It was in the mid 80’s that Charlie and a small band of Barossa winemakers turned their winemaking efforts to what was considered then a couple of unfashionable varieties; Shiraz and Grenache. With these varieties, Charlie built a small range of classic dry reds including a Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedre blend called the Nine Popes. These wines were initially styled on those from the Rhone but are now considered leading examples of the varieties in their own right. At Charles Melton Wines, great emphasis is placed on the quality of fruit.
All grapes are dry grown and harvested from the winery’s own 50 acres of prime Barossa vineyard land, as well as from a select group of grape growers. These grapes are drawn from some of the oldest and most venerable vines in the Barossa. These gnarled old veterans, dry grown on a mix of estate vineyard and family owned blocks, reflect the unique style and traditions that produce the famed Barossa Valley red wine style.
Since the first vintage of Charles Melton Wines in 1984, this small Barossa Valley winery has gained both national and international recognition for its fine red table wines.
In 1984, Charlie purchased his first grapes to produce the new Charles Melton label and produced a Sparkling Red from old vines dry‐grown in the Barossa. He soon splashed out again – this time purchasing 13 acres of Grenache and Shiraz. At that time, he also built the cellar door and winery which still stands today on Krondorf Road, just outside Tanunda in the Barossa Valley.
The wines move from a light red, ‘The Rose of Virginia’ through to Australia’s premier Rhone-style red, ‘Nine Popes’. Charlie Melton also makes small quantities of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sparkling Shiraz, and is the only Australian producer of a vin-santo styled dessert wine, Sotto di Ferro.
Charlie was one of the first to recognize the value and tradition of the Barossa’s old vineyard Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre. At a time when others were pulling out vineyards of Shiraz to plant more fashionable varieties, Charlie was convincing farmers to keep their historic vineyards. He was one of a small group of winemakers who helped retain the viticultural heritage of the Barossa.