I’ve always been drawn to the vineyard. I used to walk amongst the vines on my way to school growing up in country Victoria, kicking the dirt and smuggling huge bunches of flame seedless.
Wine has taken me to many great places, from regions of South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania to the fascinations of Europe and the USA. From 2006 until mid-2010, I worked with Mitchelton Wines in the Nagambie Lakes sub-region of Central Victoria as Senior Winemaker, where my great love for Rhone styles and varieties was nourished. Along the way, I’ve enjoyed some humbling reward for my devotion. In 2008 I was awarded the Wine Society’s Young Winemaker of the Year; a proud milestone achievement. Currently, I’m enjoying the diversity of the Grampians as a Winemaker with Mount Langi Ghiran.
The more I explore, the more I find myself driven by worlds of interpretation, expression and intuition as a means of connecting with nature. In this way I most relate to my environment. Science also offers some validation and reassurance that keeps me from losing too much focus, as the temptation that comes with boundless artistic opportunity can be somewhat “unhinging” at times.
It was back in 2003 that I began making my own single vineyard wines – not for commercial release but rather as a personal fascination with the idea of interpreting places through winemaking. The first was a rustic cool climate Cabernet Sauvignon from a stunning vineyard in Clarendon Hills, teetering on the border of the Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale. The following season, 2004, the allure of Shiraz from Langhorne Creek took hold. This was the beginning of my vineyard exploration.
Each vintage, each season, my senses are illuminated by the pervasive beauty of nature presenting itself, and amazingly, offering a humbling opportunity in return for me to share. I feel so connected to this. There is so much beauty and honesty in wine. It offers a true window into a special period of time like a hedonistic time capsule that can be revisited, shared, pondered and enjoyed at any time with food and friends.
Of course there is nothing new about any of this… expressing a sense of place and oneself. Provenance is the heart and soul of all great things – family, culture, food, art…
It is true that my vision brings with it a nomadic quality. Although different to conventional notions of regionality, my exploration has immense respect for region – so much so that I want to experience many. But further, I’m committed to drilling down with greater focus on specific sites within regions. This is where I find the most interest, honesty and often, quality.
As with any exploration, I am searching for something. Whilst Ben Haines is all about the journey of discovery, I do hope it leads me to the “Pilgrim’s Flag” site that truly captures the spirit of provenance… my cellar door… my home.
Ben Haines Wine