20 Feb Introducing Bronson Kies | 2020 Winemaker for Kies Family Wines
Introducing Bronson Kies | 2020 Winemaker for Kies Family Wines
Let’s go back to the very beginning of your story with wine/vineyard?
One of my first memories was having dinner with grandpa (Ken Kies) at a restaurant.
I must have been about 4 years old. I remember lying on the floor under the table because I was very tired. Grandpa would give me a nudge and a little glass of port would come down. I remember the smell and taste.
I’m very thankful to have experienced the magic of wine at such a young age.
My work life started in the vineyard at the age of 14, I would prune vines in my holidays to make pocket money.
Can you share your journey from those humble beginnings to becoming a winemaker?
After 7 years in the industry I thought it was time to attend Adelaide University to become qualified in Viticulture and Oenology.
I completed the 4 year course, receiving a high achievement science award for a greater than distinction average in my final year.
I have been fortunate to work at two of Australia’s most iconic wineries.
The first being Rockford wines in the Barossa Valley, where he observed winemaking in the traditional.
I then worked at Jim Barry in the Clare Valley (Winery of the year 2019), where I observed how to make high-end wine with cutting edge technology.
I believe winemaking is a mixture of art, science, passion and intuition. I’m a believer that to make good wines you need to have extremely good hygiene systems.
You must start with high quality fruit and process it in such a way that it is free of faults and taints.
I have designed my winery so that I have ample tank space and equipment.
A lot of wineries are dictated by a lack of fermentation space, which leads to rushing wines though fermentation in a matter of days, which I believe reduces overall quality.
I also have ample chilling and an automated brine chilling system to each tank which I automatically set to a temperature range.
Which part/process/rules of winemaking do you think are the most important?
Hygiene, SO₂ levels, pH, temperature and no ullage.
What is your favourite grape variety and wine?
Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. My grandpa came second in the Jimmy Watson trophy with a Cabernet Franc back in the day.
I do love a good Cabernet/Shiraz blend as well.
When and how did the idea of building your own winery come about?
My Dad and I sat down about 6 years ago and had a chat about bringing the entire operation from grapes to bottle back on-site after a long period of dealing with a contract winemaker.
This will give me the ability to have 100% control of when the fruit is picked and all winemaking decisions that go into making premium quality wines.
What obstacles have you faced during the winery build?
The initial budget doubled, however the build has been very smooth and everything has been thought through.
Spending more time with Dad during the winery build has been a massive positive.
I am excited that the winery I have designed allows me to make the wine exactly how I want to.
I won’t have to make winemaking decisions based on lack of fermentation and tank space, minimal chilling or lack of other equipment.
For example, we have a single vineyard Shiraz which I will have the room to ferment in 4 different fermenters using contrasting techniques.
I will also be able to pick the grapes at different Baumé levels to achieve some natural acidity and added complexity.
What is the processing capacity of the winery?
I have enough tank space and equipment to process up to 400 tonnes without expansion, however my first vintage 2020 I will crush 115 tonnes.
Yes, I have designed the winery to include a customer experience where visitors will be able to enter a viewing platform in the winery building and watch me making wine.
I will also do some events during the year where I will teach people how to process grapes from picking, crushing and yeast inoculation, pump overs and pressing.
As this is new to me I will have a few test runs with friends and family for events then work out what will work best before we offer the product to our customers.
Watch this space for our winery launch party and the introduction of winery tours. You can sign up to our newsletter here to stay up to date with the latest at Kies Family Wines.