Best Value Winery of the Year
PROVENANCE WINES, Geelong, Victoria
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.”