The Athletes Of Wine are Liam O’Brien and Matt Brooke , two hard-training Melbourne sommeliers, who in the winter of 2007 jumped at an opportunity to manage and nurture a plot of vines in the Macedon Ranges, an unloved vineyard in need of some TLC.
When they got started, they’d be the first to admit that they didn’t really know what they were doing - they worked by instinct, and set about making the sort of wine they’d hope to select for their customers in their respective restaurants. Now, 10 years on - these are certainly wines with a real sense of pride, authenticity and definitely worth sprinting for.
The main focus here is in the vineyard, not the winery. To crop at 1.5-2 tons/acre for the Viñero wines and 2-2.5 tons/acre for Vino Athlético and Alto! Alto!!, focusing and concentrating their vineyard's potential energies into their wines. As a point of reference, Grand Crus Chablis must be limited to a maximum of 3.3 tons per acre!
The fellas aim to highlight the idiosyncrasies and individuality that great cool climate vineyards can produce. Athletes of Wine manage their vineyard along organic principles and all other fruit is grown with the absolute minimum of chemical inputs.
Their passion is for wines of minimal intervention, that speak of a time and place. This means wild ferments, extended ageing on lees, using a small amount of new oak, and bottling unfined & unfiltered with a minimal amount of sulphur dioxide.