In 2013, the Amato Vino adventure commenced (in collaboration with Ricca Terra Farms in South Australia), making wine from lesser-known Italian varieties in one of the warmest grape-growing regions in Australia: the Riverland. The Amato Vino label was thus born. Excitement flourished and during 2014 the range was extended to include Margaret River-grown alternate varieties. The label now straddles the two regions.
The eponymous label is the vehicle for our alternative varieties, micro-batches and ‘lo-fi’ winemaking styles. Single vineyards, handpicks, natural ferments; incorporating minimal winemaking input, little or no adds, and unconventional vessels for fermentation/maturation – the wild stuff.
The two growing areas: Margaret River, where the climate is cool and alternative varieties are a rarity, and the Riverland (SA), where hot summers are the norm and the region is home to myriad extraordinary grape varieties grown on small plots dotted along the Murray River.
Varieties include Nero d’Avola, Vermentino, Grillo, Montepulciano, Nebbiolo, Teroldego, Carignane, Graciano, Bastardo… and more.
Ricca Terra Farms is a small vineyard property specialising in alternative southern Italian grape varieties. Owners Ashley & Holly Ratcliff selected these varieties based on their capacity to produce high quality wines in a hot environment.
In contrast to the vast majority of Riverland grape-producers, the Ratcliffs micro-manage their vineyard, using hands-on techniques usually associated with recognised cool-climate regions such as Margaret River. Practices include minimal irrigation, leaf-plucking, shoot and bunch-thinning, wire-lifting and general canopy management to ensure even ripeness and low yields across the board.
The resulting wines are generous and warm, yet with a lightness of being.
Get excited people. From the Riverland in 2015 we will be releasing a textured savoury white from the very rare Grillo grape variety, and a delightful snappy fresh white from the equally rare Bianco d’Alessano variety.
Coming on stream from our Margaret River project we’ll be releasing our amphora-fermented Bastardo, plus a Tempranillo, a Graciano/Carignane blend, and a Margies version of Vermentino.
The artwork that adorns our Riverland Amato Vino labels is by Australian artist Liz McKay. Please direct enquiries for to Liz!
Label art for our Margaret River Amato Vino is by winemaker (and part-time artist) Brad Wehr.