Inkwell Wines in McLaren Vale is offering one tonne of Shiraz to five lucky winemakers with the goal to regenerate Shiraz as we know it.
Not just any old Shiraz – this is from Australia’s first Regenerative Organic Certified vineyard.
The project – ‘Hacking the Future of Shiraz @ Inkwell’ is an open-source collaboration aimed at identifying styles and methods of producing Shiraz that resonate with younger consumers and non-consumers of wine.
It will team a diverse group of early-career winemakers who are making distinctive and interesting wine and are looking to make their mark on the wine world, with a diverse group of judges from Australia and overseas.
Bringing together identical lots of the best A grade McLaren Vale Shiraz, great wine palates and great wine minds, this project embodies the ethos of regenerative agriculture – diversity, cooperation, respect and sharing – for the betterment of the future of the Australian wine industry and our most grown grape variety.
The diverse judging panel will provide individually written notes about each wine produced and Inkwell will also make the wines available in a limited number of mixed six-packs to enable availability of all of the wines.
In the spirit of fostering innovation, the wine hackers will keep the profits from their rendition of Inkwell’s 2024 Shiraz grapes while everyone else involved will not be compensated.
Inkwell head winemaker and viticulturist Irina Santiago-Brown says, “Our goal is to lift up the future of Shiraz and regenerative wine farming together.”
Convenor of judges Mike Bennie says, “Using this outstanding vineyard for such a disruptive, revitalising project is generous and resonates strongly with me.
“The idea that a diverse array of up-and-coming winemakers will be enabled able to assist in a cultural revitalisation of such a vaunted variety from this region feels relevant for our time.”
The wines will be bottled prior to the end of 2024 and assessed for their creativity, interest and drinkability in January 2025.
Inkwell plans to run this project for vintages 2024, 2025 and 2026.
It is open to winemakers from anywhere in Australia. You can apply to become one of the inaugural wine hackers here. Nominations close 2 February 2024.
Inkwell has been producing minimal intervention single vineyard wines at its estate winery since 2005.
Over the years they have followed a path from sustainable to organic and regenerative viticulture in pursuit of ‘the fingerprint of place’ of all great estate wines.
One outcome of this approach is that Inkwell is the only winery documented where ferments finish with non-saccharomyces yeast present.
Their belief is that carbon-rich living soils planted to climate appropriate varieties will enable Inkwell to adapt and thrive to climate change.
They produce wine from Grenache, Shiraz, Mataro, Primitivo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grillo, Viognier and Arinto.