Translated copy from Jost and Juliane Bettinga’s ‘Wine-Travelling’ bog post of Feb 4, 2019:
Excellent wine from the Eden Valley and Brockenchack Wines a rising star:
“In the Eden Valley, world-class wines are produced!” This statement had us curious and moved us to make a trip to the wine region near the Barossa Valley. By chance, we found a very special vineyard there, whose wines we really liked very much. We found it particularly interesting that the winemaker is a career changer and only a few years ago found his way into the wine industry – without any studies or other background in wine growing. Find out more about the Eden Valley and the winery Brockenchack later in the article.
The Eden Valley
If you visit the Barossa Valley, you should not miss the Eden Valley. Because not only the landscape is beautiful and impressive, the wines are definitely worth a visit. Eden Valley is next to the well-known Barossa Valley. Together they form the Barossa Zone . It is hilly and higher than the Barossa Valley and therefore cooler and rainier. This allows the cultivation of heat-sensitive plants, such as the Riesling. In the Eden Valley, there is a sub-cultivation area, which is referred to as High Eden and is at 500 meters above sea level, probably the highest wine-growing area in Australia. In the Eden Valley mainly Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling and Chardonnay are grown.
Wine growing in the Eden Valley
The Eden Valley, with just over 2000 hectares of cultivated land, is not particularly large, accounting for just 1/5 of the area under cultivation in the Barossa Valley. Many of the wine cellars in the Barossa Valley also have vineyards in the Eden Valley, because the cooler climate produces a different style of wine there. In addition, there are 32 wineries that are located in the Eden Valley, and of which we want to introduce you to a very special one below.
Our wine tasting in the winery Brockenchack
You can reach the winery Brockenchack over dirt roads because it is located away from the main traffic arteries of the region. Actually, we just wanted to stop by for a quick visit and a small tasting. That did not work out though. Our intended short visit became an exciting 4.5 hour tour with tasting! After a warm welcome by the landlord Trevor and his dog Rex, we got directly into the history of the building, which already had a lot to offer. The main building was a butcher shop and then a brothel for some time before it was converted into a cellar door. Snippets of the story can be seen in the lovingly restored building and the red lamp, which indicated the availability of the lady, hangs today on the wall. After the tour, we continued with an entertaining buggy tour of the beautiful vineyard overlooking the vineyards. We certainly will not forget this tour so soon, because besides the fast driving style of Trevor we also saw our first kangaroo here.
The wines of Brockenchack
What can we say – we were thrilled. Brockenchack makes modern and light wines that are fun to drink with every sip. And that’s exactly what they were designed for. They are uncomplicated and come with plenty of fruit (Pinot Grigio) and a pleasant acidity (Riesling). A total of 11 wines from 7 different grape varieties are offered, including Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Included here is a typical for Barossa; Sparkling Shiraz and a stronger premium Shiraz which matures up to 18 months in the barrel and another 2.5 years in the bottle. It is made from only the best quality grapes. The wines start at a modest $17 and go up to $150 per bottle in the premium segment.
Background to Brockenchack Wines
During the tasting, we learned much about the genesis and motivations behind Brockenchack. The owner, Trevor, actually comes from the construction industry and has run his own construction company for many years. At some point, however, that was not what he wanted for himself and his family so he decided to sell the company and pursue his passion, the wine. During his years in construction he also built up a wholesale liquor trade and bottle shops. It was 2007 when he bought the winery in the Eden Valley and started his own brand, Brockenchack. The name Brockenchack composed here of the name of his four grandchildren together ( BROnte, MaCKENzie, CHarli and JACK).
In 2008 he did his first Brockenchack harvest which was just enough for 444 bottles of his “Jack Harrison Shiraz”. He has since steadily expanded the winery and now manages over 40 acres of vineyards (about 16.2 ha). He has 11 different wines in the repertoire, processed 7 grape varieties and produced in 2018 a total of 100,000 bottles. Granted, that does not sound like a “big player” in the wine market, but that’s not the goal of Trevor. His goal is to produce premium wines. He increases the level of his wines from year to year. Incidentally, the business will later be taken over by his grandchildren.
The tasting, the stories and the tour of the vineyards were impressive and extremely entertaining. The 4.5 hours went by in a flash. Of course, you realize that behind the winery is capital and in the past high investments were made. Only in this way was the winery able to grow in brand diversity and quality so fast. But that is not bad, on the contrary! With his communicative style and his hands-on mentality, Trevor immediately enthuses. We were impressed by the passion with which he wanted to create a high quality product and how straightforward Trevor’s goal is to make the name Brockenchack big. And he will, we are sure of that.
For those who travel to the Barossa Valley, we recommend taking a trip to the Eden Valley and visiting Brockenchack Wines there. It is worth it!