Best Value Win­ery of the Year

PROVE­NANCE WINES, Gee­long, Vic­to­ria

Halliday - - Halliday Wine Companion Awards 2019 - Pre­sented by Lang­ton’s Fine Wines

Scott Ire­land wasn’t lov­ing his me­chan­ics ap­pren­tice­ship, so at the age of 19, he joined a friend on a trip to the Barossa Val­ley, where he promptly fell in love with the wine in­dus­try. “I’ve never re­ally es­caped it from that point on,” he says.

It’s easy to un­der­stand why, par­tic­u­larly af­ter hear­ing Scott re­flect on his first wine job with the late, great Peter Lehmann at his epony­mous Barossa win­ery. “It was the ca­ma­raderie that got me,” he re­calls of the in­dus­try’s lure. “Mar­garet [Lehmann] would cook for about 30 peo­ple ev­ery night dur­ing vin­tage. And as the shifts changed over, the crew would stay and play darts and drink beer un­til they felt like go­ing home.”

Win­ery work fol­lowed all over, from Coon­awarra to Mudgee, the Hunter

Val­ley and Tas­ma­nia, plus stints in

Europe and the US. When the Vic­to­rian na­tive re­turned to his home state, Scott spent five years at Dro­mana Es­tate and then helped de­velop Gee­long’s Clyde Park, be­fore start­ing his own la­bel in the re­gion in 1997– Prove­nance, this year’s Best Value Win­ery. It’s a pretty good run for some­one who went to night school to learn the science he needed for wine­mak­ing.

Hav­ing re­cently moved into a new site

– a re­stored 1870s blue­stone pa­per mill on the Bar­won River – Prove­nance is en­joy­ing a new phase, com­plete with a cel­lar door and cafe. Cre­at­ing a place for peo­ple to en­gage di­rectly with the wines has been a long-term vi­sion.

“For us, it’s about where the fruit comes from, hence our name,” Scott says of the range. “It’s not about the wine­mak­ing, it’s about the fruit. You can’t make great wine out of crap fruit. You just can’t! We’re all about sourc­ing the vine­yards with the best prove­nance.”

Scott is pas­sion­ate about south-west Vic­to­rian fruit, as show­cased across the range, sourc­ing from Vic­to­ria’s cool Bal­larat, Henty and Mace­don, and their own Gee­long site. To­gether with wine­maker and now co-owner Sam Vo­gel, they put the fo­cus on chardon­nay, shi­raz, pinot noir and pinot gris. “Our wines are quite sup­ple and bal­anced, and not nec­es­sar­ily big,” Scott says. “We want them to have an in­her­ent bal­ance that draws peo­ple back for another glass.”

And with a range that spans from $25 to $47, that ex­tra glass is very pos­si­ble. “My num­ber one rule has al­ways been that you can’t make a wine you can’t sell,” Scott says. “It must sell and it must be of great value be­cause there’s a lot of good wine out there.”

Scott Ire­land.

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