I came to winemaking via a circuitous path. While I grew up surrounded by vines at my parent’s property in Bethany, I initially studied wine marketing at the University of Adelaide. On completion of my studies I headed overseas visiting Bordeaux, Burgundy, and The Napa, working in Stellenbosch and Zell, Germany.
It was during my travels that I realised that my calling was winemaking rather than marketing and on my return to the Barossa in 1998 I began working in local wineries. While not holding any formal qualifications in winemaking, my appetite for the subject was voracious and I was lucky to learn from some of the Barossa’s finest winemakers until finally, after some encouragement from friends I approached my father to discuss buying a small parcel of his fruit from the 2001 vintage.
He agreed and I put together my first Nitschke Block Shiraz, making only two hogs head barrels. In 2002 I produced my first Thiele Road Grenache and have made both wines every vintage since. To this day my parents have supported my venture and without their encouragement and the sacrifice of some of the Barossa’s greatest Shiraz and Grenache I could not have made this dream happen.
Relationships with some of the Barossa’s finest vignerons have grown over the years and having access to some of the region’s best old-vine fruit allows me to take a hands-off, intuitive approach in the winery. I hope my wines speak to you in the glass and tell the story of my life in the Barossa. My winemaking style is purposely low intervention, I like the fruit to speak for itself, and I hope you will agree. – Jason Schwarz