Smallfry Barossa Valley
Like its name, this winery is but a drop in the ocean of Australian wine. But oh what a drop. Smallfry is a partnership in business and life between Suzi Hilder and Wayne Ahrens, viticulturists bitten by the winemaking bug. That they are also foodies drives their winemaking down a certain path: native yeast ferments, zero to minimal adjustment, old oak, and a soft hand in the cellar allowing the vineyard to speak. Their style is food friendly, European-influenced (Wayne spent part of his youth in Spain), with a eye to balance and subtlety.
Wayne and Suzi own two very special vineyards, one in Eden Valley and the other in Barossa’s Vine Vale subregion in the valley floor. The Eden Valley vineyard has been established since 1994 while the Vine Vale block has been the Schlieb’s family seat for generations, with the last incumbent putting in 52 vintages before hanging up his snips. In other words…the vines are OLD, some dating back to the 1850s!
Winemaking at Smallfry is 100% certified biodynamic, with the biggest point of difference between them and the majority of the Barossa winemaking community being a reliance on wild yeast to conduct the primary alcoholic ferment.
“The biggest kick I get out of using wild ferments is the Dionysis thing. Wine was a gift from the gods because before microscopes no one had any idea of what was turning their grapes into wine. Fermentation was a spontaneous event to be celebrated by giving thanks to the gods, it turned a perishable item i.e. grapes into a storable, pleasant (we hope) health giving product. Crushing grapes into a fermenter then later getting in with my bare feet and feeling around for the little warm patches and mixing them into the rest of the must until within a day or two a lovely, healthy, sweet smelling ferment results is a thing of great excitement for me.” Wayne Ahrens