"Life’s too short to drink bad wine."

 

William James Maxwell (1875)

History

Orico Origins and the Maxwell family

Since 1979, family owned Maxwell Wines, with its eighty acre estate vineyard, has built a reputation for producing hand made, rich and robust reds that combine exquisite fruit quality with structure and finesse. The signature BOULEVARD Grenache and Good Time Shiraz reds are acclaimed for their cellaring potential and purity of expression. The white wines achieve freshness and superb varietal character via slow, cool ferments that capture the delicacies of the grapes. At Maxwell’s, we believe “Life’s too short to drink bad wine”. Owned and managed by Mark Maxwell , the winery employs a team of wine industry professionals who each take a hands-on (or paws-on) approach to ensuring Orico Wines maintains it’s reputation as a premium wine producer.

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The Vineyard

THE MAXWELL VINEYARDS

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The Maxwell estate vineyards are some of the most favourably positioned in the McLaren Vale district.These ninety acres lie on south facing slopes and alluvial flats, within walking distance (just north) of the McLaren Vale township’s main street. Varieties grown in our vineyards include Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo, Petit Verdot, Grenache, Verdelho and Malbec.

Set on ancient limestone,and in such proximity to the moderating effects of the Gulf of St Vincent, the conditions in the vineyards are ideal for producing small batches of the highest quality grapes, full of intense character. The oldest vineyard on the property, planted to Grenache, was established in the 1930’s; the old Shiraz block below the winery being established in 1953. These Shiraz vines consistently produce some of the best fruit on the estate. The block sits on alluvial red-brown clay over limestone, and is typically one of the earliest ripening Shiraz blocks in the region.

One notable vineyard on the estate sits north of the Winery on the crest of Lumb’s Hill.Identified as a 1972 planting of ‘Reynella Selection Cabernet Sauvignon’, it originates from vines brought into South Australia by noted Australian wine industry pioneer John Reynell over 150 years ago. Back in the mid-1850s, John Reynell planted some of the earliest vineyards in South Australia, in an area just north of McLaren Vale collecting vine cuttings from South Africa on his way from England. One hundred years later, then vineyard manager Noel Chapman found that particular vines on the property kept producing noticeably more flavoursome berries, so he undertook a process of vine selection to create a new vineyard from only those vines that bore superior fruit. These Cabernet Sauvignon vines became known as the ‘Reynella Selection’, and have been shown to be perfectly suited to the McLaren Vale climate for many years. Our vines were taken directly from this Reynella vineyard, and planted over 3 decades ago in  shallow topsoil over solid limestone and this is the  fruit that contributes to the Orico Good Time Cabernet being acclaimed worldwide.

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The Cellars

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Spanning three main levels, the winery was designed to take advantage of gravity flow throughout the winemaking process, contributing to the outstanding quality of the wines. Constructed from limestone and old solid timber, the design also allows visitors the opportunity to view a ‘working winery’ while sampling the wines and taking in the magnificent views from the cellar door.

Indeed from the cellar door one can see the five unique open fermenters that Mark’s father Ken built. Used for fermenting red grapes, the idea behind the construction of these was to recreate the gentle hand-plunging methods of years gone by. Taking a relatively long seven to ten days to ferment a parcel of fruit to dryness, these fermenters provide a soft method of extraction of colour, tannin and flavour from the skins and seeds to the fermenting juice.

Holding only two tonnes of fruit each, it allows the winemakers the chance to focus on premium small-batch vinification techniques, and treat each parcel of fruit that enters the winery during vintage individually.

mportantly, a special barrel cellar was also designed into the new winery. Hidden away at one end of the winery, the cellar was cut into solid limestone.

With a natural earthen floor and impressive limestone walls, the cellar creates an ideal environment of constant temperature and humidity, providing a perfect place to mature some of Maxwell’s best wines in barrel. With this stunning new facility, the annual crush of grapes was steadily increased to around 400 tonnes.

Mark also expanded the range of wines to include a Verdelho and, as it came into bearing, some Viognier.

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