Meet Steve Hall of Rockcliffe
How long have you been working in the wine industry and how did you get started?
Seventeen years. I bought the vineyard in Denmark and things went from there. First we improved the vineyard while the wine was made under contract. Then we built the winery, now we are focussing on sales.
What’s the best thing about working at Rockcliffe?
Doing the sales and meeting people.
What makes Great Southern such a great place for winemaking?
The Great Southern
is the largest wine producing region in Australia by area, as such it varies in climate – cool in the south and warm in the north. This means the Great Southern is the only wine region that produces cool climate Pinots
and Sauvignon Blancs
in the south and warmer Shiraz
in the north. What’s more, wineries in the Great Southern have access to very high quality grapes across the full range of varieties. Whereas, Margaret River, for example, can only make good quality Cabernet, the Barrossa, Shiraz. Tasmania, Pinot and Chardonnay, etc.
What is your must-do for visitors to Great Southern?
The Great Southern region has outstanding natural beauty – the combination of the rocks, the trees and beaches is second to none. Also the wide range of food and wine producers adds a second major reason to visit – great locally produced cheeses, meats, vegetables, etc.
At Rockcliffe, you make the following promise to customers: “To retain the integrity of the grower’s grape variety. No mixed batches. The grower's grape, wine and reputation are maintained and enhanced - not compromised.” Can you tell us more about this approach and what makes it unique?
We have a range of small tanks in the winery, which means that wines can be kept separate. In the majority of cases, we keep the free run separate from the pressings, for example. So the winery was set up to help contract growers to keep their wine separate.
Do you have an all-time favourite wine to make and if so, what is it?
Right now, it is Rosé
, which is very much an up-and-coming wine. I’ve just spent three weeks in Provence talking to winemakers about the style. Having tasted many examples during this time, I understand the many differences, but now I know how to make the best!
The Rockcliffe Thirdreef Shiraz is our Wine of the Month for July – what makes this a standout wine?
Our Shiraz have done exceptionally well over the last couple of years. Our Single Site 2015 has been included in James Halliday’s top 25 red wines in Australia over $30: a remarkable achievement. The Third Reef Shiraz is a really smooth, easy drinking wine, it is like nectar of the God Bachhus or Dionysus!
What other wine varieties do you make at Rockcliffe?
Chardonnay, Semillon, Rosé, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot, Cabernet, Sparkling (traditional method).
Aside from your own wine, what do you like to drink at home?
Tea. I am English and I love a cup of tea. I spend many days and months on the road selling wine, so I have to drink a lot of wine during these times. When I am in my house, I do not need to drink alcohol.
What’s your ultimate food and wine pairing?
Pinot and duck.
What is your favourite…
• Movie? I love going to the movies, but I do not like horror, or gloom and doom movies. When I watch a movie, I like to be taken to other places and have an uplifting experience.
• Book? I like crime novels, right now I am reading Michael Connelly detective novels.
• Time of day? Early morning
• Restaurant? Cafe Annie in Houston, Texas, or it was, I am not sure if it is still open.