Coonawarra icons Mal and Bruce Redman this year celebrated 40 consecutive vintages working together in the family business.
A wonderful achievement in an industry where family harmony can often be tested.
“Working together has been an easy task,” Mal says.
“Ultimately, we have had the same goals in mind – to produce the best possible wines under the Redman family label.
“We’ve been able to understand each other’s needs and work side by side in running the family business.
“Some say that we work almost by osmosis.
“We’re so familiar with our work routines that we often can go about what we’re doing without needing to say anything further.”
Bruce adds, “We are privileged to be in a business with four generations and more than 110 years of history.
“Making wines with a consistent style and quality – regardless of the trends – has allowed us to build a loyal multigenerational clientele.
“Mal and I are incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved and equally excited to witness the passion of the next generation of Redmans for the business.”
The Redmans continue to grow grapes in the same iconic vineyards.
They’ve worn out two grape harvesters, three grape crushers and a horizontal basket press.
And they’re still using a wine pump from 1928.
“We’ve often been ahead of our time with vineyard practices,” says Mal.
“We de-stem and crush grapes in the vineyards at the time of picking, so we deliver only clean grape must into the winery, and leave the MOG [matter other than grapes] in the vineyard.
“This concept has now become commonplace, but we’ve been doing it for years.
“It makes for a real point of difference in our wines.”
It’s always been about family at Redman Wines, which Bill Redman started back in 1908, later passing the reins to his son Owen in 1954.
Bruce and Mal joined Owen in September 1981 to coincide with Owen’s last vintage.
The two brothers would jointly take responsibility for Redman Wines’ winemaking.
Much has changed at Redman and in the wine industry over the years, but the Redmans’ winemaking philosophy remains true to Bill and Owen’s original vision.
The number of wine brands has increased from about 300 wineries when Redman started to more than 4,000 today.
“Having a brand that’s been around for more than 65 years means there have of course needed to be tweaks,” Mal says.
Mal and Bruce agree that it’s been important to maintain the Redman style and consistently produce red wines true to the original Redman vision.
“That means wines that are medium-bodied, elegant and reflective of their Coonawarra home,” Bruce says.
The brothers introduced the flagship wine, The Redman, in 2008 to celebrate 100 years of the family growing grapes and making wine in the region.
They continue to refine this special wine as an homage to the family name.
There is now a fourth generation of Redmans, with Mike and Dan Redman buying into the business in 2020.
“Though it need not reinvent itself, a brand steeped in tradition still needs to evolve and tweak,” Mal says.
Bruce adds, “We’re really focused on nurturing the relationship we have with our customers and continuing to introduce new members to the Redman story.”
Although Shiraz and Cabernet will always be the hearts of the Redman brand, the family agrees that climate change may present some opportunities to experiment with other, non-traditional grape varietals.