Blog 91- A very cool project- Alpha Crucis

Wanted to tell you all about a really cool project that I have been involved in.

The brainchild of the much taller than me Harvey boys at Chalkhill in McLaren Vale ( – their vision was to gather a number of winemakers to make wines from the same block of fruit, and see what happens!

And so the Alpha Crucis Winemaker Series was born-

Back in 2008, the mission began. Six winemakers were chosen- myself, Emmanuelle Bekkers, Bec Wilson of Bremerton fame, Mike Brown from Gemtree, Steve Grimley from Loom Wine and Tom Harvey himself. One of the Harveys premium Shiraz blocks was chosen- the Heritage Block- and we were each given equal numbers of random vine rows. We were given no brief other than- do exactly what you would like. No rules around when you would like to pick, what oak you want to use, and so on- all winemaking choices were left completely up to the winemaker. Interesting to discover the influence of the winemaker on the same fruit.

I ended up doing two picks on the 8th and 14th March 2008. I fermented them separately, but in the same manner. The grape must was chilled and allowed to ferment using natural (or wild) yeast rather than a cultured yeast strain. After six days the ferment reached 1º Baumé. It was pressed and put to French oak barrique barrels with a small amount of gross lees present. Once fermentation was complete, the wine was racked off and clarified before returning to barrel for ageing.

All of the others approached the winemaking differently. One barrel of each wine was bottled separately- and they are sold together as a six pack in a gorgeous wooden box. Even ended up with each of our mugs on the bottles- don’t know if that will help sales!!

Anyway- would make a very interesting dinner party to unveil each of the wines & compare!

Here is another recent article on the wines as well-