“There must be a bit of magic behind Bondar. All of the wines have an ethereal quality”
Jane Faulkner, James Halliday Wine Companion
In 2013, we started our journey to realising the dream that was Bondar Wines.
With a couple of our friends and family, we hand-picked tiny amounts of Shiraz and Chardonnay that we would use to make our first wines under the Bondar label.
The vision was (and remains) to make wines that are bright and pure, finely structured, mid-weight yet concentrated in flavour, with a savoury element.
In 2014 we acquired the Rayner Vineyard, Chalk Hill Road, McLaren Vale. Our home. Set on a hillside on the border of the Blewitt Springs and Beautiful View (Seaview) sub-regions just North of the township of McLaren Vale, the Rayner Vineyard is one of the better known blocks of the region. Vine plantings date back to the 1950s when the property was owned by the Rayner family, and are made up mostly of what the region does best, Shiraz and Grenache.
Straddling Twentyeight road, the eastern side of the road is a huge sandhill, part of the Pirramimma sandstone geology that stretches right through the region. The old vine Shiraz planted here gives lighter wines, with amazing fragrance and a more 'savoury' impression. This style is precisely what we are targeting; wines that fit perfectly with our philosophy.
Since taking over the vineyard we have added newer plantings of close-planted Counoise, more bush vine Grenache and Mataro, Carignan, Cinsault, Touriga Nacional and Sagrantino. We use organic practices across the property where possible, our vineyard is certified under the Sustainable Winegrowing Australia program and is part of the EcoVineyards project, where a select few vineyards are focussing on regenerating parts of their land back to native vegetation (pre-European settlement).
For us this “place” dictates the style, with our hands-off winemaking approach allowing the site to be heard with minimal winemaking artefact. We do a lot of work in the vineyard to help achieve the house style, with an emphasis on canopy management such that there is an evenness across the block, a balance between bunches and leaf area, and that those bunches receive a healthy amount of dappled light as they ripen. And in the winemaking process we use minimal inputs, wild fermentation, techniques such as whole bunches, extended time on skins, and picking the fruit earlier, to achieve the balanced, bright wines for which we aim.
We have been thrilled to achieve a level of success we wouldn’t have thought possible in the years since we began our project of love. We have had a wonderful response from trade and media and our wines have been awarded numerous trophies and 90+ scores from a range of Wine Shows and critics.
We are grateful for it all and hope to continue to make wines that we love, and others do too, for many years ahead.
Selina and Andre