Vintage 2019, All of the Barossa Shiraz has been picked!

Vintage 2019 started as per usual with the first of our grapes, the Semillon from Schulz’s in Ebenezer, picked late February. This was followed by the Grenache and Mataro grapes from the home block in Stone Well for our 2019 Rose. However, the first few weeks in March have been dominated by Shiraz with all our Shiraz (9 parcels in total) from the Barossa now in the winery. Just the Coonawarra Shiraz remains on the vine, and will do so for a few weeks to come.

2019 vintage will be remembered for incredibly harsh conditions, drought, heat, wind, frost and hail, meaning yields are down by perhaps 50% or more on average. Marcus tells me it is similar to 83 and 67 before that, but clearly I cannot comment from personal experience. The positive side? The quality looks extremely good at this early stage. A vintage for the small winemaker, a tough one for the soul of the Barossa - the growers.

The vines have produced small and in many cases tiny berries with intense flavours, high natural acids and massive tannin profiles. Although the ferments are still under way, the wines are showing extraordinarily deep purple colours, intense flavours and extraordinary tannin profiles. Shiraz will be wonderful this year!

But it is not all about Shiraz. We picked our Adelaide Hills Pinot last week and it too looks fantastic. Our old vine MV6 clone Pinot has produced tiny bunches of even smaller berries than normal. You can see below the difference between Shiraz on the left and Pinot on the right. The Shiraz bunches are small with tiny berries, but the Pinot takes this to another level. Andrew will have a task on his hands to control the tannin this year.

Looking forward, the later ripening Grenache and Mataro still have some time to spend on the vine, as does our Coonawarra Cabernet. The Coonawarra seems to have escaped the harsh conditions and normal yields of very high quality fruit are expected.

At this stage, we are expecting to pick the field blend from Stone Well in about a week’s time, followed by the Grenache, Mataro and finally the Coonawarra Cabernet sometime in April.

We are approaching half way through Vintage 2019. Much is still to happen but 2019 will always be remembered as a year of high quality and very low yields.

Vintage 2019 is upon us at Hayes Family Wines

Vintage time is undoubtedly the most exciting time of the year when you work in and around the wine industry. The weeks leading up are always stressful whether you are a grower, winemaker or consumer, for us, being all 3, it is particularly nerve racking. But after a long wait, we are ready, the new winery is ready, and most importantly the first of the grapes are ready. This morning we picked the 2019 Old Vine Semillon from Marcus and Ros’s place in Ebenezer. And the fruit? It looks spectacular. Very clean, ripe fruit that has retained sufficient acid to remain fresh. Christa will be very happy I suspect when this arrives at the winery later this morning.

It is a truly wonderful time to be in the Barossa, so if you have been thinking of making a trip, now is the perfect time. The reds are probably 2 weeks away, but with the hot weather forecast for next week that might come forward a bit. Vintage 19 might be a small one but quality is looking wonderful.

Tour de Cure Single Barrel - A great wine for a great cause!

Tour de Cure (

In 2007, three mates – Geoff Coombes, Samantha Hollier-James and Gary Bertwistle – met up for a quiet coffee in Sydney.   

They wanted to make a difference and decided to see what disease affected the most Australians. With 1 in 2 men and women affected by cancer by the age of 85, they decided to focus their efforts on helping to find a cure for cancer.

In 2018, two mates - Daren Armstrong (himself a survivor who has participated in the tour for a number of years) and Brett Hayes met up for a coffee of all things, and decided that we could contribute, leveraging wine to raise funds for Tour de Cure. We decided on making a single barrel, chosen by Daren from the 2018 vintage, hand label, tissue wrap and box with all the proceeds going to the charity.

The 2018 Tour de Cure Single Barrel Grenache was sourced from Glenn Becker’s old bush vine Grenache Vineyard, ‘Glengrae’ located in Ebenezer in the Northern Barossa. Hand picked at perfect ripeness late in the season, the small batch was fermented in a small open top fermenter before being transferred to a single older French Oak Hogshead. Bottled in December 2019. A wine to be enjoyed now and in the medium term.

Wine can be ordered from our wine page in 6 packs from early March 2019


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Wednesday 24th – Saturday 27th April @Hayes Family Wines Cellar Door, 102 Mattiske Road, Stone Well


 Behind all great wine there’s a story and it starts in the vineyard!

Hosted by Brett Hayes, meander through the family owned estate vineyard surrounding the cellar door and discover the synergy between the wine, vines and ancient soils. With several stops throughout the tour, sample wines from barrel and bottle reflecting several vintages harvested from the small vineyard blocks. Pass by the winery and experience the sights and sounds of the Barossa during vintage. On return to the cellar door, relax to acoustic tunes and sample the Hayes Family Wines range.


$40 per person. Allow 1 ½ hours. 2 pm Wednesday 24, Thursday 25, Friday 26 April 2019, Saturday 27 April 2019

Food is available for purchase throughout the day.

Tickets can be booked through

In with the new - Our Grenache Blanc has commenced its journey

Sometimes when you are surrounded by very old vines, like we are at our home block in Stone Well, you forget that they had once started out as young vines with no expectations and great hope for the future. Like all our children.

This past week we planted a small patch of Grenache Blanc vines on a vacant block between the winery and cellar door. They are, or will be, close planted bush vines. Today they are sticks in the ground. They will have a few tough years ahead as they put down roots into the rocky soils that characterise our block. 2019 is looking very dry so those that do make it through the hot summer will be well positioned for a long life ahead.

Grenache blanc is thought to have originated as a mutation of the red version of Grenache in Spain. It then spread across the Pyrenees to France, finding a second home in the Rhone. Grenache in its red form performs exceptionally well in Stone Well, and we hope that Grenache Blanc will do the same. Only time will tell but with any luck, we will all get to find out in 4 or 5 years down the track. Either way, it will be fun. Next time you are at cellar door, feel free to say hello to one of the few Grenache Blanc blocks in Australia.

Hayes Family Wines receives ‘Master’ Award - Drinks Business Global Syrah Masters 2018

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Overnight we received the results from the Drinks Business Global Syrah Masters. We entered 3 wines, two receiving silver medals (2016 Barossa Shiraz and 2016 Vineyard Series Greenock Shiraz) and one, the 2016 Vineyard Series Ebenezer Shiraz receiving a Master’s Award. Master’s Award sit above Gold Medals, only one was awarded in our price category. This is a truly global Syrah/Shiraz competition judged in London by Master’s of Wine. Entries are received from all over the world.

To quote “And, coincidentally, between £30 and £50, we had the same tally at the top-end, with 14 Golds and one Master. Regarding the latter, the judges were seriously impressed by the Ebenezer Shiraz from Barossa, and produced in tiny quantities by Hayes Family Wines. The tables show the other lovely wines in this category, but we were pleased to see after the tasting was concluded that great wines from Barossa; the Valais (Switzerland’s Domaines Chevaliers) and Marlborough (New Zealand’s Giesen) had been rubbing shoulders quality-wise with Hermitage (Romain Duvernay).”

Unfortunately, the 2016 Ebenezer and Barossa Valley Shiraz are sold out. Those that have purchased stock and have it in the cellar should be very pleased. Last stocks of the 2016 Greenock Shiraz are available to order on our website.

The 2017 Vineyard Series Ebenezer Shiraz (now ‘Primrose Shiraz’ has been bottled and will be released in March 2019. It can be pre-ordered on our website for Delivery in February 2019. A wine not to be missed.

The last of the 2016 Shiraz based wines to be released, the 2016 Reserve Shiraz, also from same patch in Ebenezer as the Vineyard Series Ebenezer is available on our website and can be ordered via the link below.

Barossa Wine Show 2018 - an experience not to be forgotten

Last week the 42nd Barossa Wine Show was judged in the beautiful surrounds of the Peter Lehmann Wines Old Redemption Cellar. This is one of the great events on the Annual Wine Calendar, including the Awards Presentation Dinner, this year held at Lambert Estate Wines.

What made this year even more special, was that I was lucky enough, along with 5 other Associates to participate in 3 solid days of tasting and 4 memorable dinners. Even better, I was able to share the work and fun with some great new friends.

We tasted almost 400 wines blind over the 3 days and discovered some great new wines, and many old favourites that are still excelling on the Barossa stage. For us, we were as surprised as many when the winners were announced at the Presentation Dinner. Highlights? There were many, the 2015 Wigan Riesling picked up 4 trophies, including best wine of show, and 3 vintages of the same wine picked up the Wine of Providence Trophy, but there were many great wines across the 15, 16 and 17 vintages that will be enjoyed by many for years to come.

Results will be available online at over the coming days.

If you get a chance to be in the Barossa for next years event, please do not miss it. I will be there with bells on!

Cellar Door - Gourmet Weekend - our first month

Well, what a fabulous first month. We have seen a steady stream of locals, South Australians and interstate visitors over the first month. It has been wonderful to see both old friends and make new ones. 

Gourmet has proved a great event for the Barossa with good crowds at all the schedule events despite the sometimes questionable weather. Spring? Not quite, but we had enough sun for Dragan to take a few more wonderful shots of our new cellar door. He is a man of rare talent. If you are looking for some amazing photography to decorate your home, I can confidentially say he is the very best in the business. More of our shots will follow.

Hayes Family Wines Cellar Door - Our First Weekend

Our Cellar Door at 102 Mattiske Road opened Friday with our usual flair, following an absolutely wonderful pre-party Thursday night with all those involved in its construction. A great night had by all, followed by a steady flow of Barossan's, Adelaide locals and interstate visitors. The space was a great success with our new fire place offering great warmth despite the cool (some would say cold backdrop of a winter's day). With windchill, temperatures dropped below zero at 3pm Saturday, but all left happy, a few bottles in hand and some great stories.

James Halliday Wine Companion 2019 Edition

Hayes Family Wines is once again very excited to announce our recent success in the 2019 James Halliday Wine Companion. This year, we received consistent strong ratings across all the wines we submitted with 5 wines scoring 94 points or higher. We also received the prestigious five-star winery rating (which is defined as Outstanding winery regularly producing wines of exemplary quality and typicity').

The 2019 Edition of James Halliday’s definitive guide to Australian wine remains the must-have item for wine lovers. James Halliday is one of the world’s leading authorities on Australian wine; matching intelligent and honest reviews with unparalleled knowledge of, and passion for, the wine industry.



The ratings and tasting notes for select individual wines are listed below.

2016 Hayes Family Wines Reserve Shiraz - 96 points

Grown on a small section of vineyard at Ebenezer. It spent 20 months in a single French barrique. 300 bottles only. It not only has depth it has spread. We're looking at boysenberry and blackberry, plum and toast, with wood smoke and clove characters wafting through. It's both pretty and profound, but the way both tannin and flavour unfurl through the back half of the wine is the real cause for excitement.

Drink by: 2040 / Available now

2016 Vineyard Series Ebenezer Barossa Valley Shiraz - 95 points

Single vineyard, 100% new French oak, 50 dozen. The oak is clear and obvious but the fruit is right up to the task. Smoked cedar wood and meaty spice notes ripple through pure, ripe plum, clove and blackberry. For all its richness it feels manicured and controlled. It exudes class.

Drink by: 2032 / Available now

2016 Vineyard Series Greenock Barossa Valley Shiraz - 94 points

Resiny vanilla characters open the batting but a sure-footed burst of purple berried flavour soon takes the strike. This is very young and needs time to settle but the underlying quality is certain. It's fresh, it's intense, it's perfumed and it's slipped with superfine tannin. There's no shortage of length either.

Drink by: 2034 / Available now

2017 Hayes Family Wines Estate GSM ‘field blend’ - 95 points

Old vine grenache, shiraz and mataro from Stone Well. All picked into a single bin; 300 bottles (only) were produced. It's a gorgeous mid-weight wine, svelte, ripe, flowing and fine, weight here, finesse there, length to seal the deal.

Drink by: 2028 / Available now

2017 Winemaker's Selection Rose - 95 points

Old vine grenache, hand-picked, destemmed, open-fermented in a used French hogshead, 28 days on skins, matured for 3 months, 25 dozen made. Fragrant rose petal aromas, backed by spice, introduce a high quality rose. Bone dry, bright and fresh, with small red berry flavours and a lingering aftertaste. Impossible to find any chink in the armour of perfection.

Drink by: 2020 / Sold Out

2018 Available Now

2016 Barossa Valley Shiraz - 92 points

Shiraz from the Ebenezer and Greenock districts. It spent 20 months in new and second use French oak. It's a thick, syrupy red with plum, blackberry and vanilla cream characters swooshing through the palate. This is the archetypal 'smooth red', the skin of oak as important as the body of fruit.

Drink by: 2028 / Available now

2017 Winemaker's Selection Grenache - 92 points

From old vines in the northern Barossa, hand-picked and sorted, destemmed, fermented in a single 685l ceramic egg before spending 90 days on skins, matured for a further 6 months in the egg, 75 dozen made. Light, clear crimson-magenta; fresh and lively, with twin cords of juicy red fruits and savoury/earthy fine-grained tannins. I think it's at its best now or soonish, although its balance will keep it in good stead for some years yet.

Drink by: 2021 / Available now

The Hayes Family Wines Cellar Door at 102 Mattiske Road Stone Well set to open the 10th August 2018

After a lot of hard work, the Hayes Family Wines Cellar Door at 102 Mattiske Road, Stone Well, SA, will open for visitors early August 2018. The conversion from an original iron storage shed to a cellar door has been dramatic but as we put the finishing touches to the development I can definitely say it has been worthwhile. I am sure all of the friends of Hayes Family Wines will love the space as much as we do. 

You can follow our progress here

Huon Hooke Reviews all the new Releases

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Huon Hooke is one of Australia's most respected independent wine writers. His website,, is one of the key industry reference sites and plays a very influential role in the Australian wine trade. Huon recently reviewed all our new release wines including the 2016 Shiraz-based wines, and 2017 Grenache and Mataro-based wines. We were very excited with the results. All four of our Barossa Shiraz from the 2016 vintage are currently featuring in the top 12 of his top Barossa Shiraz from 2016. Although there are still many wines from this great vintage still to be tasted, it was a great result for a small winery like Hayes Family Wines. He also featured Hayes Family Wines in an article "Spectacular shiraz-a-thon" on the changing face of the industry, that article can be found here.

The detailed notes for all his reviews can be found on our wine pages but some highlights below

Our Current Release Shiraz

2016 Hayes Family Wines Shiraz (sold out)

95 Points - Deep, dense red/purple colour with a glass-staining saturation of colour. The bouquet mirrors this with tremendous chocolaty, concentrated richness. This is also evident in the mouth where it is very rich, powerful, mouth-filling and blackberry-ish. There is some star anise and liquorice, too. The wine has formidable richness. A sumptuous, bargain-priced shiraz. (1058 bottles) 30/3/2018 Drink 2018 to 2036

2016 Hayes Family Wines Vineyard Series Greenock Shiraz (last stocks are available here)

94 Points - Deep, dark, dense red/purple colour with a marked charred-oak bouquet, smoky, sooty and earthy qualities. The wine is deep and earthy, concentrated and fleshy with a bitter dark chocolate and coal-dusty earthiness, which is very typical of the district. The tannins are soft and the wine is fleshy and delicious in a savoury way. The oak is just a wee bit overcooked. (630 bottles) 30/3/2018 Drink 2018 to 2036

2016 Hayes Family Wines Vineyard Series Ebenezer Shiraz (sold out)

95 Points - Colossal colour: very saturated purple/red, with a concentrated plum juice aroma to match. The wine is very intense and concentrated, essency and mouth-filling, with tremendous power and density, at the same time impressively supple and smooth, fleshy and easy on the tongue. It borders on jammy but gets away with it. A lush, decadent style of shiraz. (620 bottles) 30/3/2018

Drink 2018 to 2028

And a few of our Future Release Wines

2017 Hayes Family Wines Carol & Ivan's Pick Grenache Shiraz Mataro (to be released September 1)

93 Points - Deep purple/red colour with a shy, chocolaty aroma and subtle black cherry notes. The palate is rich and lush in sweet ripe fruit: medium to full-bodied and smoothly-textured, with abundant ripe tannins. A very smart wine indeed. It's lovely now and will age well for many years. 17/3/2018 Drink 2018 to 2032

2016 Hayes Family Wines Coonawarra Shiraz (to be released September 1)

92 Points - Deep, bright red/purple hue. Spicy and oak-tinged aromas predominate, the palate medium-bodied and lively, refreshing and crisp but not high in acid. Lovely freshness and brightness. Red fruits more than dark. Very good line. A fine wine. (920 bottles) 30/3/2018 Drink 2018 to 2030

2016 Hayes Family Wines Reserve Shiraz (to be released September 1)

96 Points - Deep, dense, concentrated red/purple colour with a slightly shy nose which hints at smoky char oak and black fruits.The palate is very fruit-sweet, almost luscious, almost as though there's residual sugar, a massive fruit-bomb, but it also has formidable tannin and structure to keep the balance. A massive, beamy style of shiraz, and very good in its way, if not my personal favourite. It is bordering on syrupy, but there's just enough tannin to keep it in check. A very impressive, spotlight-hogging style of wine. (300 bottles) 30/3/2018 Drink 2020 to 2038


The Firsts Frosts of Autumn, Time for the Vines to Rest and Shutdown

After another relatively lengthy season, today we saw the first of what I am sure will be many frosts of Autumn/Winter 2018, signalling to the vines that their job is done for another vintage. At this stage of the year, we love the frost, the cooler the better, to help the vines truly shut down and to naturally kill off some of the pests in our organic and biodynamic vineyards.  Last year we got as low as -8, this year, who knows.

We expect we will see the last of the leaves fall during the coming week. For some, that will signal the start to another season with pruning, but for us, we will hold out until July or perhaps August to ensure that the vines have extracted the last of the nutrients from the 2018 growing season. 

It is a beautiful time to be in the Barossa, the fires in the local homes, restaurants and gathering spots will be lit for another year. What a time for big reds and port. Lovely!


Vintage 2018 is drawing to a close

As the last few batches enter the winery (just a bit of Mataro to come this coming week) it would be fair to say 2018 has been a truly wonderful vintage, a little longer than what we would have expected during the heat of February, but with most of the wines now resting in barrel, and the first wines of the vintage, the 2018 Rose and 2018 Semillon to be bottled next week I am a very happy that it is coming to a close with what I am sure will be a great selection of wines to come over the next 2-3 years.

The highlights for me are tough to nominate, but the 2018 Rose and our numerous Grenache blocks look spectacular, as do some of the special parcels of very old blocks that have a special place for me, I am sure will repay our efforts for many years. The Coonawarra Cabernet really stood up this year and although new to the winery, already is a standout. I cannot wait to see them progress in barrel and into bottle over the next 2-3 years. When you are next in the Barossa please ask Andrew or I to show you a few of the barrels.

Alice was a great help over vintage, her note taking I am sure will help us all. 

Sunday Mid Vintage, a great time to be in the Barossa

For Barossa Growers, Vintage 2018 is drawing to an end, pretty much all of the shiraz and Grenache has been picked, and most if not all of the Mataro is still on the vine (we have the Ebenezer Grenache to pick tomorrow and the Mataro in a few weeks). Probably means there is about 1 month to go before the vines, and there growers, can take a long overdue rest. For the Winemakers it is a different story, with plenty of ferments underway and more to come.

At Hayes Family Wines, we have about 10 different ferments underway, with our first Shiraz and Grenache pressed and likely to go to barrel tomorrow. The others will follow over the coming week. It seems many weeks since we picked the first of our Semillon and the old vine Grenache for the rose, but those wines are ready for bottling and will be put down the line during April and will be released later this year. Both wines look excellent, with freshness and lighter alcohol, they will be a great hit over spring and summer.

Overall, the fruit looks excellent, with beautiful colour, perfume and structure. This is looking like a great vintage in the making albeit for a generally bolder style of red.

Tomorrow we are picking our very old Ebenezer bush vine Grenache. Great old vines that are and always have been dry grown. They produce the most wonderful fruit, but for a person 6 feet high, I really wish that they had learnt to grow a little taller in there youth some 100 years ago. The fruit I am sure will be worth it.

Vintage 2018 for reds is here, and all varieties have come together

This week has been a busy one in the Barossa. The week of the 12th of March will be remembered as the week when everything ripened and came in to the winery together. We have picked the Stone Well and Ebenezer Shiraz, and the Koonunga Shiraz and Grenache, with more to come this week. The fruit looks fantastic, aided by dry weather, cool nights and warm but not hot days for the later part of February and March.

The vines have come through the earlier heat stress of January and February, but to be frank, the shiraz is ready for a long rest of winter. Fortunately, we will have picked all our Shiraz and some of our Grenache this week as will most other wineries. 

Adelaide Cellar Door Fest 2018 - A Great Success

Vanessa and I spent the long weekend pouring our new releases for a large group of locals and a few interstaters at the Adelaide Convention Centre. It was a great event, lots of happy people tasting some wines from all over South Australia.

For us at Hayes Family Wines, it was our first local event, and we met some great people, shared a few drinks and enjoyed some wonderful food. I think a great success for all involved.

A nice break from vintage, but now for the reds, starting Monday.

And Now the Semillon is in the bin, and now in the Egg, Barrel and the Stainless

This morning, 1st of March, we picked our Maderia Clone Semillon from the Historic Schulz Property of the Northern Barossa. These Semillon vines have a great history of producing wine of extraordinary freshness, texture and flavour. This year, we are trialling 3 project wines from the patch, a ceramic egg, oaked and an unoaked wine. They will provide interesting drinking in 6 months time.

We picked 3.7 tonne, the destemmed berries going straight to the egg, sealed, and placed in a secure location for the next 3 months. The free run going to stainless, and the pressings going to two second use French oak barrels. 

I am wishing the Semillon all the best. And on to Shiraz, perhaps 2 weeks from now.

Vintage 2018 is with us, Our First Grapes, Our First Wine

At 7am on the 27th of February, we started picking our first grapes of the highly promising 2018 vintage, some fabulous old vine Grenache from Koonunga, in the very Northern Barossa. This patch is owned by one the great gentleman of the Barossa Valley, Ian Becker.

Three hours later, we had 2 small bins, or a little over 1 tonne of Grenache fruit destined for the 2018 Rose. Picked early at just 12.2 baume to retain all the freshness the grapes could muster. 

Off to the winery, grapes were crushed, a little over 3 hours later, into the press, and what beautiful colour. Settling overnight, and into barrel for fermentation this morning. And the juice? it looks absolutely beautiful, pristine fruit flavours, excellent natural acid. And thankyou my Becker, your fruit is superb.

And to tomorrow, the old vine Semillon from the Historic Ebenezer Property of Marcus Schulz

Vintage 2018 is upon us

After a cool and at times downright cold winter, a beautiful and wet spring and a dry and at times very hot summer, Vintage 2018 will soon be upon us. At this stage, we expect to pick our first grapes, the 2018 Semillon from Marcus' vineyard in Ebenezer on Monday or Tuesday next week.

At this stage the grapes look like they have come through the heat with flying colours, modest baume's and excellent flavour development. This year we will be harvesting from an additional four vineyards, a dry grown Grenache block in Ebenezer, Koonunga, Coonawarra and the Adelaide Hills. As usual just very small quantities but these select patches are sure to deliver very interesting grapes. An exciting vintage no doubt but a long way to go.