The Hales Shiraz is 89% Barossa Shiraz with the addition of 4% Grenache and 7% Mataro. Most of the Shiraz is home grown from the Stephanie vineyard with 20% of the Shiraz coming from the Light Pass grower Heardon, and the other 25% from Doeke at Seppeltsfield Road whose vineyard is opposite our Heysen vineyard. These Vineyards lie along the Western edge of the Barossa Valley.
This wine is a mixture of grapes selected from our own vineyards and those of growers with whom we have been working for many years. I am a great believer that a grower will always intimately know his own vineyards, know what is best for his vines, and his individual patches of vines. Therefore taking into account the yearly growing conditions, a grower will have a feeling for what yield the vines will carry. Our growers have pride and are conscious of quality.
I like to observe these vineyards all year round and find that this gives me a good understanding of what the vine gives and how to prepare for the harvest. My involvement in the vineyards starts after the flowering when the crop level can be assessed. This is now the time to decide if the set has been abundant, or if there should be some crop removal to the assist the vine ensuring an even optimum ripening. This rarely happens as the grower has a good feeling for the vine and ensures that his winter pruning is done to give quality over quantity.
Next, in the ripening stage, is to monitor the irrigation in each relevant vineyard. The most critical time to me for the vine is the colouring (veraison). Here the vine must be healthy and have good leaf cover to ensure an optimum level of sunlight interception. I like to gradually give the vine less water so that, as they ripen, they slowly fill themselves with the grape reserves, and at the same time cause a slight shrivel, increasing the skin to juice ratio.
The decision to pick is based on the flavour and level of seed ripeness, giving us the confidence of there being harmonious tannins in the grape.
From its inception in 1955, Veritas Winery produced mostly fortified wines as well as the famous ’Bull’s Blood’, a blend of Shiraz and century-old Mataro. Now many years later, second generation winemakers Rolf Binder, and his sister Christa Deans, are leading Veritas winery into the future under the Rolf Binder brand. Together they are producing exceptional wines using only the best Barossa fruit.
Rolf Heinrich Binder and his wife, Franziska, arrived in Australia (from Austria and Hungary respectively) in 1950 as part of the large influx of post war immigration to Australia. As payment for the government assistance, they worked with the South Australian railways for three years. During that time they met Elmore Schulz, a train driver and grape grower in the Barossa Valley, and namesake to neighbouring Barossa Valley Estate’s E&E Shiraz. While picking grapes in the Barossa in 1953, the couple met Langmeil Road winemakers, Chris Vohrer and Wilhelm Abel. This meeting proved to set their future. In 1954 they worked a vintage in this winery and subsequently purchased the business in 1955, renaming it ’Veritas’, taken from the Latin quote ”In Vino Veritas” - in wine there is truth.
The business name was changed from Veritas to Rolf Binder in 2005 to honour the late Rolf Heinrich Binder who passed away in 2003.
Development of the Modern Wine Styles
In the 1960s and 70s came the realization of the great riches of the Barossa Valley in old vine Shiraz, Mataro and Grenache. Experiments at Veritas and a number of other, mostly small Barossa wineries followed throughout the 1980s and this led to the release of many exciting old vine varietal blends. Semillon is considered the premium white variety of the Barossa and winemaker, Christa Deans, holds an esteemed position as the producer of benchmark Barossa Semillons. Riesling is also considered superior in the Australian wine industry and the style from the neighbouring Eden Valley is softer and more floral than the seriously steely Rieslings from Europe.