Grant Burge’s Chief Winemaker has travelled the world, but no matter how far or how wide he roams, he still calls the Barossa home.
Craig Stansborough is a fourth-generation Australian, with a provenance that includes the great winemaking nations of Germany and, ahem, England. Perhaps unsurprisingly, none of his predecessors worked in the wine trade, but being born and raised in Gawler – South Australia’s oldest country town, known as the Gateway to the Barossa – winemaking was always on his radar.
Landing his first job as a cellar hand for B Seppelt & Sons gave him the perfect introduction, and he credits his time there as making a huge contribution to his eventual success. “One of the things the industry does so well,” he says, “is the way people are so generous with their time.”
I was one of those kids who didn’t really know what they wanted to do. I tried everything from factory work to roof tiling to restaurants. Then I got a job at Seppeltsfield in the Barossa and on day three I suddenly knew exactly what I wanted to do. It was a lightbulb moment. It was really a tasting with a couple of the winemakers at the time and their explanation on the difference in what I was tasting, I found all of it intriguing. And I was really lucky that there were four or five winemakers who took me under their wing, invited me to tastings and gave me encouragement
I loved that Burge was always a dynamic company, producing good wines. It always had a vision. I still get excited about the vintage and seeing what it’s about to become, and looking at the ferments, seeing how the wines develop and how you can caress them into something special. I seek purity and vibrancy with structure and persistence, which is not always achievable in every season but it is the aim. Above all I want drinkability!
Absolutely, you have to encourage them. If you think you know it all because you’ve been in the business for 30 years, that’s just wrong. This business is all about ideas and vision and trying things out to see what will happen, and a lot of that comes from the younger winemakers. Obviously you don’t want to create 100,000 litres of something you can’t sell! But you start small and build. It keeps everyone refreshed.
Grenache is a wonderful variety that is now getting the recognition it deserves. We’ve created some wonderful blends with it. GSM is one of the most fun blends to create because it has so much complexity, and it’s so bright and versatile. Shiraz is the workhorse of the Barossa. There are myriad shiraz styles here but I really think they’re at their high point right now; stunningly balanced and fruit driven. And then of course there’s our Shadrach, which is our premium cabernet. Grant Burge had this vision to make a straight Barossa cabernet, and he knew of a site in the southern part of the Eden Valley called Corryton Park where he planted his