Barry and Gaby White have resurrected Gomersal Wines to make it one of the Barossa Valley’s finest boutique wineries.
In 2000, a group of friends, with strong credentials in both the making and consumption of wine, bought an old winery with the plan to make quality wine and breathe life back into a piece of Barossan history.
In 1887, the Fromm family, migrants from Germany, had found a parcel of land nestled along the western slopes of the spectacular Barossa Valley and Gomersal Wines was born. Production continued for over 90 years until the winery eventually closed.
Instrumental in Gomersal’s resurrection was the ever-colourful character Barry ‘Baz’ White, a newlywed from Adelaide who loved wine so much he thought, “Let’s make it and drink it – it might be cheaper that way!”
So, along with his delightful wife Gabriela and a group of fellow wine-lovers, they commenced the rejuvenation and replanting program.
A TASTE OF TERROIR
Shiraz were the first vines to be planted, with over 42 acres on trellis. Next, on the rockiest, southerly facing slope, 5.5 acres of Mataro were established, along with 2.5 acres of Grenache – both planted and pruned as un-trellised bush vines.
The laborious planting process involved removing tonnes of rock matter to lower the hilltop by several metres. However, Barry explains, “it allowed for a greater understanding of our unique terroir, including the tasting of soil for characteristics that have revealed themselves in the wine over time.”
When the vines were established and it came time to prune, it was ol’ timer and champion local pruner – Snowy (Ron) Andriske who, with his enormous weather-worn hands and decades of experience, trained Baz on the required bush vine pruning techniques.
Today, Barry and Gabriela name Shiraz and Grenache as their favourite varieties: “Enjoyed as singular varietals or together in the iconic GSM blend (Grenache, Shiraz, Mataro), Shiraz and Grenache have established themselves as local legends and positioned the Barossa as one of the world’s great wine regions.”
Barry’s love of the Barossa shines through in his lyrical descriptions. “It’s a region of constant beauty,” he effuses, “from the rolling vineyards to magnificent age-old gums. There is a poetic contrast between the stillness of spirit and vigour of life pumping through the ‘old’ dirt.”
“Embedded in history and tradition,” he continues, “the culture of the region is based on European traditions, forging it as an epicurean mecca.” The benefits of this to the winery are unique, he explains.
“The beauty of having a winery drenched in history and set in an iconic region like the Barossa is that it absorbs and embodies attributes from its environment.”
Gomersal colourfully reflects this ‘Australiana’ environment with wines of exquisite character and intensity that stand the test of time.