Bondar Wine | McLaren Vale
This month, we spoke to Andre and Selina - the epic proprietors of Bondar Wines. Set in the heart of McLaren Vale, the Bondar team produce a range of excellent wine that have received critical acclaim for the better part of the last decade.
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What are the origins of Bondar, how did it all begin?
Bondar began under a setting sun and a rising full moon. We hand-picked half a tonne of Shiraz with a few family and friends one night after work in a beautiful vineyard in Blewitt Springs.
That fruit would go on to make our first ever Violet Hour Shiraz. We had both been working in different areas of the wine industry for years, so thought we’d better have a crack at making our own wines from the places we love (McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills). But it really became what it is today when we took over our own vineyard, the Rayner site on the southern tip of Blewitt Springs in McLaren Vale.
What makes Bondar wines special?
Our vineyard plays a big part. Beautiful old vines – Grenache up to 50 years old, Shiraz up to 70 – planted in sandy soils which give fragrance, a lightness to the wines, and savoury flavours. And then it comes down to our philosophies of the wines we love to make and to drink – wines that have freshness, brightness, nuance and intrigue. Wines that have a subtlety to them, that showcase purity and fruit, but are always balanced with a savoury side and moreish texture. Everything we do in our vineyard and winery works towards making these wines that both reflect our incredible site and our own creative ideals.
What's your favourite part of the winemaking process - on the flip-side what do you find tedious?
We love vintage the most, the smells, the tastes the sounds, the excitement. It requires a huge amount of energy and concentration, fuelled by coffee, bakery goods and beer. The days are long but there’s never a dull moment and there’s nothing quite like ‘seeing’ a wine evolve from grapes into a thing of beauty under your watch. There’s not too much we find tedious… sometimes hand bottling can get a little tiresome, but nothing some good tunes can’t fix.
What's the most memorable vintage you've worked on and why?
The first real vintage of Bondar Wines was a special one for us in 2013. From hand picking our Shiraz with friends in 40 degree heat to making our first ever Chardonnay from the Adelaide Hills. The first steps on the path to our own brand.
Someone invents a time machine and you can crack a bottle open with any historical person - who is it, what are you drinking and why?
Len Evans. We’re leaving it to him to choose the bottle that will inspire us (but maybe we’ll pray it’s DRC) and tell us stories all about it.
What's your pick of the Bondar range?
Rayner Grenache is the most delicious and the wine we are most proud of. Our vineyard has some recognition as one of the better Shiraz sites in McLaren vale. But no one even realised how good the Grenache could be. Old vines, dry grown organically (not certified), picked early for freshness and crunch, reared in old oak or ceramic eggs using whole bunches and extended time on skins for complexity and structure. Lithe, modern McLaren Vale Grenache.
For more Bondar content, check out our Instagram @canawinestore