Adrian and Rebecca Santolin. First generation wine pioneers living the dream, raising a family and making small batch, lo-fi wines in the Yarra Valley.
Adrian Santolin grew up in Griffith, NSW, and has worked in the wine industry since he was 15. He moved to the Yarra Valley in 2007 with wife Rebecca, who has worked in marketing roles at various wineries. Adrian’s love of pinot noir led him to work at wineries such as Wedgetail Estate, Rochford, De Bortoli, Sticks and Rob Dolan Wines. In ’12 his dream came true when he was able to buy 2t of pinot noir from the Syme-on-Yarra Vineyard, increasing production in ’13 to 4t, split between Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Adrian’s Italian heritage saw him working on his grandparents farm in school holidays and progressing to the local winery during teenage years for a bit of extra cash to help pay his way through uni. Rebecca’s kiwi heritage has instilled a deep seated bond with the All Blacks, to Adrian’s very bitter disappointment.
Most people would call them lo-fi winemakers. They intervene minimally.
Their small batch ‘Santolin’ wines, are left to ferment naturally. They prefer to let the fermentation run wild, creating grape symphonies and fruity supernovas. Fining agents are not added. Their wines are vegan friendly. You should be able to taste the Valley in there.
They foot-stomp and hand-plunge their Pinot Noir to gently extract the colour from the grapes. Their wines are left to age in 100% French oak barrels, then matured in the bottle for maximum complexity. Like a really delicious cryptic crossword.
They also like to experiment, and their ‘Cosa Nostra’ wines are a clear example of their love for all things unique and different. Interesting Italian blends, from lesser known regions in Victoria. Adventurous experimentation, teamed with their minimal winemaking philosophy best captures the unique and intrinsic nature of these alternative varietals and blends.
After working at other wineries for too many years, in 2012 they decided to take all our spare money and buy one barrel, one tank and two tonne of pinot noir, and start doing things their way. Fast forward a few years and their indie status was cemented with a win for ‘Best New Act,’ at the Young Gun Awards, they have picked up a few trophies including ‘Best New World Chardonnay,’ and ‘Best International Chardonnay’ at HKIWSC and Decanter Asia, Qantas started serving their wines in their International Business class cabins (our wines officially fly better than we do), and their personal wine supply is now secure – a necessary addition when raising small children and running a business.
They are making wine their way, raising a family and loving what they do!
Credit – Santolin Wines