Food & Wine

w i n e  w i t h  

h e a r t  &  s o u l

What’s better than good wine? Wine made by passionate people with strong environmental and moral ethics. Meet Michael and Alisa Hart of Hart of the Barossa, the oldest certified organic vineyard in the Barossa Valley. 

One of the highlights whilst gallivanting through the Barossa Gourmet Weekend was an up close and personal wine tasting experience with the Hart’s for their event – Shiraz Flights with Barossa Bites. 

We arrived at the property, the first sight being a cheeky sign stating ‘Don’t panic, it’s organic’. I felt like before even meeting the Hart’s, I could see this place would be packed with personality and sincerity. A short walk up a long, lavender lined driveway and we were met by Michael Hart who greeted us at the entrance to the Old Bar’n, their ‘meeting place for wine lovers’. 

We were a couple of minutes late so everyone else of the 12 person seating had already assumed their positions, but we were welcomed with warm smiles. The first thing I noticed was the abundance of beautifully presented wine glasses, already poured for our tasting. After I took that in, I took a moment to absorb the rest. The Old Bar’n is a beautifully renovated space overlooking the vineyards behind. 

The barn, estimated to have been built in around 1902 when the vines were planted, was pretty worse for wear when the Hart’s took over the property in 2009. The thatched roof had collapsed and was too far gone to fix. However, in trying to keep the building as original as possible, they retained many of the wooden beams and sourced aged corrugated iron to repair the roof. They added a touch of modern class with birdcage chandeliers resulting in a stunning mix of new and old. 

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Our Shiraz tasting experience started and Michael ran through an introduction of himself and wife and fellow vintner Alisa, and told us about their business. What sets them aside from other wine producers, is not what they do but what they don’t do. 

Alisa says “That’s what makes our wine unique, no pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers. We continue our theme of organic into the winery. Our practices include relying on natural yeasts to undertake the primary fermentation and natural malolactic bacteria to perform the malolactic fermentation”.

The Hart’s aim is to use sustainable farming and natural wine making philosophies to ensure that the wine they produce is better for your health, better for the environment, and ultimately – tastes better too. 

When taking their guests through a tasting, Michael and Alisa love to share their story and meet and spend time with people who love and appreciate wine as much as they do. 

Because Hart of the Barossa is only open for tastings on the first Saturday of every month and the wines not available at large company owned liquour stores (eg. Coles/Woolworths etc), the want to ensure their product is still accessible to consumers. In order to do this they provide tastings at many other events such as CheeseFest ,Cellar Door Wine Festival and the upcoming release party for their 2012 Old Vine Shiraz at The Market Shed on Holland on the 29th of September. 

The work of Hart of the Barossa already comes with a long list of national and international accolades, including a Five Start Rating from James Halliday of Wine Companion and Best Shiraz on Show at the 2014 Beijing International Wine Expo. 

After the hustle and bustle of the larger wineries visited earlier that day, it was an absolute pleasure to sit down among a small, mixed group of locals and visitors, and leisurely enjoy our wining and dining experience. We went through six different vintages of their Shiraz, each matched with a different tasty bite featuring local Barossa produce.

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Upon finishing up at Hart of the Barossa and saying our farewells to Michael and Alisa, I left with a feeling that I had been a part of something really special. I look forward to visiting again soon and can’t wait to get into some more of their Old Vine Shiraz at the release next weekend. 

For more information about their wines, the latest news and upcoming events please visit their website

Photos by Daniel Purvis | @stolen_projects 

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