Jordan & Lauren Barham Travail Wine Co.

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Travail Wine Co. is the fledgling family wine business of Jordan and Lauren Barham. That label began in the 2021 vintage, with a piquette made from Macedon Ranges pinot noir pomace and a fiano from Heathcote. The following vintage will introduce new wines from a leased vineyard in Carlsruhe, which Lauren will be making with the aid of the local wine community after Jordan’s untimely death.

The first vintage for Travail was 2021, and it was well into the 2022 growing season working the Two Hares Vineyard in Carlsruhe that tragedy struck. Jordan was killed in a car accident in Nagambie in late January 2022. He was 38.

“Prior to his death, Jordan’s goal was to produce small batch wines of high quality that would be distributed within the local area,” says Lauren. “We’re both born and have lived within the ranges our whole lives. We love the area. The Macedon Ranges produces great wine, and we were willing to shape our brand to share what it naturally produces well. Now I will continue the next vintage to keep his memory alive.”

A promising footballer in his youth, Jordan played a couple of years on the rookie lists for Port Adelaide and St Kilda, before working as a plumber. “Jordan began volunteering with Ben Rankin following a back injury at work,” Lauren says. “He was learning to make wine at Mount Monument and Wilimee in order to retrain and begin a career that comprised of his love of farming, good wine and small local business.”

That work with Ranken lit a spark in Jordan, with him making a fiano and a piquette (made by refermenting grape pomace – the skins and seeds left after fermentation – to make a low-alcohol gently sparkling wine) in the 2021 vintage.

“Sustainability is something that Jordan was deeply passionate about, which is why he wanted to make the piquette,” Lauren says. “Making a product from something that was previously discarded was appealing. Moving forward, the work was to move towards farming in a more sustainable way – right down to the types of bottles and labels we were considering.”

The commitment to working sustainably was also inextricably linked to making wine from the ground up, something that led the couple to lease the Two Hares Vineyard. “Jordan had learnt that the focus was on the fruit” Lauren says. “Getting that right was the absolute focus. We aimed to expand within the local landscape while implementing more sustainable practices.”

It is a focus that Lauren plans to maintain, after completing the 2022 vintage with help from the local wine community, she has her sights set on realising the dream that the pair had. “The local community throughout the Macedon Ranges is so supportive and inclusive,” she says. “I have learnt a lot from those that have been willing to share their knowledge. We took the leap to begin a new label because we were proud of what we had made and were supported by the local community to do so. In the future, I will hopefully establish my own vineyard on a family property within the ranges.”

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