SPINIFEX | Barossa Valley
Magali & Pete
Magali Gely and Pete Schell met in the early 1990s in Schell's native New Zealand. Magy derives from Lunel, near Montpellier in the Languedoc, and her family has been making wine for multiple generations. The husband and wife duo has worked together extensively in France, but predominately in the south, which led to the use of the Mediterranean varieties that are championed Spinifex today.
History & Growth
Pete studied at oenology at Roseworthy in South Australia before tackling six vintages in France over 10 years, with a winemaking stint at Turkey Flat, a Barossa icon. These were the necessary steps towards establishing Spinifex in 2001. Over the last two decades, Pete (and Magy) has expanded his project to focus on micro plots of vines that spoke to him in one way or another. Pete is drawn to parcels of land which contain significantly older vines and unloved varieties, such as muscat blanc a petit grains, semillon, ugni blanc, and cinsault.
Pete and Magy's wines offer a not-often-seen picture of the Barossa - a lighter, more aromatic picture. Pete's goal was never to bend the region to a new style but rather to coax out a different expression as informed by his experience in the warm winegrowing regions along the Mediterranean. To that end, blending remains key for Pete, and his skills as a blender and taster are somewhat legendary in the Aussie wine world. Although production is often very small, Schell and Gely play a complex game of oenological Tetris, mixing and matching rows of vines into one harmonious final product. All fruit is farmed organically, all yeast is native.
"We aim to make wines that display signatures of vineyard provenance and vintage, show regional typicity and have a consistent thread of 'house style' that reflects our preferences and experiences with wine. The wines we choose to make are predominately blends, the synergies derived from blending wines of differing character enhance the subtle complexities, even textures and profound personalities delivered from great old vine vineyards." - Pete Schell
Spinifex Wines sources grapes from a small, dedicated group of growers in the Barossa and Eden Valleys, taking advantage of the amazingly diverse soils and meso-climates to craft wines with character, structure, depth of flavor and that Barossan generosity. They also use fruit from their own site in Flaxman's valley that they acquired a few years ago. Located in cool climate Eden Valley, the site is made up of mostly shiraz and a small parcel of riesling. However, there are also small plantings of vermentino, tempranillo, clariette, and aglianico.