Steve Crawford’s wine career began before he could vote, but it took him some time to pitch his own label, wary as he was of just injecting another range, much like the other ones, into a saturated market. Extensive forays into Italy and France gave shape to a sensibility that changed that, and his alias…
Caleigh Hunt & Luke Growden Year Wines
Luke found almost everything amongst the vines. A career he loved, his family… Well, he didn’t find his family, but he did meet his future wife, Caleigh, and a family followed. After a meaningful stint with some stalwart producers of the Vale, the pair founded Year Wines in 2012 and haven’t looked back since. With grenache in the lead, Year Wines are all about mid-weight, red-fruited approachability, but that accessibility belies their genuine complexity, with layers of spice and carefully wrought web of fine tannin as signatures. Year Wines was The Young Gun of Wine Best New Act for 2015.
Yet another career diverted by wine. While taking six months off university, Luke Growden worked a vintage in the Barossa, and his education and career took a sharp turn. An oenology degree followed, as did a stint at McLaren Vale icon Wirra Wirra, amongst others.
It was during one of these stints dragging hoses around, cleaning the press or the like that Growden met Caleigh Hunt, a California native who was extending her vintage experience Down Under. The pair clicked, and Year Wines was born in 2012 when they fermented a small parcel of grenache from 50-year-old vines. It was a tough time to start, with a young daughter, a house under renovation and some persistent fox attacks on their henhouse at the time (true – it’s on the label blurb for that wine, if you can find a bottle).
That foray was a spare-time (ha!) operation, but has since blossomed into a more consuming affair, with the pair sourcing small parcels of grenache, mataro, cinsault and syrah for individual bottlings, as well as their ‘Sausage in Bread’ quaffable blend. On the white side, fiano does the heavy lifting at present. The winemaking is in the lo-fi camp, with an emphasis on preserving bright fruit characters and freshness.