The Redman grape growing and winemaking traditions can be directly traced back to lessons learnt by Bill Redman during his time in Coonawarra in the early 1900s. Bill's most important rule of winemaking? Keep the winery scrupulously clean, and this rule continues to be observed today.
The Redman family has a single-minded winemaking focus and that is ‘celebrating enduring reds’. The Redman family is imbued with a tradition whereby the best of the past is carried forward – 110 years of producing wine in a hands-on and intimate fashion. The family has a respect for what Bill Redman established four generations ago, but also an absolute passion to ensure that his simple and proven wine-producing practices are carried forward for another 100 years.
It is why the Redman vineyard remains a boutique estate – viable but small enough to always demand the personal involvement and touch of a generation of Redmans. It is a winemaking craft that is lovingly and thoughtfully handed down from generation to generation. It demands an absolute feel for the wonders of the Coonawarra terra rossa soil and developing an intuitive understanding of what it means to make truly great traditional reds. It also requires from each generation a commitment to leave the land and vines in a manner that surpasses the quality of the previous generation. The expectations are high, but the rewards feed the spirit of what it means to be a Redman.
The 34 hectares of Redman Vineyards consist of vines ranging in age from 20- to 100-years-old. These vines are still traditionally 'cane and spur’ hand-pruned onto a two-wire vertical trellis system. They are judiciously watered to allow the vines to produce premium quality fruit for which Coonawarra is renowned.
Since 1980, the grapes have been mechanically harvested and crushed 'in the field' by a crusher mounted on the front of a tractor. The must is transported to the winery in a stainless steel tanker towed behind the tractor.
Fermentation is carried out in open concrete and stainless steel fermenters, both of which hold five tonnes of must. The open tanks are hand plunged three times a day, to give gentle extraction of desirable tannins and colour. The stainless steel fermenters are pumped over twice per day to achieve the required colour and tannin levels. The must is cooled during fermentation to ensure the temperature does not get above 25 degrees Celsius.
The wines are fermented to dryness on skins, which usually takes five days. They are then run off the skins, and the skins are pressed. These pressings are added straight back to the ‘free-run’ wine. The wine undergoes a natural malolactic fermentation, after which a small amount of sulphur dioxide is added.
The wine is then transferred into French and American 300L Hogshead oak barrels (assistant winemaker and cellar hand Mike Redman is in the cellar above with the Hogshead oak barrels). The wine is matured in these barrels for up to two years, prior to a final filtration and bottling.
Following in the family tradition, the third generation and fourth generation of Redmans are now working together to produce the top-quality wines for which the Redman name has become renowned. The Redman Shiraz, Redman Cabernet Sauvignon, Redman Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot and The Redman wines are distributed and marketed nationally.