Caitlin Brown Mountadam Vineyards

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In the Eden Valley sub-region of High Eden sits Mountadam Vineyards. With initial plantings established in 1972, the vineyard has been nurtured by the Brown Family since 2015, with Caitlin Brown at the helm as the winemaker. Here, across 147 hectares of vines, the focus is on crafting wines that truly express the High Eden terroir. The range of varietal wines Brown makes are quintessential to the region, where the intent is on purity of fruit and a transparency of site.

Caitlin Brown’s journey to becoming the steward of Mountadam Vineyards is a narrative deeply interwoven with her connection to the land. From her early days planting rootlings at just ten years old to her extensive study in Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Adelaide, Caitlin’s path has been marked by a profound dedication to the craft of winemaking. Her experiences span the globe, from Sidewood in the Adelaide Hills to Leeuwin Estate in Margaret River, and international stints in Germany and France, focusing on varietals like Chardonnay. Yet, it’s the land of High Eden that truly captures her heart: “Having grown up at Mountadam since the age of 13 I have always admired the true beauty of the place. You only have to visit the property to understand my drive to produce wines coming from such a beautiful place. It was a natural progression to finally come back to Mountadam. Aside from the many years of slave labour of course, I never worked at Mountadam until 2020.”

For Caitlin, winemaking at Mountadam is more than a profession; it’s a commitment to sustainability and the future. The birth of her daughter in 2023 heightened her focus on sustainable practices, emphasizing a vision where future generations continue to cultivate this land. “Having had my daughter in September 2023 it has certainly put things into perspective in regards to sustainability and focus on how we can optimise sustainability at Mountadam. In a perfect world this is the property her and her peers will be farming so that sense of not only legacy but more the custodianship of the property carries on. Custodianship being said, I think the opportunity to take the reins of the property drives me as well – there is a bit of pressure in that – as there should be – which I actually enjoy.”

In her winemaking, Caitlin adheres to a philosophy of purity and authenticity, allowing the unique character of High Eden to shine through each bottle. “The style of wines that I make is probably best described as ‘true to High Eden’. I’m not doing anything fancy or funky. I’m not experimenting too much. I love the delicate purity, beauty and natural acidity of High Eden fruit and try to showcase that as much as possible focusing on varieties like Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Shiraz, and Cabernet. I think there is great skill in showcasing a vineyard and retaining that purity through to bottle. At Mountadam we’re sourcing 100% of the fruit from a single site of 147 hectares undervine on the Estate. This falls under the GI High Eden, with vines reaching up to 50 years old so I find this sets our wines apart from others in the Barossa landscape, it is certainly not lost on me just how lucky I am to work with vines like these.”

Her meticulous approach is particularly evident in her crafting of Riesling, where Caitlin emphasizes the crucial interplay between vineyard and winery. “Attention to detail. With my style of Riesling, I have learned the emphasis is out in the vineyard and less is more within the winery – in terms of additions and workings at least. If you get the maturity of the fruit just right, it makes it much easier within the winery. I’m very pedantic in the winery as well and only take the free run juice with no acid additions due to the natural acidity in the fruit, low sulfur additions and no finings. A lot of monitoring within the winery across juice and ferment, and I can finally breathe when the wine is in bottle.”

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