Visiting the Barossa Valley to enjoy some of its magnificent wine is nothing short of a rewarding experience. You’ll stumble across some of the passionate industry workers that never tire to further open your eyes to the wonderful world that is traditional Australian wine. Each drop tells a unique story that the winemaker has expressed from the very positioning of the vines, up until the first sip. One boutique winery that stands out from most has well-earnt its legendary reputation – Rockford. After a recent tasting, we just can’t stop fussing over the new basket press released from this boutique winery.
Located in Tanunda, the beating heart of the Barossa, Rockford has been turning tastebuds since the 1980’s. Back then, land was much more affordable, so anyone looking to make a living off of wine were presented with such an opportunity. Founder and owner, Robert O’Callaghan, purchased the property to which Rockford resides today. Robert connected with local grape growers, purchased winemaking equipment and commenced his Rockford winemaking journey.
Some decades ago, many wineries were family-run and smaller in size. Grape picking, crushing and processing was limited to manual methods that aren’t as common nowadays. Wine was sold directly to the hands of customers without organisational representation or an exportation agency. Unlike many wineries that have adopted various modern winemaking technology, the traditional approach is what helped Robert create the Rockford we know today - a premium example in the South Australian wine industry. It’s not considered complacency if it’s producing brilliant results each year, as perfection like Rockford doesn’t require change.
Throughout all the loud innovation the global wine industry is experiencing, it’s interesting to learn that for such a successful winery, Rockford has kept it small and simple since the beginning – including its business model. Close relationships with growers are nurtured and real connections are made with the customers. This gives Rockford an edge that is difficult for competitors to match, as it is a result of decades of rapport with the local community. The land on which Rockford sits withholds an impressive history of buildings and equipment that has been well-kept over the years, giving a considerably antique-like feel. This can all be simultaneously experienced in conjunction with the wine production, which gives off a delightful flavour in the air as you explore the site.
Words don’t do Rockford enough justice, as it must be witnessed in-person. Many people, especially younger generations are more than familiar with the current technology and modern-edge that equips many wineries in the ever-growing SA wine industry. Rockford has an earthy and vintage uniqueness that provides a delicate, yet potent wine experience. Visitors will feel a real connection with the soul of the Barossa that is preserved and unchanged at Rockford. Besides a website with only a landing page, Rockford lacks a digital presence. This is of no concern as it supported predominately by its reputation as a premium household name, and nurtured by its outspoken customer service.
Wine appreciators from all across Australia and even overseas will include Rockford on their list of wineries to visit in SA. The Stone Wall Society is an exclusive attraction at Rockford, where only long-term and loyal customers are invited to join. Members are granted access to premium top-shelf wines, as well as a 4-person max food & wine paired lunch available for booking amongst other members and affiliates of the club. This is one example of the lengths Rockford goes to create a close-knit community of wine lovers. The food served at Rockford has arguably just as much quality and care given to it as the wines themselves. Ingredients are sourced and inspired by the local community and prepared in a home-style way. Locally produced products are also on offer for take-away purchase such as plum sauce, tomato and basil sauce, sundried peaches etc. With the arrival of Autumn season, Rockford is the destination to add to your leisure list if you’re ever in the mood for a cellar door experience immersed with maple leaves and delightful wine offerings. We recommend trying the new and limited basket press release before it’s all disappeared.