By Dave Brookes
There must be something in the water up here. The Basket Range that is – that tiny slice of the Adelaide Hills that seems to be home to some of the most innovative and delicious wines in South Australia.
A mere 20 minutes’ drive from Adelaide, serpentine roads lead to this little slice of paradise; it seems lusher here, more remote, wilder.
You’ll find wines from Basket Range producers gracing the wine lists of some of the hottest restaurants and wine bars across the globe.
Names like Ochota Barrels, Lucy Margaux, BK Wines, Gentle Folk, Commune of Buttons, Basket Range Wines, Jauma Wines and fledgling wine labels Manon Wines and Charlotte Dalton Wines. Wild, creative, expressive wines, all from the tiniest of footprints in the Adelaide Hills.
When quizzed as to what makes the Basket Range so special, transplanted Kiwi, Brendon Keys from BK Wines says: “I was initially drawn here as it looked a lot like home.”
“There was a sense of wildness about the place. It’s so close to Adelaide yet seems so remote. I can’t believe it has been here so long and yet it is only just being discovered,” says Keys, who has built a skateboard park in his yard, which surely boasts the best views in Australia.
Brendon continues: “The Basket Range has a real communal feel to it. Most of the people here get together for a glass of wine at least once a week. We all enjoy similar wines and share philosophies on farming and winemaking. That’s what makes this place so special; the community”.
Taras Ochota from Ochota Barrels, an ex-muso who turned his hand to winemaking, produces some of the most exciting wines in Australia. Taras is also involved in a wine project with Maynard James Keenan, bass player/singer for US rockers Tool, who himself owns a winery in Arizona.
Taras concurs with Brendon: “We’ve a very likeminded crew of people here in the Basket Range, but at the same time we are all very different.”
“We all have similar principles though; a back to basics, organic approach seems to resonate with all of the producers here.”
“We get together all the time, we all tend to like and drink the same sorts of wines. We’re kindred spirits and I guess we all tend to influence and inspire each other. It’s a really creative, bohemian community up here — artists, musicians, chefs, winemakers; we all tend to feed off each other’s energy.”
It’s certainly a vibrant and exciting part of the Australian wine scene, wild-eyed and innovative; constantly pushing boundaries and providing wines that are delicious and bursting with the energy of this tight-knit, dynamic community.