A few weeks ago I was approached by Jacob’s Creek Wines who asked me if I would be interested in doing a ‘behind the scenes’ photoshoot at Jacob’s Creek Winery in the beautiful Barossa Valley and be a guest of Jacob’s Creek for 3 nights.
Jacob’s Creek have just launched a ‘Made by’ campaign. They have a fantastic new TV ad which you can view here.
Wine is birthed from the land, but shaped by all the dedicated people behind the brand with their passion and the care they take with everything they do; Jacob’s Creek is inspired by a tradition of winemaking that is over 165 years old but also about the simple enjoyment of sharing the wines with others. So I was excited to be asked to be part of the campaign.
This is one of my most favoured parts of Australia, as I have so many friends down there now, due to my many visits for photo work in the past 1.5 years, and it really is a very special part of this diverse and beautiful country. It holds a very unique place in my heart due to the passion in its people for producing incredible wine and food.
I was asked to fly down and be a guest of Jacobs Creek as they wanted to show me all the winery has to offer visitors and have me sample their superb wines and sublime food.
Over all I had an incredible time. I leant so much about wine I never knew before. I love drinking wine, but over the past few years during my career in food, I have been blessed to get a much better understanding about the craft and passion which goes into wine production.
I hope this extensive post inspires you to get down to the Barossa region and experience all the things I did at Jacob’s Creek, first hand.
At the Visitor Centre there is a display vineyard that has 14 different varieties of wine grapes, each variety planted as one row. The varieties include Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Merlot, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Semillon, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, etc.
During the growing season, October to March, visitors can observe the differences in the growth pattern, leaf shape, bunch size and appearance, and ripening progress of the grapes to learn how unique each grape variety is. Some ripen early, some late, some have big berries, and others are small. Each has its own character and requirements to get the best quality fruit at harvest time.
Beyond the display vineyard is the real vineyard, which supplies Shiraz grapes to some of our Jacob’s Creek wines. Shaun explained how they tend to the vines with careful irrigation, pruning, and managing the canopy for excellent vine health as well as ideal fruit ripening.
After my visit, to answer a question I asked Shaun on the day ~ he made some calculations and based on last year’s harvest each vine produced about 2.8 bottles, so there is approximately 200 bottles of wine produced from each row.
This experience was total fun and it takes you on a sensory journey to explore how your five senses affect the way you taste wine.
This involved using black sensory glassware to challenge assumptions you may have when deprived of the ability to judge a wine by sight, and also tasting different coloured foods, and foods with different sauces/condiments to experiment how that affects the way the food matches with the wines. I learnt a lot in this session ~ especially being a cook.
I am used to pairing white wine with chicken and red with beef etc, but I learnt through experimentation, this is not always the right route to take.
For example, if you are serving chicken with a fruity sauce, red wine actually works a lot better to bring out the flavour in the dish. It was a really interesting and enjoyable part of my trip and overall shaped by a deep understanding of flavour.