WHO WE ARE
1991 saw winemaker Andrew Sutherland Smith and wife, Carol start making wine under the Warrabilla label. The cellar door was opened on its current site west of Rutherglen township, five years later. The current range of wines extends from crisp, elegant Riesling through to robust reds including the iconic Durif and a small selection of high quality fortifieds. Throughout the years, the reputation for producing big, bold reds of structure and balance has grown, while the commitment to quality and the unapologetic approach to flavor remains.
Andrew is a fifth-generation wine maker within the historic Rutherglen wine region. Prior to chasing his dreams of making his own style of wine, Andrew’s family were at the famous All Saints Winery from its conception in 1864. Andrew is a graduate and scholar of Charles Sturt University and has worked extensively throughout the Australian wine industry. Since 1981 he has worked for such companies as Seppelts, Charles Sturt University (as the prestigious Ron Potter Scholar), Yellowglen, Mildura, Stanley, McWilliams and All Saints. Whilst establishing Warrabilla, Andrew also worked and consulted to other wineries throughout North East Victoria.
In 2012 Andrew and Carol’s youngest daughter Amy returned home to join the family business as Assistant Winemaker. She is studying at CSU Wagga and brings the business a young and fresh perspective. As a 6th generation winemaker she is continuing a 150-year-old family tradition.
WHAT WE DO
Our wine begins in the vineyard with low cropped vines picked very ripe. From good soils our grapes have great depth of colour and structure. This is the heart of what we do.
Open fermenters and gentle pressing techniques used today are no different to wine making in the 1870’s.
The wines are racked off lees several times, blended (always the most fun!) and then filtered, ready for our bottling line.
Our style which has become our signature, is all about flavour, richness and balance. We definitely chase the black fruit flavours and soft tannins that come with properly matured fruit. No green and herbaceous, hard, mean wines here! This may mean that there is sometimes a fair bit of alcohol in there as well….but don’t get stuck on that. Balanced wines can be 11 % or 18%. So long as they’re balanced.
Wines like this tend to eat up oak (to stay in balance) so our styles tend to have a great backbone of oak characters in there as well. As the natural preservatives in wine are acid, alcohol, oak and tannin, our wines are made for long to very long term cellaring.
When serving a Warrabilla wine, we recommend some ageing on our premium wines. To get the most out of an aged red, we recommend pulling the cork at least an hour or so beforehand and serving at 15-20 degrees Celsius. (10 minutes in the vegetable crisper on a hot day is just perfect). Decanting is recommended for our wines. Allowing the wine to breath and to catch sediment.”
PAROLAS – our premium wine, only made in the best vintages with the best fruit. Aged in new oak puncheons for 10 -12 months. Super premium wine at an approachable price.
RESERVE – our standard wine label, available in nearly all vintages, consistent high quality at a very reasonable price
WHERE WE ARE
Warrabilla Wines can be found 18kms West of Rutherglen on the Murray Valley Highway approximately half way between Rutherglen and Yarrawonga. A short 15 minute drive from Rutherglen will bring you to our unsuspecting shed, which houses our cellar door and fully functioning winery, the entire production of Warrabilla wines are done on site. A visit to our cellar door will introduce you to our signature style of formidable reds as well as some elegant crisp whites and high quality fortifieds.
Rutherglen is one of Australia’s oldest wine regions, both our climate and soil attribute to the ability of Rutherglen to produce, world renowned fortifieds and a reputation of producing high quality table wines, especially reds. Vines were brought to the area in the 1850s. Several families that established the wine industry in Rutherglen still have descendants continuing their family traditions today.
Warrabilla has two vineyards.
The home vineyard of 15 Acres, is on lean and hungry sand, perfect for ethereal perfumed wines.
The Parola’s Vineyard of 36 acres is 5 km west of the winery overlooking the Oven’s River on the border of the Rutherglen region. It’s just far enough away to spread the risk of bad weather. Situated on a magnificent ridge of deep red loam.
Different areas have their own regional flavors, which we try to enhance. Basically, it comes down to dirt. Sand and light soils give a good fresh nose and clay gives more weight and tannin.