At Elderton we love a good story. Neil and Lorraine Ashmead started this story nearly 40 years ago when they moved to the Barossa. They ambitiously started a fledgling winery against the odds, which over many decades of hard work and determination has evolved into one of one of the Barossa’s, and Australia’s, most successful small family wineries.
The stories continue to be told by Cameron and Allister, the second-generation brothers who are currently at the helm of the family operation.
Following the resignation of Richard Langford from the position of Senior Winemaker in June (he is now at Two Hands), we were delighted to announce that Julie Ashmead – Jules – was stepping into the newly created position of Head of Production, overseeing both viticulture and winemaking at Elderton.
Along with raising half of the third generation of Ashmeads with Cameron, Jules is the fifth generation winemaker at Campbells of Rutherglen, has worked vintages around the world and previously held positions at Two Hands and Turkey Flat. She helped Richard in the winery at Elderton over many years and is excited about the opportunity of this new position.
We are also ecstatic that Brock Harrison joined us as Winemaker in August. He is working alongside Jules to ensure that delicious, varietal, regional wines of character will continue to be produced by Elderton.
Now back to our love of stories; this is how a great full-circle story happened…
When Elderton announced plans to build a winery within the confines of the township of Nuriootpa, starting the build process in 2002, the Ashmead family underwent a whole raft of community consultations to ensure that our neighbours were happy. One of our neighbours, who lived about 100 metres from the proposed winery, was Dean Harrison. Dean had been living in his home for almost 25 years (at that point, and now well over 40), and he and his wife Sue raised their three children there.
His questioning was astute, and he challenged the Ashmead family on many things. His last question was, “Are you going to give our kids a job?” Lorraine Ashmead responded, “Only if they are worthy!” Little did we know that Dean and Sue’s son had just started studying Oenology at Adelaide University.
The following year, in 2003, a tall and well-presented young man walked into our Cellar Door and asked for a weekend job. The team at Elderton were instantly taken with his enthusiasm, passion and knowledge. Brock worked as a member of our Cellar Door crew for two years.
When it came time for Brock to undertake his first vintage in 2005, a mandatory part of the winemaking degree, Cameron and Allister knew he would work well in our team. He was enthusiastic throughout vintage and won our inaugural ‘Broken Shovel Award’, given to the hardest working cellar hand – he broke the shovel in eagerness to set a record time for digging out a nine tonne open fermenter full of Shiraz skins.
After finishing his degree, Brock obtained a graduate position at Pernod Ricard (owners of Jacob’s Creek among others). He worked there for 13.5 years, with experience in all aspects of winemaking.
A true Barossa success story, Brock now starts a new chapter in his winemaking career. It also has to be said that we have now answered Dean Harrison’s question – and Brock is a very worthy candidate indeed!
Story from our newsletter, the Elderton Buzz – October 2019 edition