Select a Captain Barossa grower
Angelo De Fazio
De Fazio, Greenock
I am the owner and manager of the De Fazio vineyard, I was born in South Australia, the son of an Italian migrant who left his native home in Castagnia in Southern Italy, shortly after the Second World War.
My passion for vines flourished at an early age, spending weekends with my father and uncles, pruning vineyards that were so much like those they'd left behind.
Vineyards have been in the De Fazio family for hundreds of years and the art of pruning and growing good grapes, handed down through generations.
"A good vineyard starts with the right location and you need the right soils to grow good grapes. You need slopes, good drainage and gully breezes to keep the grapes dry and cool them at night after a hot day," my father would say.
"Look at how the trees and grasses grow. They will show if the vines will grow. Don't forget grapes need plenty of sunshine if they are to ripen."
I still remember his words and dreams, today.
My father's dream was for the family to own our own vineyard. A dream that I fulfilled in 1998 when I purchased 85 acres, nestled in the Greenock Hills about 4km from Greenock in the North West Barossa. It's a classic parcel of blocks rising up to 307 metres above sea level, with original vine plantings dating back to 1864.
Its North-West aspects in the Greenock Hills were word-perfect to what my father described. Two branches of the Greenock Creek running through, with soils that had proven their ability to grow grapes for over 100 years. The perfect location to establish the De Fazio vineyard.
As my father foretold, it hasn't disappointed. The vineyard has been planted mainly with Shiraz, old bush Grenache vines and a splash of Mataro. It even has an original block of Chardonnay in a gully near one of the creek's branches.
I believe that the location and the age of the vines play a significant part as they are some of the oldest Chardonnay vines in the Valley.
De Fazio soils range from shallow rock at the high points to deep red clays near the creeks.
Beneath the clays there is ironstone, limestone, sandstone, bluestone, slate and a bed of rounded alluvial gravel running through the centre of the vineyard, the remains of an ancient river bed.
Blocks have been planted to take account of different soil types and elevation.
The vineyard receives an average rainfall of 500mm each year. And, of course, the vineyard is hand pruned.
Not surprisingly land management is the time-honoured craft of past generations, letting nature and its surroundings play their part in producing grapes that make exceptional wines.
My passion for vines and reluctance to entertain commercial grape growing methods makes us remember past growers who honour the craft and love the land.