Rolf Binder Heinrich 2002
Rolf Heinrich Binder and his wife, Franziska, arrived in Australia (from Austria and Hungary respectively) in 1950 as part of the large influx of post war immigration. As payment for the government assistance, they worked for the South Australian Railway for three years. During that time they met Elmore Schulz, a train driver and grape grower in the Barossa Valley, and namesake to Barossa Valley Estate’s E&E Shiraz. While picking grapes for Schulz in 1953, the couple met Langmeil Road winemakers, Chris Vohrer and Wilhelm Abel, a meeting that proved to set their future in the wine business. In 1954 they worked a vintage in this winery and subsequently purchased the business in 1955, renaming it ‘Veritas’, taken from the Latin quote “In Vino Veritas” – in wine, truth. The winery name was changed from Veritas to Rolf Binder in 2005 to honor Rolf Heinrich Binder who passed away in 2003. Since then, the business has grown substantially throughout Australia, with wines also now exported to 19 countries.
Historically and presently the most important wine-producing region of Australia, the Barossa Valley is set in South Australia, where more than half of the country’s wine is made. Because the climate is very hot and dry, vineyard managers work diligently to ensure grapes reach the perfect levels of phenolic ripeness.
The intense heat is ideal for plush, bold reds, particularly Shiraz on its own or Rhône Blends featuring Shiraz, Grenache, and Mourvèdre. Often Shiraz and Cabernet partner up for plump and powerful reds. While much less prevalent, light-skinned varieties such as Riesling, Viognier or Semillon produce vibrant Barossa Valley whites.
Most of Australia’s largest wine producers are based here and Shiraz plantings date back as far as the 1850s or before. Many of them are dry farmed and bush trained, still offering less than one ton per acre of inky, intense, purple juice.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.