In 2013, the Amato Vino adventure commenced. In collaboration with our mates at Ricca Terra Farms in South Australia, we began 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 emerging varieties. The label now straddles the two regions.
The Amato Vino label is the vehicle for our alternative (or emerging) varieties, micro-batches and ‘lo-fi’ and experimental winemaking styles. Single vineyards, handpicks, natural ferments are par for the course; incorporating minimal winemaking input, little or no adds, and unconventional vessels for fermentation/maturation – this is the wild stuff.
The two growing areas: Margaret River, where the climate is cool-to-mild and emerging Mediterranean 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, Fiano, Bela [slankamenka bela], Montepulciano, Nebbiolo, Teroldego, Carignano, Graciano, Tempranillo, Touriga Nacional, Trousseau/Bastardo… and more.
Ricca Terra Farms is a small vineyard property specialising in 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 have released a textured savoury white from the Fiano variety, plus a new aromatic style from the very, VERY rare Slankamenka Bela grape, an ancient variety grown in the Balkans regions and unheard of in Australia until now.
Coming on stream from our Margaret River project we have our amphora-fermented Trousseau, a skins-ferment Sauvignon Blanc, plus a Tempranillo/Touriga blend.
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 series is by winemaker Brad Wehr.