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I grew up in Auckland, New Zealand and in 1974 as a teenager, decided to have a go at home winemaking after finding an old recipe book. It’s a fascinating process and soon had schoolmates giving me a hand to harvest neighbourhood backyard vines. I was very interested in learning more about the science and history of winemaking and discovered that I could study for an Oenology science degree in Australia. In 1977 I applied to the University of Adelaide and was admitted for the degree in oenology program at Roseworthy Agricultural College in 1979.
After graduating in 1982, I returned to New Zealand and worked as a winemaker for several vintages before I decided to travel and gain experience with winemaking in California.
I then found myself back in the Barossa Valley working vintage in 1986 and in 1987. During this time Robert O’Callaghan contacted me to offer some work helping with his new venture, Rockford Wines. I worked for Robert over 18 vintages and during this time had the fortuitous opportunity to purchase my own vineyard. I had already established my own little after-hours winemaking project, Three Rivers Shiraz in 1989, utilising parcels of fruit purchased from various growers and in 1995 was able to continue with Shiraz harvested from the 100 year old vines on my Stone Chimney Creek property, high in the Barossa Ranges of Eden Valley. I changed the name from Three Rivers to Chris Ringland Shiraz with the release of the 1998 vintage. Following a string of exceptional reviews, in particular by Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate, my little label developed an international following that continues to the present. On the back of this, I was invited to investigate winemaking collaborations in California, Italy and Spain. Two of my Spanish projects, Bodegas Alto Moncayo and Bodegas El Nido, both established in 2002, have been very successful and continue with my input.
My Barossa Valley winemaking projects expanded in 2006 with the establishment of Hoffmann Vineyard, in partnership with 5th generation vigneron Adrian Hoffmann and Ringland Vintners logistics manager Nathan Burley. While we are red wine specialists it isn’t always about Shiraz. Grenache, Mataro, Cabernet and Nebbiolo also play a part in our evolving journey through wine.