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People Wine & Drinks

Taking chances

epicure 31 May 2011

Veteran Yalumba winemaker Brian Walsh successfully blends experience with experimentation to create exciting wines.

Founded in 1849, Yalumba is the oldest family owned winery in Australia, and its name pops up when Barossa’s history is mentioned. The winery sits near the small town of Angaston, where a scattering of B&Bs offers rejuvenation after a day in the vineyards. Ask the accommodation’s matron for her take on Yalumba’s offerings in the past, and chances are she’d mention its sherries or ports.

Back in the late 1970s and 1980s, Yalumba had a tradition of being a supplier of fortified wines. When Brian Walsh came aboard, owner Robert Hill Smith—a fifth-generation descendent of the winery founder, Samuel Smith—wanted to move away from those sweet tipples, as he could not foresee a future in them. “Some of our reds had also lagged in quality,” reveals Walsh. “So we lost a bit of reputation in the 1980s. We went through a transitional period, where we moved from a mainly fortified wine vintner to a table wine producer.”

Excerpt from the June issue of epicure

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