It is always busy over at Gallagher Wines, located on the southern end of Dog Trap Road. Greg Gallagher and his daughter Lauren not only make the wines for their own Gallagher label but also make the wine or consults to over a dozen other wineries in the region.
Greg’s wife Libby is the resident cheesemaker too – the labneh is fantastic! This week we catch up with Greg and take a look at what makes the Gallagher clock tick.
What’s your grape growing/winemaking philosophy?
We would like to make wines that show the full flavour gamut available from the fruit. The wines we like producing need to be wines that are satisfying to consume in all aspects – looks, aromas, taste and texture. Whether the consumer is an ‘expert’, a ‘casual consumer’ or a ‘novice’, the first reaction should be ‘this is very nice wine’.
How long have you been making wines in general and in the Yass Valley region?
I have been in winemaking since 1974 and a qualified winemaker since 1977. The property we now operate was purchased in 1989, planted in 1995 and winemaking started here in 1999.
How did you get into the business and lifestyle of making wine?
I developed an interest in wine when working in a bottle shop at the age of 18. I pursued a career in winemaking, including degrees in winemaking and viticulture, and enjoyed the opportunity to work for companies in SA, NSW and Vic, as well as vintages in both California and Champagne. It’s more than a job, it is a lifestyle. Hard work, a year-round commitment, but a great lifestyle.
What varieties/styles do you most enjoy making and drinking?
We came to the region in the interest of making a Cool Climate Shiraz style, full, round, soft and with multiple flavours. As opposed to the Warm Area style that has one intense flavour but was too big and aggressive to enjoy easily. We have won quite a few awards for the Shiraz, but we enjoy it most when a visitor to our Cellar door tastes it and comments “Oh, I like that!”
We also enjoy making Riesling from this area. The cool climate gives very vibrant flavours and a clean crisp finish. Our most prestigious Trophies came from our Riesling in 2017 when we were awarded 4 International Riesling Competition Trophies – the Best Canberra District Riesling, the Best Australian Riesling, the Best International Riesling (Dry Style) and the Best Riesling International.
Sparkling Wines are made here by the “Methode Traditional” – bottle fermented and aged on the yeast in the bottle before disgorging. Our Sparkling Duet is our biggest selling wine, but many people enjoy our Blanc de Blanc and our Sparkling Shiraz when they get to try them at the Cellar Door.
Lauren has joined the team and is starting to make her own wines. Her Sangiovese Rose is quickly gaining notice with our regular visitors describing it as “Awesome!”
What is something that is unique about your winery?
Our Cheese, pickles, chutneys and jams, all made on site in our “Fromargery ”and tasted in matchings with our wines. Libby, Jansel and Jansue work making a range of Cheeses, pickles, chutneys and when you come to try the wines, we’ll give you a taste of each of these – matched to the wines to make the experience even more rewarding.
Is there anything about making wine that you fear?
Getting good fruit and making a silly mistake when we process it.
What’s one thing that no one would ever know about you or your winery?
Nothing, we tell everyone that will listen – everything. Until they tell us to stop!
What’s your favourite food and wine combination?
There are lots! Visitors love to try our Chardonnay with the Labneh. I like Sparkling Duet with King Prawns and Lemon and maybe some wasabi, Riesling with Chicken Caeser Salad, Pink Lamb with a glass of Shiraz and every meal should finish with Dark Chocolate and Sparkling Shiraz!
If you only had one wine to drink before you die, what would it be?
Shiraz – but make it a VERY big bottle!
Do you have any other points of interest about you, your wines, or your winery that YVT readers might be interested to know?
The Cellar Door visit has been rated by Gourmet Traveller Wine as one of the best 50 Cellar Door experiences – worldwide! Our cellar door is run by myself and Lauren, and we take our wines very seriously, but not ourselves. We try to make the wine tasting a fun and educational experience for all visitors.
If you have a Cellar Door, why should people call in?
Good Wine, Good Food and Good Fun!
Where else can people buy your wines?
Thyme to Taste and Murrumbateman IGA have bottle sales. The wines can also be enjoyed at Yazzbar and Ewe’n’Me Restaurant.