Barossa Valley, Australia
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The History of Torbreck Vintners
Torbreck Vintners was founded by David Powell in 1994. The roots go back to 1992 when Dave, who was then working at Rockford, began to discover and clean up a few sections of dry-grown old vines. Near lifeless, he nurtured them back to health and was rewarded with small parcels of fruit that he made into wine. Dave was able to secure a contract for the supply of grapes from a run-down but ancient Shiraz vineyard. He managed to raise enough money to share-farm the vineyard, a practice which involves paying the owner a percentage of the market rate for his grapes in return for totally managing the vineyard. This share-farming principle has enabled Torbreck to use fruit from the very best vineyards in the Barossa Valley, which is home to some of the most precious old vines in the world.
In 1995 Dave crushed three tonnes of grapes and fermented them into wine in a shed on his 12-hectare Marananga property. He named his wine “Torbreck” after a forest in Scotland where he worked as a lumberjack.
The Torbreck endeavour is based around the classic Barossa Valley varietals of Shiraz, Grenache and Mataro, and a love for the wines of France’s Rhone Valley. Dave loves the intense, rich, Rhone-like flavours that come from old-vines and the fact that Shiraz and Grenache are the mainstay red grapes of the Northern and Southern Rhone often draws comparison.
In July 2002 the historic Hillside property was acquired by Torbreck. Situated in Lyndoch, it is one of the original Barossa properties. Vast and picturesque it contains some magnificent old and ancient vineyards that will further their source of premium quality fruit. The Hillside property contains a wonderful native ecosystem that supports a myriad of flora and fauna.
In 2008 Pete Kight acquired full interest in Torbreck Winery to add to his winery interests in the USA. This marked the passing of the baton and shortly after that Dave Powell left the winery. Craig Isbel was doing much of the day to day winemaking with Dave being the marketing face of the winery. With the departure of Dave Powell, Craig Isbel was made the head winemaker. Craig grew up in a small town in rural Victoria, and after failing to become an Australian sports hero he fell into a cellar job in Western Australia. Many vintages followed in many different wine regions, but he has found a permanent home at Torbreck Vintners.