. 

    We, hand on heart, believe that Brockenchack Vineyard produced a remarkable crop across the board in 2011, especially given that many growers lost half or more of their normal crop. Thanks to a carefully calculated winemaking approach, our fruit was picked early and subsequently our quality was extremely high, with clean grapes, free of disease. Add Shawn’s winemaking expertise and artistry to the mix and the result was a vintage of wines that we are incredibly proud of, especially considering the challenges thrown at us.

    So for those of us who did rescue a harvest, we argue that 2011 shouldn't be written off as a poor vintage. There has in fact has been some great wines made. And while they may not be the most opulent, nor the richest, many 2011 whites and reds are proving to be disarmingly friendly and drinkable. 

    In addition to our four wines already being produced each vintage, this year we also introduced our first every Tru-Su Rose and Great Scott Sparkling Shiraz varietals.

    Winemaker: Shawn Kalleske, all varietals

    Awards for our 2011 wines:

    William Frederick Shiraz - 96 points | Mackenzie William 1896 Riesling - Gold | Tru-Su Rose - Silver | Jack Harrison Shiraz - 90 points | Zip Line Shiraz - 90 points

  • 2012

    2012 was a cracker of a vintage for vignerons and winemakers – just beautiful. Seasonal conditions were generally favourable and ripening conditions were ideal, which was greeted with unbridled delight in many regions. Milder summer conditions and cool nights in Eden Valley helped develop great flavours and good sugar to acid ratios, particularly in Riesling. Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon were outstanding in 2012, with flavor development and acids progressing smoothly.

    Consensus is that the quality of the wine produced in 2012 was high. Phrases used to describe this vintage have included "truly special”, “excellent to exceptional”, “one of the strongest on record” and “one of the region’s finest”.

    Winemaker: Shawn Kalleske, all varietals

    We planted Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and more Shiraz vines this year.

    Awards for our 2012 wines:

    William Frederick Shiraz - twice Double Gold | Jack Harrison Shiraz - Gold | Zip Line Shiraz - 95 points | Mackenzie William 1896 Riesling - 94 points | Tru-Su Rose - 92 points

    This year we completed the restoration of our historic coach house at the vineyard. Our team of stone masons lovingly restored this old coachman's quarters from just a pile of rubble and partial chimney stack. The restoration was intended to both recapture a bit of our property's 1880s heritage, and also to give our (then) under 10 year old granddaughters a cubby house to play in.

  • 2013

    The 2013 vintage in the Barossa & Eden Valleys will be remembered as the driest, earliest and quickest vintage in memory, with the Eden Valley harvest beginning in mid-February with Riesling and other white varieties.

    With a dry winter, spring and summer, irrigation was a godsend for those who had it, marking the difference between a below-average crop and none at all. January and February had very good growing conditions, with only a few hot spikes. But nine days above 30° in early March, meant that much of the Eden Valley Riesling and Shiraz ripened early and was picked in the first two weeks of March. This early harvest of Riesling meant it retained both natural acidity and great flavours, while Shiraz was probably the standout red variety from our region.

    Our under vine mulching and drip feed irrigation at the right times returned a beautiful vintage for us overall, with lower quantities, but concentrated fruit.

    Winemaker: Shawn Kalleske, all varietals

    We planted our first Grenache vines this year.

    Awards for our 2013 wines:

    William Frederick Shiraz - Gold | Jack Harrison Shiraz - Gold | Mackenzie William 1896 Riesling - 96 points | Tru-Su Rose - 92 points | Zip Line Shiraz - Bronze

  • 2014

    The 2014 vintage was a late harvest, finishing on the 6th of April. Eden Valley, similarly to other regions was presented with a range of challenges - from an exceedingly wet winter, to a dry spring and black frost in October. Additionally, a cold/windy flowering resulted in poor fruit set, a 13-day heatwave in January suggesting an early vintage, but was then followed by the wettest February day in 40 years, bringing things to a temporary stop. After this however we had ideal mild weather, resulting in fragrant reds. The late harvest with cool ripening from mid-February onwards resulted in standout Riesling and Shiraz, with excellent quality, albeit down in quantity. Because of these lower quantities we didn't make a 2014 William Frederick Shiraz this year, choosing instead to filter those grapes down into our Jack Harrison Shiraz, making a superb wine and giving us enough to share among our growing premium wine members.

    All in all, a very good vintage. Great winemakers recall it being very similar to the 2001 vintage. The rain came in on the 8th April with the vines going to sleep in an unstressed manner, setting us up for a good start to the 2015 vintage.

    Winemaker: Shawn Kalleske, all varietals

    We planted more Pinot Noir vines in 2014.

    Awards for our 2014 wines:

    Mackenzie William 1896 Riesling - 93 points | Zip Line Shiraz - Bronze

    We exported our wines overseas for the first time this year, sending Brockenchack Wines into Japan.

    We launched website sales and our Cousin membership program this year.

  • 2015

    Our winemakers reported that the quality of our 2015 vintage was outstanding, with our Shiraz showing strong colours and rich flavours. Superb weather conditions delivered a favourable and memorable vintage, with a wonderful ripening period with no hot spells, after several vintages of below average yields. The Shiraz yield was particularly strong, delivering elegant Shiraz that shows extraordinary flavour, purity of fruit and acid balance, with the potential for excellent ageing. Our 2015 vintage also provided stunning signature Eden Valley Riesling.

    We produced and released our first Charli Jaye Chardonnay from this vintage.

    In the 2015 vintage, winemaker Joanne Irvine started making our Riesling, Rose, Sparkling Shiraz and Zip Line Shiraz. Shawn Kalleske continued to make our William Frederick Shiraz, Jack Harrison Shiraz and our first release Chardonnay.

    Awards for our 2015 wines:

    Jack Harrison Shiraz - Gold | William Frederick Shiraz - Silver | Mackenzie William 1896 Riesling - Silver | Zip Line Shiraz - 92 points | Charli Jaye Chardonnay - 91 points | Tru-Su Rose - Bronze

    We exported our wines to Germany and China for the first time in 2015.

  • 2016

    Our 2016 harvest was a stand-out, with high quality fruit and supply returning to normal after several lesser-yielding vintages. Shaped by generally ideal ripening conditions, the 2016 vintage delivered dry heat with relief at the end of January with widespread rain. This, coupled with generous yields resulted in a juggling act, in order to capture all varietals at optimal ripeness. In Eden Valley, the quality was excellent for Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.

    We bottled our first Hare Hunter Pinot Noir, Miss Bronte Cabernet Sauvignon and On Point Pinot Grigio releases this year.

    Winemaker: Joanne Irvine - Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Rose, Chardonnay, Zip Line Shiraz and Cabernet.

    Winemaker: Shawn Kalleske - William Frederick Shiraz, Jack Harrison Shiraz and Pinot Noir.

    Awards to date for our 2016 wines:

    Mackenzie William 1896 Riesling - Silver | Zip Line Shiraz - Silver | Charli Jaye Chardonnay - Silver | Tru-Su Rose - 90 points

    We opened our New Zealand office in 2016 and exported out wines to NZ for the first time.

    We also exported our wines to the USA for the first time in 2016.

  • 2017

    Barossa experienced a wetter than average 2016 winter and spring. This, combined with below average temperatures in December, January and February, resulted in a later harvest than we’d seen in many years – about four weeks later than in recent years, which is relatively ‘back to normal’. With the good soil moisture and cooler temperatures, the vines were very healthy at vintage time, and a later harvest date meant the grapes ripened more slowly, enabling consistent fruit development and a gradual accumulation of sugars and flavours, which is exactly what winemakers are looking for to produce high quality wines.

    Eden Valley’s 2017 vintage produced a lovely big crop for us and some quite outstanding Chardonnay and red varieties - better quality reds than the valley floor we believe this year.

    We bottled our first Megan Jane Grenache this year, to be released over a year later to rave reviews, taking out not only a gold medal at the Melbourne International Wine Show but also Eden Valley Grenache Winery of the Year.

    Eleven varietals are now being produced from our single vineyard.

    Winemaker: Joanne Irvine - Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Rose, Chardonnay, Grenache, Zip Line Shiraz and Cabernet.

    Winemaker: Shawn Kalleske - William Frederick Shiraz, Jack Harrison Shiraz and Pinot Noir.

    We opened our luxury Brockenchack Vineyard B&B this year, offering the ultimate in luxury vineyard accommodation.

    Awards to date for our 2017 wines:

    Zip Line Shiraz - twice Gold | Hare Hunter Pinot Noir - Gold | Megan Jane Grenache - Gold + Eden Valley Grenache Winery of the Year | Tru-Su Rose - Gold | Miss Bronte Cabernet Sauvignon - Silver | Charli Jaye Chardonnay - Silver

  • 2018

    The growing season in Eden Valley started off well, with winter 2017 rainfall up slightly higher than average. In spring, drier soils, combined with warmer than average spring days meant the vine canopies grew quickly; flowering well and setting a good number of bunches. Summer rainfall for us was down on average. January and February were warm and dry, with very warm temperatures in February slowing down the pace of ripening. With the lower summer rainfall, growers with access to water, soil moisture monitoring, good irrigation management and healthy soils experienced less stress – and subsequently delivered sound fruit and consistent yields. These are all practices that Brockenchack invest heavily into. The Indian summer of March and early April was what some people are calling ‘the icing on the cake’, with average temperatures, without extremes. Overall a strong, healthy crop for us.

    We commenced hand picking for the 2018 vintage on the 1st of March with our Pinot Noir the first grapes to come off the vine. Pinot Grigio and Riesling were then machine packed in the first week of March. Chardonnay and Rosé came off next around mid March. Shiraz harvesting commenced in the last week of March and continued through to the 11th of April with each tier being picked at different times. The last two to come off the vines were the Grenache on the 11th, and we wrapped it up with the Cabernet on the 12th of April – seeing out an amazing vintage for Brockenchack this year.

    We are delighted with the high-quality grapes and great yields that this vintage delivered. The colours and flavours in our reds are exciting and the high level of natural acids in our whites reflect our great Eden Valley characteristics. Standout varieties for our region this year include Riesling, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Grenache and Cabernet. We are very excited for the release of our reds in a few years’ time.

    Winemaker: Joanne Irvine - Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Rose, Chardonnay, Grenache, Zip Line Shiraz, Cabernet, Jack Harrison Shiraz and William Frederick Shiraz.

    Winemaker: Shawn Kalleske - Pinot Noir.

    We planted a little more Grenache this year.

    We opened our cellar door, renovating this historic old butchers shop-come-brothel into our tasting bar, private tasting room and underground trophy room (the former meat hanging cellar).

    Awards to date for our 2018 wines:

    Mackenzie William Riesling - Silver | Tru-Su Rose - Silver

  • 2019

    The 2019 vintage overall produced very high quality, but lower/limited supply, with the Barossa region as a whole down between 50-80% on the prior year, and some vineyards not picking at all. This was due to high winds and spring frosts affecting flowering, followed by very hot, dry conditions in January and February. 2019 will be the lowest-yielding Barossa harvest of the past decade.

    Our Brockenchack vineyard however was only down 20% due to great care and management. We believe this is attributed to several factors, including the addition of both nutrients and cow and chicken manures, added rotationally to the vines directly and via irrigation each year. Good soil moisture kept our vines healthy in the hot spells thanks to irrigating at the right times - in spring before budding and again at flowering - coupled with our under vine mulching retaining this moisture for longer, thereby resulting in healthy crops throughout the rest of the growing season. A late frost affected a small portion of our 2019 Chardonnay grapes only. This was after grape onset where frost burning damaged a small amount, however we’re confident that this will be an exceptional year for Chardonnay from Brockenchack - watch this space. We struggled to get our Grenache to ripen adequately once the cooler weather came through, heart-breakingly, this became a lost crop this year.

    The lower yields will result in Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon with great colour, intense flavours from the concentrated fruit and firm tannin structure. This will be one of the great vintages, despite the lower yield.

    Winemaker: Joanne Irvine - Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Rose, Chardonnay, Grenache, Zip Line Shiraz, Cabernet, Jack Harrison Shiraz, William Frederick Shiraz.

    Winemaker: Shawn Kalleske - Pinot Noir.

    We planted one last Grenache patch this year.

  • 2020

    As quoted by Barossa Wine “Barossa’s 2020 wines will again be sought out early by fans and collectors, with yields tracking below the 10-year average due to temperamental spring weather, and a hot, dry summer.” 

    Our whole region’s reduced yield is partly due to some interrupted flowering in spring, thanks to some very cold nights and strong winds, followed by extremely hot, dry summer conditions. As in previous years, we focussed our attentions on maintaining soil moisture and irrigating before these heatwaves and we fared alright through the hot conditions.

    In some areas of Eden Valley, vineyards were down 70-80% (mainly due to lack of water) and in a few cases some vineyards were not even picked at all.

    Despite being down 45% on our own normal production levels, our quality is brilliant.

    Winemakers are touting this as another high-quality Barossa vintage.

    We’ve had one of the best starts to a new vintage (2021) for many years, with good rains through April and early May – things are looking good and all we need is some follow up rain with good run off to refill the dams a little. The weather experts are saying we’re in for a better than average winter with good rains for this part of Australia.

    Winemaker: Joanne Irvine - Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Rose, Chardonnay, Grenache, Zip Line Shiraz, Cabernet, Jack Harrison Shiraz, William Frederick Shiraz.

    Winemaker: Shawn Kalleske - Pinot Noir.

    We launched The Bunch membership this year.