Gorilla client Barossa Boy Wines have been perfecting their craft for six generations. Read their story as written by Katie Spain. The Producers Book honours giving so much towards the South Australian food & wine industry. Get your own copy from BudMedia.
Sixth generation Barossa winemaker Trent Burge comes from strong Barossa stock. His family’s long association with winemaking in the region can be traced back to 1855 when Trent’s great-great-great grandfather John Burge immigrated to South Australia and worked as a winemaker. Every generation since followed in his footsteps.
Trents’ parents, Grant and Helen Burge, founded Grant Burge Wines in 1988 (now owned by Accolade Wines) and Trent engrossed himself in the industry from the ground up – just like his father and grandfather. He cut his teeth as a cellar hand and winemaker’s assistant, and worked vintage alongside the experienced team at Illaparra Winery.
Now, it’s time to fly solo. Trent launched his own wine label Barossa Boy after a particularly great vintage in 2016.
The name is apt. “I remember having a family meeting and my family was hassling me about what I was going to call it. I quite quickly said, ‘Something like Barossa Boy’. We all kind of stopped and thought, ‘Oh, actually, that sounds alright’.”
The brand is a showcase of his undying love for the Barossa. “It’s not just about me, it’s about introducing and bringing as many people to the Barossa as we can.”
He didn’t have an interest in showcasing wines from other regions. “It’s very much about showcasing what the generations before us achieved.” His 2016 Little Tacker Grenache Shiraz Mataro and 2016 Double Trouble Shiraz Cabernet were made alongside winemakers at Illaparra Winery. “The GSM is very fruitful and fun and fresh,” he says. “Like every good little tacker, it has a dark side at the end with some nice tannins and structure to it.”
Wine critic James Halliday selected the 2016 Double Trouble Shiraz Cabernet for his 2018 Cellaring Selections mini-guide, gave it an impressive 94 points and awarded the brand an impressive four stars on its inaugural place in his James Halliday Wine Companion 2019. His Lifeblood Shiraz and Young Wisdom Mataro have since been released and Trent expects an equally good response to these wines.
“My philosophy is people sometimes overcomplicate the wine industry,” Trent says. “My generation goes out to dinner parties with friends and lots of people are worried that if they take the wine to the party, someone might know something about it and they get intimidated… so they choose beer before they choose wine because there’s less to talk about.”
He plans to produce whites that are a talking point.
“We’re going to do a Riesling from the Eden Valley and then our bigger project over the next five years is to try to source some premium Chardonnay fruit, and have a really top, iconic Barossa Chardonnay that is really refined, buttery and lovely.”
Trent puts a focus on the story and romance rather than technicalities (though he’ll talk about structure, tannins and palate for ages if you indulge him). “If I can create a story and someone can talk to me about why it’s called that, it makes it more approachable. Then people can just go to their dinner party and tell that story.”
He says authenticity is key. “There are so many brands out there. With social media and the internet, you can very much get caught out if you’re not authentic. I really want to show people behind the scenes to make them feel that they’re part of the family.”
The eventual plan is to have a cellar door. “It might take a few years but we want to keep bringing wine lovers to the Barossa, having events and making experiences for them to enjoy along the way.”
In 2017, Trent and his wife Jessica welcomed their first child, the seventh generation in the Burge and Barossa Boy’s journey.
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