Australian winery St Hallett has announced that it will produce nothing but Shiraz in the future, purging all other grape varietals. Rob Geddes MW investigates this new trend.

Barossa brand St Hallett is positioning itself in future as a 100% Shiraz business.

This announcement comes with the arrival of their new winemaker Helen McCarthy, a very experienced South Australian Shiraz maker, who has spent time at Thorn Clarke, Taylors, Mountadam and Penfolds. She is certainly somebody who knows Shiraz. 

It’s amazing in a region that is as layered and complex as the Barossa that one of their famous brands should go down this path to focus purely on Shiraz. 

Owned by Australian wine group, Accolade Wines, St Hallett is very well-managed in market happily maintaining the prestige of its premium range, while simultaneously deploying a nimble range of exclusive labels into key Australian retail partners (Western Front Shiraz for Woolworths, Lore of the Land Shiraz for Coles, Black Clay Shiraz for the Indies etc).

St Hallett gained its fame under the marketing skills of “big” Bob Mclean, his nick name was “Sir Lunchalot” who recognized that diversity is a Barossa strength. His approach was to create a budget tier called ‘Game Keepers’ reserve red and ‘Poachers Blend’ white, which were very anonymous blends but were reliable in style and gave a genuine Barossa wine experience.

Another loss for many in the trade who have admired St Hallett’s wines is the Eden Valley Riesling which has been a benchmark of the commercial quality of Eden Valley Riesling in any given year. I’m sure this wine will be missed by many. 

Bob McLean will be rolling over in whatever vinous Valhalla he inhabits wondering what can happen next as brands strive for cut through and meaning in the 21st century.

The St Hallett Premium Range

St Hallet’s new vintage release will take place on November 12th with the unveiling of two new vintage wines, the highly acclaimed 2016 Old Block Shiraz and 2018 Blackwell Shiraz, along with three brand new releases – the 2018 Higher Earth Syrah, 2018 Mighty Ox Shiraz (1.5L) and St Hallett’s 2015 Planted 1919. 

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