Benjamin Jones Jones Winery & Vineyard – J6 Wines

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Nestled in the historic wine region of Rutherglen– a land of big reds and famous for its fortified wines, Benjamin Jones, the sixth generation vintner of Jones Winery & Vineyard, is redefining the region’s vinous landscape with his J6 label released in 2020, delivering unfamiliar wines with a focus on drinkability and enjoyment. The J6 range is made with a minimal intervention mindset, made from dry-grown vines on the family estate vineyard. The ‘J6 Jimmy’s Block’ – a blend of chasselas, muscat gordo, muscat of Hamburg, grenache blanc, et al – and the ‘J6 Grenache Noir’ have the benefit of being fermented in the Jones Winery wooden fermenting vats from 1860.

Jones unveils the motivation behind his distinct wine range, highlighting the innovative spirit that gave birth to the J6 label: “A desire to make styles of wine that don’t fit under the traditional Jones Winery & Vineyard collection was where the desire initiated from, and from that point it was the encouragement of other wine professionals around me that keeps J6 growing. It started as experimental wines, and when the first wines were released and well received it became a joy to make my own wine styles. Now the pressure to produce great wines is self-inflicted and I love making my own styles.”

Growing up amidst the verdant vineyards and seasoned barrels of his family’s estate, wine was not just a beverage for Benjamin; it was a way of life, a calling that was further solidified after an enlightening journey through Europe’s venerable wine regions.

With an academic backdrop in Viticulture and Oenology from the University of Adelaide, Benjamin’s approach to winemaking is a blend of reverence for tradition and a zest for innovation. His formative years spent under the tutelage of industry luminaries in Hunter Valley and Henschke equipped him with invaluable insights, but it is at Jones Winery where his winemaking identity truly took shape.

“Rutherglen holds a long history of winemaking and has throughout its history produced many different styles of wine to suit market demands,” says Jones. “Although now most famous for big reds and fortified wines, there is plenty of freedom and a great sense of energy and excitement for alternative styles and small batch winemaking. The local enthusiasm for young winemakers and a winemaking community which is very generous with their time and expertise allow me to confidently create a range of wines that suit my palate.”

The J6 label, a testament to Benjamin’s creativity and ambition, began as a canvas for experimentation. His hands-off, minimal intervention philosophy ensures that the wines are unadulterated expressions of their terroir and grape. The Muscat Sec and Grenache Noir from the J6 range, both born from estate-grown grapes, epitomize his commitment to quality and innovation.

Jones points to his Roussanne as a particular success. “It was largely a spur of the moment choice to create a rich, full bodied, slightly flinty white from our acid filled, mineral driven roussanne, and it still makes me smile every time I try it,” he said.

“The vineyards at Jones winery have always been sustainably farmed, but having extra time to maintain cover crops and under vine coverage have assisted in maintaining vine health throughout some years of complicated weather conditions,” says Jones. “Our vines are all dry grown and with wet seasons yields have appeared higher at fruit set, so green harvesting (crop thinning) and leaf removal have greatly benefitted ripening especially with later harvested varieties like grenache. The Crop thinning and leaf plucking for grenache have given this vintage an excellent depth of flavour, and a greater depth of colour than is usually apparent on our lighter, ‘prettier’ clone.”

Benjamin’s deep connection to Rutherglen is palpable in his wines and his work in the vineyard. His efforts in sustainable farming, green harvesting, and vineyard health maintenance are reflective of his dedication to the land that has given so much to his family over generations.

Despite the challenges of starting a new label in a competitive industry, Benjamin’s passion for creating wines that resonate with his palate and philosophy has seen the J6 range flourish. His future in Rutherglen is bright, with plans to delve deeper into the region’s potential while maintaining the intimate, hands-on approach that has defined the J6 label.

In Benjamin Jones’ wines, one finds not just a beverage, but a narrative—a narrative of a young winemaker honoring his heritage while boldly stepping into the future, a narrative of Rutherglen’s evolving wine scene, and a narrative of wines crafted with love, skill, and a profound respect for the vineyard.

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