Tilley’s Wines have been long-time supporters of multi-generational winery, Hugh Hamilton Wines. We know first hand what it’s like to be run a Daughter and Father family business.
We have been importing wines from Hugh Hamilton in McLaren Vale for near on 20 years and have always admired Hugh’s experimental zeal for new plantings. He is known as the Black Sheep after all.
Speaking to The Weekend Australian Hugh Hamilton boss and daughter Mary Hamilton, explains how a grape planted by her father in 2000 has turned into Australia’s first Saperavi festival this summer and which has led to the duo creating the Australian Saperavi Association to take the message of Georgia’s most popular grape to local drinkers.
The 180 year old winery’s love affair with the Saperavi grape began only 20 years ago when Hugh met Georgian winemaker Lado Uzunashvil. Hugh’s excitement from meeting Lado led to him to begin to rip out his own vines:”We planted in 2000 and it was a little experimental patch and people said to dad that he was a nutter, because there were these really old and beautiful petit verdot vines he pulled our on a bit of an impulse to see what this exotic Georgian variety would do”.
Saperavi literally means “paint” or “dye” as the rich purplish black fruits would dye the hands of grape pickers. It is a big, bold, full-throttled wine, much like the full-bodied shiraz that Australia is well known for, and the Hamiltons believe palates will easily adopt the Georgian style.
Mary teases her Father that he pampers the grapes like a pedigree pet, even applying sun-screen to them to protect the berries in extreme heat.