Despite family roots and vineyards in the Clare Valley Stuart has made his name as a top end winemaker in the Barossa. He's spent the last fifteen years squishing Barossa grapes and turning them into quality kit. His love for the region comes from it having "some of the oldest vines on the planet, the history of the area and its culture." We'd be loath to call him lazy but he attributes his success to doing as little as possible in the winery. Old fashioned techniques and equipment are employed with minimal new oak. Fruit is simply destemmed but not crushed. Much of his work is with the growers, making sure the fruit is as good as possible. In this sense he sees himself being as much a farmer as a winemaker. He loves the ancient building where he makes the wine and its living cultures. The indigenous yeasts and malo bugs perhaps reflective of their origins in Château Tanunda's brandy production back in the 1800s are uniquely hardy beasts. They can operate in conditions that would see even the best commercially available yeasts cark it. You might hear this indigenous yeast and strain of malo referred to in the winery as 'none more black'.
Before joining Château Tanunda in 2011 Stuart was winemaker for a decade at Barossa Valley Estate. During that time its flagship wine, the E&E Black Pepper Shiraz, was named by Wine Spectator mag as one of the 25 benchmark Aussie wines. He joins a long list of industry giants who have worked at Château Tanunda including Bill Seppelt, Craig Stansborough, Geoff Merrill, Grant Burge, Kevin Glastonbury, Peter Taylor, Ralph Fowler, Robert O'Callaghan and Tim Smith. Stuart has also worked for Leasingham, Crabtree and Blue Pyrenees Estate.