THE WINE MAKER
I came to winemaking via a circuitous path. While I grew up surrounded by vines at my parent’s property in Bethany, I initially studied wine marketing at the University of Adelaide.
On completion of my studies I headed overseas, visiting and working in Bordeaux, Burgundy, The Rhone, Stellenbosch and Napa. It was during my travels that I realised that my calling was winemaking rather than marketing and on my return to the Barossa in 1998 I began working in local wineries.
While not holding any formal qualifications in winemaking, my appetite for the subject was voracious and I was lucky to learn from some of the Barossa’s finest winemakers until finally, after some encouragement from friends I approached my father to discuss buying a small parcel of his fruit from the 2001 vintage.
He agreed and I put together my first Nitschke Block Shiraz, making only two hogs head barrels. In 2002 I produced my first Thiele Road Grenache and have made both wines every vintage since. To this day my parents have supported my venture and without their encouragement and the sacrifice of some of the Barossa’s greatest Shiraz and Grenache I could not have made this dream happen.
Relationships with some of the Barossa’s finest vignerons have grown over the years and having access to some of the region’s best old-vine fruit allows me to take a hands-off, intuitive approach in the winery.
I hope my wines speak to you in the glass and tell the story of my life in the Barossa. My winemaking style is purposely low intervention, I like the fruit to speak for itself, and I hope you will agree.
– Jason Schwarz
A FAMILY AFFAIR
My family has a long history in the Barossa and we are now into our 5th generation in the region. Like many families within the region, we haven’t always been involved in the wine industry. My Father was born at a historic property on the Gomersal Plains just outside of Tanunda. Although there was a small vineyard on the property it was a working sheep station and that was the main source of income..
He attended Seppeltsfield School and for some time lived in a small workers cottages in Seppeltsfield. At the age of 14 he started working in the vineyard for his uncle, Albert Nicolai, eventually purchasing the land and beginning to add more parcels of vineyard over the years.
My Father won the state pruning championships held in the Clare Valley in the mid-1980’s and my parents now live in Bethany opposite our Home Block Grenache vineyard and in close proximity to our vineyards on Thiele and Nitschke Block.
I convinced my Father to part with a small parcel of Nitschke Block Shiraz in the 2001 vintage and followed with the Thiele Road Grenache from 2002 and the Schwarz Wine Co was off and running.
Today, our “family” has grown and although the fruit from my parent’s vineyards provide the backbone of my wines, I have built relationships with some of the Barossa’s finest grape-growers and their hard work and passion make my job much easier in the winery.
The vineyards I source my fruit from are the lifeblood of my wines. From my parent’s vines in Bethany to the relationships I have built over the years with some of the best growers in the Barossa Valley, I am lucky to have access to some of the regions finest fruit with old vines stretching back to 130 years of age.