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Brokenwood Wines
19 April 2023 | Wine Club, Winemaking | Brokenwood Wines

Grape to Glass: Inside Brokenwood’s Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz

2021 Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz

At Brokenwood Wines, we take great pride in crafting some of the best red wines in Australia, and our flagship Brokenwood Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz is a testament to our commitment to quality and excellence. With a new vintage on the horizon, we want to take you on a journey from grape to glass, and give you an inside look at what makes this exceptional wine so special.

Original Brokenwood Cellar Door

A Brief History of the Graveyard Vineyard

Picture this: the 1970s, disco balls, platform shoes, and a graveyard... wait, what? Yes, you read that right. Our founding fathers bought a property in the Hunter Valley that came with land designed for use as a graveyard. 

Don't worry, it's not as morbid as it sounds — rather, this sweep of land sidestepped its original uses to give Brokenwood a golden opportunity to make some of the best red wine in Australia. 

Graveyard’s Growth

Growth was steady until the boom of 1978, when six new partners joined, allowing the purchase of the rightfully named Brokenwood Graveyard Vineyard. Originally destined to be a cemetery for the Parish of Pokolbin, it was never used as such and instead planted with Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon. Who knew a cemetery could lead to such great things?

The heavy clay soil in the vineyard resulted in vintages of low yield, but with extraordinary concentration of flavour in the berries, providing a distinctive wine style that is still evident in Brokenwood red wines. 

Brokenwood’s Flagship Wine

The Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz is more than just a wine to us at Brokenwood; it's our number one flagship wine. This wine represents the pinnacle of our long-standing winemaking prowess and showcases the unique characteristics of the Hunter Valley region. 

Since the first vintage was produced in 1983, Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz has become synonymous with Brokenwood's commitment to quality, excellence and innovation. We’re proud to continue producing this exceptional wine, which consistently receives high ratings and critical acclaim from wine experts and enthusiasts alike. It's no wonder that when people ask, ‘what is the best red wine in Australia?’ Brokenwood Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz is often the answer.

Now in its 32nd vintage with the imminent release of our 2021 Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz, this wine has made an impressive journey from its humble 70s beginnings. At the foundation of new and improved winemaking techniques and flavour profile tweaks, our beloved Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz is still sourced exclusively from this single Hunter Valley vineyard. Safe to say, we’re a little besotted with the magic of our beloved Graveyard Vineyard!

Viticulturist Kat Barry in the vineyards

The Grape to Glass Process

The winemaking process for the Brokenwood Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz is a labour of love, and the meticulous attention to detail practised by our winemakers and viticulturists is what sets this exquisite wine apart. 

  1. The grapes are harvested by hand and carefully sorted to ensure that only the finest fruit is used. 
  2. We then begin fermentation in open vats, ensuring the juice is hand-plunged multiple times a day to extract maximum flavour and those deep, bold, vibrant colours. This process allows for a gentle and controlled fermentation, which produces a wine with a soft and velvety texture. 
  3. After fermentation, the wine is aged for up to 18 months in the finest French oak barrels, which adds complexity, depth, and a subtle hint of oak. 
  4. Finally, the wine is blended and bottled, ready for release and those unforgettable first sips.

Hint: Want to be one of the first to taste our new 2021 Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz? Join our SVC Club to gain exclusive first access at our fabulous launch event in May.

2019 Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz Vintage

We don't mean to brag, but we just can't help boasting about the predecessor to this year's new Graveyard release. The 2019 Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz was considered one of the best red wines in Australia and received critical acclaim from wine critics and enthusiasts alike. The wine was praised for its depth, complexity, and balance of flavours. 

The 2019 vintage received a phenomenal rating of 98 points from James Halliday, and was named one of the Top 100 Wines of 2021 by Wine Spectator. Previous vintages have also received high praise, including the 2017 vintage, which was named Best Australian Shiraz at the International Wine Challenge in London.

Looking Ahead to the 2021 Release

After a troublesome 2020 harvest, a result of the bushfires that ravaged much of the country, we were pleased and relieved to welcome a thriving harvest from the Graveyard Vineyard in 2021. The outcome? A brand new, boldly flavoured, decadently textured and exquisitely produced 2021 Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz.

According to Senior Winemaker Stuart Hordern and Hunter Valley Vineyards Manager Kat Barry, the new 2021 vintage is looking just as promising as its predecessor. 'The growing season was excellent, with ideal weather conditions leading to healthy vines and high-quality fruit,' says Kat. 

'The grapes were harvested at the perfect ripeness,' Stuart adds. 'This means we get a wine that's rich, full-bodied, complex. The 2021 vintage really shines.' 

We don't want to give too much away ahead of our 39th Annual Graveyard Launch event, but we can divulge that this new vintage boasts some truly delicious and quintessentially Hunter Valley Shiraz properties. Think notes of dark fruits, spice, and a hint of vanilla from the French oak barrels. Getting that tingle in your taste buds yet? We don’t blame you.

The Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz Flavour Profile

The 2019 vintage of the Brokenwood Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz has been described as ‘a wine of great intensity and length’ by James Halliday, one of Australia’s most respected wine critics. We’re excited for reviews of the new 2021 vintage and feel confident in the wine’s nuanced boldness that it will continue to hold its place as one of the best red wines in Australia.

Tasting Notes

A true Hunter Valley Shiraz, the 2021 Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz boasts the iconic qualities born of our region's unique climate and soil: 

  • Deep purple colour
  • Aromas of blackberries, plums, and spice
  • Full-bodied on the palate
  • Flavours of dark fruit, chocolate, and a hint of smokiness

Add the incredible talent of our winemakers and growers both past and present, and a touch of classic Brokenwood magic, and you've got a Shiraz flavour profile that is truly unsurpassed.

Food Pairings

The Brokenwood Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz is a wine that pairs well with rich, flavourful dishes. While it can certainly be enjoyed year-round, this wine is a match made in heaven with hearty, warming winter dishes — and with the 2021 vintage being released this winter, that’s what we’d call good timing! 

Pair our Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz with:

  • Roasted lamb or venison
  • Slow cooked beef
  • Slow roasted lamb shoulder 
  • Osso Bucco
  • Strong cheeses, such as blue cheese or aged cheddar 

When serving, it’s recommended to decant the wine for at least an hour to allow it to breathe and open up.

2019 Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz Launch event

Cheers to the 2021 Brokenwood Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz

The Brokenwood Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz is a true testament to our long-held passion for crafting the best red wines in Australia. With its unique history, exceptional single vineyard roots, meticulous winemaking process and unmatched Hunter Valley qualities, it's no wonder that this wine has earned its place among the best red wines in the world. We can't wait to see what you think of this new vintage.

You’re Invited to the 39th Annual Graveyard Launch

Are you a member of our Single Vineyard Club? If not, don’t panic. There’s still time to join one of the best wine clubs in Australia and gain exclusive first taste access to our 2021 Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz.

The 39th Annual Graveyard Launch invites SVC Club Members and special VIP guests to take a seat with the Brokenwood family to celebrate the new release of our Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz while looking back at the incredible efforts of our past vintages, which were instrumental in getting us to where we are today. 

When: Saturday 27th May 2023
Where: Brokenwood Wines Cellar Door
*Invite Only. Join the Single Vineyard Club for access.

We invite you to also book The Wood Restaurant, Terrace Wine Bar or a Cellar Door experience during your stay in the Hunter Valley to avoid disappointment.

Cheers to another spectacular Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz release!



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