While Rory Lane may have a story for each wine he makes, he freely admits his wine background is far from storied itself, with the history side of his ledger somewhat blank. This has certainly not stood in his way, though, with a keen eye for uncovering remote and forgotten vineyard sites of exceptional pedigree…
Hadyn Black Black & Ginger
Hadyn Black and Darcy ‘Ginger’ Naunton are Black & Ginger, a Grampians-based producer working out of local vineyards, including the fabled Malakoff Vineyard in the nearby Pyrenees. Black makes the wines and Naunton looks after the numbers, with the two living quite distinctly different lives. The label has focused on shiraz, the regional specialty, typically employing plenty of whole bunch and neutral oak, but in 2019 they added an orange muscat and riesling blend to the roster, as well as a nouveau-style grenache.
Black and Naunton met at high school in 2002, and though their paths have been very different, they have long shared a love of the outdoors, and of wine. While Naunton worked in technology and finance in Melbourne, Black was working in vineyards across Victoria. However, the pair always made time for 4WDriving and camping trips, and on one of these, a beer or wine too many around the campfire led to the genesis of Black & Ginger.
Starting his academic career with a Bachelor of Engineering in Metallurgy at Curtin University, in Perth, Black later studied a Bachelor of Winemaking and Viticulture at NMIT, in Melbourne. He’s still working on finishing them, well the latter one at least.
Black has worked with some of Victoria’s most highly regarded winemakers, starting with Steve Flamsteed at Giant Steps in 2010, then for two years alongside Ben Ranken at Galli Estate (Wilimee and Mount Monument), before he took a cellar hand gig at Best’s for the 2013 vintage, working with Justin Purser. Black managed to also complete the 2012 and 2013 vintages at Rombauer Vineyards, in the Napa Valley. That temporary job at Best’s evolved into something more lasting. Black has been making wine under the Black & Ginger label since 2015, and bought a small vineyard, Hounds Run, with his fiancé in 2016. With both ventures needing his full attention, he left Best’s in 2018.
With a philosophy of keeping things simple, Black uses traditional winemaking techniques and not letting heavy hands or oak get in the way. “I’m not going to change the winemaking world. As every winemaker will say, great wines are made in the vineyard. I want to make interesting wines from interesting varieties. We started with shiraz …but every winery in the country sells shiraz so now we’ll concentrate on some different things. The nouveau style grenache has been a massive hit and the orange muscat is something interesting… The grower we source these grapes from has some Portuguese varieties too, so we’ll be having a crack at those this year,” he says.