Jemma & Steve Fielke J & S Fielke Wines

Top Winemakers

Launched with a focus on the terroirs of Adelaide Hills, J & S Fielke is the brainchild of Steve and Jemma Fielke, a winemaking couple who channel their passion and expertise into crafting wines that resonate with the story of their region. Their range currently includes a chardonnay from the Lenswood subregion, a pinot noir from the Piccadilly Valley subregion, and a shiraz and pinot noir blend, each wine a reflection of their commitment to expressing the distinctiveness of their vineyard sites. While 2025 is set to be the first crop from their Lower Hermitage site where they have planted varieties with an eye on a changing climate.

Having honed their skills at Adelaide University, where Jemma achieved first–class honours, the duo embarked on a winemaking journey that draws heavily on their educational background and varied experiences in prominent wineries. Steve’s progression from a cellar hand at Tapanappa to an assistant winemaker, alongside his vintages at Wendouree and Cristom, has equipped him with a nuanced understanding of winemaking. Jemma’s trajectory from Rockford’s cellar hand to a viticulturist and her role as a vineyard manager at Deanery Vineyard underline her profound connection with the land and vines.

Steve and Jemma’s winemaking philosophy is deeply narrative-driven, aiming to produce wines that evolve and invite drinkers to delve into their stories. “We want to make wines people can simply enjoy over dinner, but that can also stand up to any level of scrutiny, if consumers choose to probe them deeper,” they share, emphasizing their desire to craft wines that balance approachability with complexity.

Their venture into winemaking is driven by a desire to push viticultural boundaries and contribute meaningfully to the region’s winemaking narrative. “Our ultimate aim is to lead a humble life farming some land in the best way we possibly can,” they articulate, capturing their holistic vision that intertwines winemaking with a broader environmental and community–focused ethos. While they source from a number of sites in the Adelaide Hills, they’ve planted a vineyard at their winery in Lower Hermitage.

Their engagement with the Adelaide Hills community and commitment to sustainable viticulture are central to their ethos. They manage the vineyards with a hands–on approach, applying principles like sap flow pruning to ensure uniform growth and enhance the wine’s intensity. This meticulous care extends to the Chardonnay block, reflecting their dedication to quality and environmental stewardship.

Looking forward, the Fielkes are excited to explore the breadth of Adelaide Hills, experimenting with both traditional and unexpected grape varieties with consideration of climate change. “One really obvious example here was our decision to plant grenache – typically a warm climate variety – in the cool climate region of the Adelaide Hills. Grenache is well suited to warm climates because it is incredibly drought tolerant, and with quality water being a scarce resource at our Lower Hermitage site coupled with the slightly warmer temperatures, we thought it may just work at the site. It’s a gamble – we’ve got no reference point for how it will perform, with the closest known vineyards to us growing it being 15km away – but having worked with the variety and understanding how it grows we believe we’ve made the right decision. We’ve got sandy loam, free draining soils, 700–800mm annual rainfall, and a climate further akin to that of the Eden Valley, rather than the Piccadilly Valley.. it just felt like the right variety to plant.”

Their eyes are firmly on the future. “The first generation of Adelaide Hills winemakers championed the cool climate sites and varieties our Hills are capable of, particularly Chardonnay & Pinot Noir, Piccadilly Valley & Lenswood. Whilst we love these things, and hope to continue adding to their story, the challenge for the next generation of Hills wine folk will be to fully explore the warmer sites and varieties that our region can do equally well. We believe varieties like shiraz and grenache belong in our landscape and we are excited to explore these at our Lower Hermitage site. We also believe there is scope for exploring some other lesser planted varieties in the Adelaide Hills too – fiano, carignan, malbec, to name a few – but finding the right site and farming in the right way will be the basis for including more wines into our lineup.”

The 2025 vintage will be the first crop from their ‘Lower Hermitage’ vineyard.

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