March 30, 2021

Stephen Henschke Takes Us From the Barossa Wine Auction, up Into the Clouds

By Angela Oemcke

As the technology partner for the Barossa Wine Auction, Cellr is excited to be showcasing what we can look forward to for this years event through a series of interviews with several producers.

This week we spoke to with Henschke‘s own fifth-generation winemaker, Stephen Henschke. Let’s see what he had to say about Henschke the Barossa Wine Auction.

For more information on the Barossa Wine Auction and to purchase tickets click here.

Tell us a bit about your winery…

Our family has been making wine since first-generation winemaker Johann Christian Henschke planted his first vineyard here in the Barossa’s Eden Valley in the early 1860s, with the first commercial release of a Henschke wine in 1868. Initially, the wines were made for family and friends, however demand inevitably grew and wines were made for sale. Each generation has added to the Henschke philosophy of making high quality, handcrafted wines. 

My father Cyril pioneered varietal and single-vineyard wines, with his greatest legacy being the creation of Hill of Grace and Mount Edelstone in the 1950s; shiraz wines from Eden Valley that have become an integral part of Australia’s fine wine story.

In the early 1980s my wife Prue (Henschke viticulturist) and I planted a vineyard at Lenswood, a sub-region of the cool-climate Adelaide Hills region. Prue’s philosophy is a holistic one – to ensure the created environment sits in a healthy balance with the natural landscape. She uses the principles of biodynamics and organics to create the best environment for plant growth and soil health. We continue to craft our wines with a strong sense of place, complemented by traditional winemaking. 

The sixth generation, Johann, Justine and Andreas are all actively involved in continuing the family winemaking tradition; they are mindful of their role as custodians of the Henschke vineyards and their need to nurture them for future generations.

As a local, what is your favourite way to experience the Barossa? 

From the air in the hot air balloon I share with a group of other hot air balloon pilots. My son Andreas is now a pilot too and we enjoy taking our friends and family for an early-morning flight over the Barossa.

Why are you excited to be part of the Barossa Wine Auction for 2021?

We are excited to be sharing some carefully curated selections of wines for this year’s Barossa Wine Auction, showcasing our most celebrated wines, Hill of Grace and Mount Edelstone.

Talk to us about your auction lots…

Our Langton’s Classification Henschke Wine Collection contains two wines rated as ‘Exceptional’ in the Langton’s Classification: Hill of Grace and Mount Edelstone, and two wines rated as ‘Outstanding’ in the Langton’s Classification: Cyril Henschke and Keyneton Euphonium. 

Our Henschke Hill of Grace Vineyard Collection contains the three wines that are made from our 8-hectare Hill of Grace Vineyard, consisting of 4 hectares of shiraz, the oldest of which is now around 160 years of age and is crafted into Hill of Grace, a young-vine wine produced from a mass selection of the best performing vines on the Hill of Grace vineyard named Hill of Roses, and an extremely limited-release semillon named Hill of Peace. All three wines are only made in the best years. The remaining 3.5 hectares are made up of mataro and riesling, which are picked for Henschke blends.

The 2004 Hill of Grace Magnum has been released from our Museum and Rare Collection, a library of museum wines and small parcels from single vineyards and excellent vintages, that have been stored in our winery cellars since they were fermented, matured and bottled. The provenance of these wines are guaranteed. 2004 was an excellent vintage for Hill of Grace, with a drinking window of 20+ years from vintage. 

 In addition to these wines we are part of two experiences up for auction; the Ultimate Authentic Barossa Experience with Hutton Vale Farm and the Wine Lovers Experience with Hutton Vale Farm, Yalumba and Flaxman.

What do you love most about living and working in Barossa?

The culture, the food, wine, friends and family – what’s there not to love?!

Let’s imagine a world where you weren’t making wine, what would you like to imagine yourself doing? 

A marine biologist. I loved scuba diving in my twenties and would still love to explore the reefs of the world. When I was a child, I wanted to be an underwater scientist like Jacques Cousteau.

If you had the opportunity to share a glass of wine with the person who purchased one of your lots, which wine would it be, what food would you pair it with, what would you say to them and what song would you want playing in the background?

A glass of 2002 Mount Edelstone, paired with Hutton Vale Farm Lamb – this pairing gives the ultimate sense of place – an Eden Valley single vineyard of shiraz, with neighbouring farm’s sheep grazing through it.  Oh, and I would probably put on 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky!

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