Wirra Wirra Vineyards was originally established in 1894 by known South Australian eccentric and cricketer Robert Strangways Wigley. The winery prospered in its early days, producing many wines including a much acclaimed Shiraz, which was exported to England and the Empire until his death in 1926. The winery ran into disrepair and was eventually abandoned. In 1969 under the watchful eye of the late Greg Trott and his cousin Roger, the winery was rebuilt from the remnants of two walls and some slate fermenting tanks. As with all subsequent Trott endeavours, it was the sheer magnitude and unlikeliness of the project that made it so attractive.
The McLaren Vale region is only 37km south from the centre of Adelaide, the capital city of the State of South Australia, and can be reached in approximately 45minutes by car. It is rare to find a premium winemaking area so close to a major urban area. This proximity makes the region highly accessible to visitors and is one of the main factors contributing to the close relationship between the winemakers and their customers.
The place is not without a quirky sense of humour. The weighbridge at the rear of the winery has been built to resemble an old country railway siding. Then there is a mammoth "Woodhenge" front fence (Stonehendge is a mere pile of rocks compared to this wonder) made from ancient fallen gum trees, while the 3/4 ton Angelus bell, in a tower above the cellars, rings out on noteworthy occasions.
There is nothing quirky, though, about the design of the winery (or the wines, for that matter), which is in its third stage of development. Although functional and technologically advanced, the cellars retain a soul. This is largely due to the spirit of the dedicated crew that works there.
Wiira Wirra produces classic McLaren Vale wines. Distinctive to the region are ironstone, sandy loam soils, coupled with a warm, dry Mediterranean climate, cool wet winters and cooling breezes resulting in high-quality fruit for intensely flavoured table wines. Stylistically, Wirra Wirra established itself for producing wines of elegance, balance and complexity.
Greg Trott, one of Wirra Wirra's founders, passed away in 2005, leaving a rich legacy for those who love the pleasure of wine. Trott lived by a simple philosophy; 'Never give misery an even break, nor bad wine a second sip. You must be serious about quality, dedicated to your task in life, especially winemaking, but this should all be fun.'
Wirra Wirra Vineyards ~ International Red Winemaker of the Year ~ International Wine Challenge, UK, 2007.
"Long respected for the consistency of its white wines, Wirra Wirra has now established an equally formidable reputation for its reds. Right across the board, the wines are on exemplary character, quality and style, The Angelus Cabernet Sauvignon and RSW Shiraz battling with each other for supremacy. Long may the battle continue under the direction of new managing director Andrew Kay following the retirement of highly respected Tim James, particularly in the wake of the death of the universally loved co-founder/owner Greg Trott in early 2005. Exports to all major markets." ~ James Halliday Australian Wine Competition, 2008 Edition.
The BIG RED Winery of the Year. "Samantha Connew is the chief winemaker, and she's got the place singing. I suspect she's incapable of making an ordinary wine. All of Wirra Wirra's wines are now leaders in their class." ~ Campbell Mattinson, The Big Red Wine Book, 2008
International Red Winemaker of the Year. ~ 2007 International Wine Challenge, UK
5 Red Stars! Outstanding winery regularly producing wines of exemplary quality and typicity. "Right across the board, the wines are of exemplary character, quality and style." ~ James Halliday, Wine Companion 2008