Celebrating 260 Years: Q&A with Kevin Glastonbury (Yalumba Family Vignerons)

We spoke with Kevin Glastonbury in our second interview with Yalumba to celebrate our 260th anniversary.  Kevin is the company's Senior Red Winemaker, and talks single vineyard wines, making red in South Australia, and roast duck pizza.

by Erin Ogilvie


Kevin Glastonbury, Senior Red Winemaker 

You source grapes from 10 regions across South Australia, including Barossa Valley and Eden Valley.  In terms of climate, what defines the regions and what differs in the fruit?

Generally climate is reasonably consistent during the vintage season across South Australia. Eden Valley has a slightly higher altitude than the Barossa Valley, so it has cooler nights.  This means the grapes remain brighter and fresher, and retain their natural acidity.  However within the one region there can also be different climatic effects during the vintage season.  For example, the Barossa Valley ranges from frosts in the northern area to gully breezes on the foothills.

Why do wineries sometimes blend fruit from different vineyards, and how does this alter the wine in comparison to a single vineyard wine?

Blending across regions gives you the ability to make a more consistent wine from vintage to vintage.  A single vineyard wine from one area can be quite different from one year to the next.


Why did you start producing Cabernet Shiraz blends, and what do you love about it?

Australians have made this blend since before the 1960’s.  Yalumba continues this tradition because we believe it makes a unique wine that has the potential to age graciously in the cellar for a long time.  When blending Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz together, we are searching for the right style of each of the components to combine seamlessly.

Cabernet Sauvignon can often have dominant tannins that emphasise the sides of the palate, leaving an apparently empty mid-palate.  On the other hand, Shiraz can be rounder, fuller, and more generous in the mid-palate.

So when blending together a stylish, balanced and seamless wine can be made. 


Are there any myths about South Australian red wines that you’re constantly working to dispel?

In general, the Barossa has been known as an area that only makes ‘big, bold, higher alcohol reds’.  For several years now Yalumba and many others have made red wines with much better balance of fruit and alcohol, leading to stylish wines that exhibit restraint, balance, and savouriness.


What do you think is the next big trend for the Australian wine industry?

The Grenache revolution has started!  And with the huge increase in distillation and spirits, watch out for the resurgence of Brandy!


What’s your best food and wine match? 

Yalumba Tri-Centenary Grenache with a roast duck, rocket, fig, and cranberry glaze pizza.  Sometimes the simple things in life are the best!


To learn more, go to www.yalumba.com.

Missed the first part of our chat with Yalumba, with fifth generation family member Robert Hill-Smith? Or, skip along to our next interview with Colin Campbell, of Campbells Wines.