In the quest for knowledge beyond the familiar and that gleaned off the page, partners Liv Maiorana and Mijan Patterson embarked on an experience-gathering world wine trip in 2013, taking in vintages in California’s Napa and Sonoma Valleys, the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, as well as in the South of France and Tuscany and Sicily. That trip crystallised in them a desire to launch their own label based in Margaret River, and one that knit into both the approaches they had seen to viticulture and winemaking, as well as the cultural connection with wine-growing. The idea for South by South West then started to germinate…
While on the road, the pair created the South by South West brand, and also defined it philosophically: “We want to excite and inspire people to enjoy and respect the terroir of the south west through contemporary interpretations that celebrate classical methods, resulting in balanced and approachable wines that we enjoy drinking ourselves. We are all about transparency, use minimal intervention practices and strive for maximum flavour and textural profiles that are balanced and made for enjoyment.”
Maiorana has a degree in both organic chemistry and engineering, while Patterson is a graphic designer by trade. While they take the lead in terms of their specialties, both are similarly engaged in the viticulture and winemaking processes. As Patterson says: “I love the process from start to finish – walking the vineyards, crushing the grapes, tasting the ferments, blending the wine, and most of all seeing that wine get bottled into a finished product. As a graphic designer, I also find the creative aspects of winemaking and marketing intriguing and ever changing.”
For a venture only founded in 2016, the pair have made an impressive collection of wines across a spray of varieties and sites. But their largest production line is only about 200 cases, with experimental Barrel Batch wines of just 25 cases, as well as 50-case lots for their One Tonne Projects. This intricacy of sourcing and micro-elaboration being testament to their desire to uncover the viticultural secrets of the southwest, and then bring them to bottle in as unforced and individual a way as possible, expressing grape and territory.