Joe Bloggs & Daughters?

We’ve seen the likes of ‘Joe Bloggs & Sons’ on many labels – not only wine – but ‘Joe Bloggs & Daughters’ has a refreshing ring to it.

We may yet see it at Freeman Vineyards (tastings), in the NSW Hilltops region, where the daughters of founder Brian Freeman, Xanthe and Marcelle, are taking the business into the second generation.

Dr Brian Freeman was professor of viticulture and oenology at Charles Sturt University before taking over an established vineyard at Young in the Hilltops region, then named Demondrille. Today re-named Freeman Vineyards, it has 57 hectares, and the family also manages a second 45-hectare vineyard.

Most of the fruit is sold to other wineries but the family’s challenge is to increase sales of Freeman Vineyard wines and utilize more of the grapes themselves. They have no less than 23 grape varieties, so the scope for experimentation is enormous. The Freeman name is already identified with adventurous wines: Australia’s only rondinella corvina, called Secco (tastings) and modeled on Italian amarone, and a blended white wine named Fortuna. Among other things, they also produce very credible nebbiolo (tastings) and tempranillo (tasting).

Xanthe, 33, is increasingly taking over the winemaking and viticulture from her father, having trained at CSU. She’s currently working the vintage at Allandale (tastings) in the Hunter Valley. Her sister Marcelle, 36, is a molecular biologist, and was working on the creation of new antibiotics when her father asked her to come and help on the vineyard. That was in 2007, and she’s been there ever since. “I love the winemaking side and I like being in the vineyards, watching things grow and prosper,” she says. One of her fascinations is fermenting white grapes on skins. “We have a really interesting 2013 viognier made this way; no added yeast; it’s a bit of fun.” 

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