Bellwether Wines

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The Bellwether Chardonnay comes from the same vineyard as the Ant Series Riesling and is grown by Rob Bennet and his wife in the Bundaleera vineyard. This vineyard is a beautiful warm sun exposed site in cool climate environment of Tasmania. The Chardonnay comes from the higher ends of the slopes and gets long sunlight hours during ripening whilst retaining lovely natural acidity due to the elevation. Sue is very involved in the vineyard here and goes over every year to prune the vines. Low yields are key factor in Sue’s management of the vines to produce the high quality fruit she looks for.

All grapes are handpicked and whole bunch pressed before being transported to the winery in Coonawarra. The press yields around 650L/tonnes, which in Sues eyes creates the perfect balance of juice versus high quality solids. If over extracted the solids can become bitter and overly reductive, but when pressed to about 650L/tonnes, the solids are clean and of a high quality that add an incredible texture and complexity to the final wine. Once the juice is fermented it is transferred to French oak barrels where it sees 33% new oak for about 9 months. After this the wine is bottled and held back in the winery for 4 to 5 years. The total production of this wine is 2000 – 3000 cases per year.

This Chardonnay shows incredible zippy acidity with a bouquet of lemon curd, grapefruit combined with a hint of ripe pineapple. There is a stony minerality and some attractive reductive aroma’s that is so typical for the region. All these components go in hand with a lovely texture and mouthfeel of butter and freshly baked bread. The acidity and texture is in perfect harmony and in the drinking sweet spot.


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The fruit for the Cabernet Sauvignon comes from Mike and Brent Weatherall’s vineyard in Coonawarra. The vines were planted in the early 90’s and are now over 30 year old vines. The elevation in the vineyard provides an incredible difference in ripeness of different plots and rows. Sue is the earliest to pick in the vineyard as she wants to create wines that have liveliness, savouriness and elegance. Sue is highly involved in the canopy management and pruning of this vineyard. It is important in this vineyard to have a good airflow and loose bunches to to ensure even ripening and picks on fruit flavour rather than measuring Baume.

All vines on this vineyard are handpicked and hand-sorted. The juice undergoes a cold soak for 10-12 days in open top fermenters. 10% of the wine is kept on skins for 4-6 weeks and is blended after. After ferment, the wines are placed in Bordeaux Barriques of which 1/3 is new and the rest are 1 to 2 year old barrels for 18 months. After 18 months the wines are bottled and kept in the winery for another 3 to 4 years before release.

A dark and deep Cabernet Sauvignon with depth and layers, lovely fine grained tannins and length with freshness. The wine on the nose has dark chocolate, black currant, cassis and a hint of cedar. A little dried mint note and a deep earthy savouriness comes through on the mid palate. The wine is very layered with some secondary notes developing, mocha and tobacco leaf, well integrated into fine long grained tannins.




The story behind the ant-series wines started off with Sue not being very happy with the previous labelling of this range; “The Climate Change Wines”. At this point she went to an art exhibition where she found the paintings now on the labels where ants were drawn in a almost abstract way. The paintings were speaking to her and whilst talking to the artist, he mentioned “Ants move around when the weather starts to change” and she knew then these were going to be the labels for her climate change wines, and so the “Ant Series” was born.

In wine terms, the Ant Series wines are wines developed to represent vintage and brightness and to create great wines that are affordable, can be consumed early but do have the ability to age for ones that have the patience.


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The 2018 Riesling is sourced from the Bundaleera vineyard in the Tamar Valley. The Bandaleera Vineyard is a 2ha that Sue describes “as a warm site in a very cool place”. The grower Rob Bennet and his wife have been looking after the vineyard for over 20 years and Sue has been buying fruit here since then.

All grapes are handpicked in whole bunches in the early morning to retain freshness and purity and are then transported to the farm in small crates. This is to prevent the grapes from being crushed or create any micro-biological spoilage.  All bunches are whole bunched pressed in the winery at Bundaleera, but are transported to the Bellwether Shearing Shed in Coonawarra to finalize the cuvee. Once the juice has arrived in Coonawarra, two thirds of the juice is transferred in to old puncheons and left on full solids for 9 months.  The rest of the juice is transferred into breathable tanks to promote micro-oxidation which leads to a beautiful texture and weight in the final wine. The wine has not been cold stabilized as Sue thinks this strips out flavour and texture so all bottles have a little precipitate at the bottom.

A great example of a textural Tasmanian Riesling. Crystaline natural acidity with a load of lemon myrtle and grapefruit pith with green apple notes. A lovely rounded mouthfeel and almost waxy texture surrounded by white blossom flowers with a persistent finish.


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Wrattonbully as a region is part of the famous Limestone coast, which today is responsible for 20% of the total grapes grown in South Australia. The special Terra Rossa soil and its high diurnal temperature range makes it a perfect home for a lot of different grape varieties.

The Tempranillo comes from a vineyard planted in 2000 and is taken care of by Peter Bird. Sue is working together with the Wonambi Fossil Centre as they found some fossils in the vineyard about 10 years ago. The Tempranillo block is now a vineyard located on a “World Heritage Site Listing” and Sue provides access to vineyard for the museum to assist with their research.

Tempranillo as a variety has medium acidity and can drop acid very quickly if it is left on the vine for too long therefore picking time is crucial. Along with the free draining of the Terra Rosso soils, the warm days the cool nights provide ideal conditions for the variety and Sue works very closely with Peter to ensure the fruit is picked in the perfect ripeness window.

In the Tempranillo vineyard all grapes are handpicked and hand sorted. All berries are transported to the winery as whole berries. Intracellular fermentation kicks off the ferment in open top stainless fermenters, the juice then juice gets hand-plunged a few times a day, which at this point regular fermentation takes over and ferment is kept at medium temperatures. After fermentation the wine is transferred into old oak barriques to age for 6 months and is released a month later.

This Tempranillo has incredible aromas of chocolate, mint, Christmas cake and a Dr Pepper kind of cherry note. Amongst this there is a lovely earthiness that brings you back to the variety and the vineyard. It is very similar on the palate with a delicious bright and juicy cherry pop sensation and underlying tones of some earthiness and again mint chocolate. Soft and silky tannins make your mouth hunger for the second sip. A wine that is moreish and would go well with food but without it is an absolute treat.


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Sue’s passion for Cabernet started, whilst working with the old wines that carry the great history of the South Australian wine industry, including Penfolds and Hardy’s. This experience coupled with vintage in Bordeaux has allowed Sue to hone and develop her skills to produce her style of Cabernet.

The Ant Series Cabernet comes from a different block in Coonawarra than her flag ship Cabernet Sauvignon. The vines are younger and come from clone CW-44, which is the original Coonawarra Cabernet clone and creates delicious fruit forward approachable characteristics. The grapes are machine harvested and then sorted into whole bunches and whole berries. The juice macerates on the skins for 5-7 days and is transferred into a third new barriques with the remainder 3, 4 and 5 year old for elevage.

The Ant Series Cabernet is very obviously Coonawarra with delicious black currents, black berry jam, a slight eucalypt and dried menthol leaf. A full body Cabernet with dark chocolate and cassis and a savoury oak spice. This wine is made to enjoy and drink early.

The Bellwether “Premium Wines” focus on the unique micro climate and characteristics of the vineyards and the varieties that are grown. Currently Sue produces a Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay in the premium range and releases the wines when she thinks they are ready to drink, generally after after 4 – 5 years bottle ageing. These wines have great structure and are built to last, which is easily recognized when opening a 2015 Cabernet or 2016 Chardonnay.