Keep up to date with the latest happenings at stomp!
Join our journey as we share the highs (and lows) of living the dream, passionately crafting the Hunter Valley wines you like to drink.
Following on from my Christmas blog I thought I’d share another treasured family recipe.
Throughout most of his career, my gorgeous father-in-law served the Dubbo Region as an ambulance officer, rising through the ranks, to head the Orana Region Ambulance Service. However, before he was an ambo, he was a talented baker.
So often, at family gatherings, he’s shared with us how tough life was back then. Not that we don’t believe him, but every time he regales us with his story, we all go straight to Monty Python’s Skit - Four Yorkshire Men. He had no shoes, and rode his push bike from Peak Hill to Warren, approximately 141km. Here he stayed with his sister all week, working in her bakery, until riding back home at the end of the week. At this point in the story, we all break out, ‘Luxury… you had a bike… I lived in shoebox…’ And on it goes…
I digress, being a talented baker, he’s always baked the Easter Hot Cross Buns. That is, until his children were old enough to take him on and have a Hot Cross Bun baking competition every Easter. This year our baking competition will be a virtual one and we’re happy to open it up to you too. That is, if you’ve managed to score any yeast and flour in these strange times!
Please post your pictures to our social pages - @stompwines. I'm sure they'll all be amazing!
Happy Easter and happy baking!
Pa’s Hot Cross Buns
Drought, bushfires and now the Covid-19 pandemic... a steep learning curve for how to survive in small business during a crisis or three!
For now, according to Government regulations, our cellar door may stay open for takeaway sales only. However, to do our bit in 'flattening the curve', we've made the decision to close our doors and move to on-line sales only.
There's never been a better time for me to learn how to drive my website, right? And, for you, our loyal customers, there's never been a better time to help support small, family business, if and when you're able. Let's face it, we all need wine, right? And with your help, when this is all over, we will fling open our doors and welcome you back to the beautiful Hunter Valley, our home!
For now, please keep in touch on Facebook and Instagram, share our posts to your wine drinking friends. We encourage you to fill your cellar as we get creative with some specials and hunt down some older vintage wines to share. Couriers are considered an essential service during these difficult times and our wines can still be delivered directly to your door. Hallelujah!
What are you waiting for? Head on over to our virtual cellar right now! And, if you have any questions on any of our wines, remember we are only a message or phonecall away.
Meanwhile I'll continue my steep learning curve and hopefully not drink all the stock I'm meant to be sharing with you!
We miss your smiling faces already... but we are positive we will all get together again soon. Until then, wash your hands, stay safe and well and enjoy your time with your family.
Michael, Meredith and Alyssa
Thank you to all our Vintage 2020 Winemaking Apprentices...
With some of the best t-shirt art seen to date; a shiraz blend that has Michael realising he had some very good palates on site; a feast, from Chef Matt Dillow, that seemed endless; tunes from Mark Henderson that had guests dancing; some particularly stylish stomping, squishing & even head dunking?
We had one of the best stomp! events yet. Thank you for joining us.
Stomp! 2021 will be held on Saturday 6th March. Add it to your calendars or if you suffer from FOMO, fear not, you can book your tickets now.
Vintage in the Hunter Valley can be challenging… & this year certainly is. The prolonged drought has resulted in much smaller berries, less fruit & stressed vines. That said, Vintage 2020 was looking good… until the fire season started. How quickly things took a turn for the worse. Prolonged fire and resulting smoke in our region now leaves all Hunter Valley Winemakers closely monitoring grapes for evidence of smoke taint. This very real threat can lead to unpleasant taints in our wines. Twenty-one years making wines in our valley and this is a first for us.
Farmers are resilient… and let’s face it, winemaking is farming. Resilient? Well, with the help of our amazing Rural Fire Service, & the local community working together, we've made it through the devastating bush fires. We're slowly being forced to adapt to working with drought and with the help of The Australian Wine Research Institute and other wine regions who've dealt with fire before, we’re trying to get the best out of our grapes.
That said, we don’t think we’ll be crushing much fruit this year. Unfortunately, our grapes, grown in Broke, have been affected by the persistent smoke in our valley. Most have absorbed compounds that can eventually create ‘smoke taint’ in our wine. Not really an issue, I hear you say? Hmmm… it can taste like the bottom of a dirty ashtray. Not really a flavour we’d like to introduce to our wines.
We are currently conducting lots of mini ferments and trials working out what we can and can’t produce. Rest assured, although the decisions we’re being forced to make are incredibly difficult, we will only be producing the wines you’ve grown to love. Watch this space, once we know what we’re producing, we can’t wait to tell you about the label it will be bottled under!
So, whilst you leave us to the science, trials and hard decisions... we're asking for your help & support. We ask you to visit the beautiful Hunter Valley - for a day, the weekend or a mid-week escape. Stay in our Winemakers Cottage. Buy local Hunter Valley wines, particularly Stomp! and Pssst ‘n’ Broke Wine Co. And, maybe the best ongoing support you can provide is to sign up to our Stomp Wine Club. You know you want to! 😊
Your support means the world to us & will help us through some very hard decision making and a difficult year ahead. Thank you.
NB: The above outlines our current situation. We understand many people around our country are doing it very tough and our thoughts are with everyone suffering right now.
There are some recipes I will never relinquish, AKA, my Chilli Jam. However, in the spirit of Christmas, I thought I’d share my beautiful Mum’s fruitcake recipe – best, booziest fruitcake ever!
I grew up watching my very talented Mum bake and decorate fruitcakes. Everyone always loved them. I now love to do the same, especially at Christmas time. And the best thing about fruitcake is it keeps for months in the refrigerator, so you’ll always have something to share with your visitors over the festive season.
So here it is, complete with old measurements (if necessary you’ll have to do the conversions):
8 oz butter
8 oz raisins
8 oz currants
8 oz sultanas
3 oz mixed peel
2 oz cherries
2 oz almonds
1 ½ cups plain flour
½ teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Rum and Stomp! Tawny
Soak fruit in ¾ cup Rum, ¼ cup Stomp! Tawny. Keep soaking for a couple of weeks (the longer the better).
Choose tin - suits 23cm deep, round or 20cm deep, square tin.
Line tin well with 3 – 4 layers of buttered brown paper.
In a mix master, cream butter and sugar.
Add eggs one at a time.
Add sifted dry ingredients in small amounts, alternating with soaked mixed fruit. For a spicier cake add more spice to taste.
Add cake to tin. Don’t panic, it will fill tin – fruitcakes don’t rise. Surface can be smoothed with a wet hand (best to do this if intend to cover with fondant).
Place in a cold oven and then turn oven on to moderate. Cook for 2 – 2 ½ hours or more depending on oven. If cake is over-browning cover top with foil or lower oven temperature by 10-20 degrees.
Fruitcake is cooked when inserted skewer comes out clean.
Once removed from oven cut paper off around edges of pan. Skewer quite a few holes through cake and liberally sprinkle with more Tawny and Rum mixture. I probably use about half a cup.
Then turn cake, in pan, top-side down onto foil; wrap cake and pan tightly with foil. Cover pan with a towel and cool completely upside down. This helps the top of cake sit flat and level, particularly helpful if you want to decorate.
Once cooled, cake may be kept in a container in refrigerator for many months.
So there it is, my Mum’s delicious, boozy Christmas cake! See, I will share some things. 😉
Amazing served after dinner with a wee Stomp! Tawny or Muscat.
Happy cooking, Merry Christmas and don’t forget to share your efforts on our socials @stompwines, #stompwines
Roses, and why they're at the end of vineyard rows.
There are two theories – first, and most popular. Roses and grapes share the same soil and sun requirements but roses are far more finicky. They are susceptible to similar pests and diseases of grapes, and they succumb to them earlier, giving the heads up to grape growers of what to treat and when.
A second theory is that the farming equipment used to be drawn by horses, and the thorns of the roses meant that the horses were less likely to cut the corners and damage the last vines and trellises.
These days we have science on our side. We have access to so much more information about how our vines are faring throughout the year that the roses are not necessary any more. But they are beautiful and worthy in their own right and sometimes it's nice to be a little traditional. And, as Michael won't let me bring the horses back, the roses will have to suffice.
Meredith’s Favourite Rose: Mr Lincoln - who can resist it's stunning perfume
Alyssa’s Favourite Rose: Double Delight - she loves it's fragrance and ability to last as a cut flower in a vase
Michael's Favourite Rose: Are you kidding me? Mind you, roses are better than Jonquils! Don't ever bring those into the house.
Chambourcin is one of the more recent French-American hybrids. It’s a popular contract winemaking grape varietal for our business, because it’s easy to grow in the Hunter. Pest resistant and disease resistant, it’s the perfect set-and-forget varietal for the backyard grower in our neighbourhood.
If you think you haven’t tasted it, you probably have. It’s one of those varietals, like Petit Verdot that up until recently hasn't had a huge amount of name recognition in its own right, most often being used in a blend. Chambourcin is a berry that has red skin and red flesh, so it has a gorgeous, appealing, bright cherry colour, and can add a touch of sweetness to another varietal, like shiraz.
We have recently released a festive Stomp Limited Release Sparkling Chambourcin. Our intention is that it will be a much-loved celebration wine for our members.
We’ve been tasting it in the cellar door with a beautiful Lindt dark chocolate covered blueberry (available from the supermarket), so we know it is a wonderful accompaniment for chocolate.
It’s also perfect for Christmas lunch with turkey and cranberry, or imagine a luscious birthday breakfast in bed, or intimate anniversary brunch with croissants and jam.
We’re really enjoying the Stomp! Limited Release Sparkling Chambourcin to celebrate the special events in our lives, and we hope you will too!
We're chuffed that James Halliday & his team have awarded Stomp! Wines a 5 black star rating.
The 5 black star rating is awarded to an
"Outstanding winery capable of producing wines of a very high quality, and did so this year. Also will usually have at least two wines rated at 95 points or above."
The following six wines are all rated over 90 points:
Stomp Limited Release 2017 Shiraz - 95
Stomp Limited Release 2014 Shiraz - 95 - Sold Out
Stomp 2017 Shiraz - 92
Stomp 2014 Shiraz - 92
Stomp Limited Release 2017 Sauvignon Blanc - 92
Stomp 2017 Verdelho - 91
Stomp Sparkling Verdelho - 91
This is testament to the quality of wines being produced by stomp! wine. Michael says "It's great to be acknowledged with the 5 star rating. It's a lot of work for a small brand like ours & recognition like this goes a long way"
Did you join us for our stomp! Fireside tasting? It was a perfect night to be rugged up, outdoors tasting wine, enjoying antipasto & toasting marshmallows.
Guests relaxed by the fire and strolled the grounds, the sunset was spectacular. Mark Henderson joined us playing acoustic guitar to add to the ambiance.
Michael talked everyone through the wines, explaining oak usage in the reds. He raided the wines still in barrel to show everyone how the upcoming 2018 & 2019 vintages were coming along, & spoiled everyone with a 2014 Shiraz.
The favourites for the night were the fortifieds, they just screamed winter’s evening and paired perfectly with the marshmallows.
Guests left relaxed, with a few bottles of wine in the boot to recreate the evening at home with friends.
I am often asked a certain question by the lovely customers who visit my cellar door. Something along the lines of: “Why do you have two wine labels? What’s the story behind them?”
Well I’m glad you asked …
Our two labels reflect a little of our personality, life story and ethos. Stomp, as in stomping on the grapes, reflects the fact that we are traditional winemakers using traditional methods and minimal interference. It reflects our passion to capture the unique flavours of our stomping ground by making wines with strong regional and varietal character – wines that speak of the vineyard from which they came. Stomping also denotes a purposeful act made with the foot and with a little ‘attitude’. This reflects a little of our essence and the way in which we are choosing to live our lives. Although Michael didn’t discover his passion to make wine until his early 30’s we decided not to die wondering what it would be like to be a winemaker. He threw in the safe, well paid corporate career and retrained and we moved to Broke to discover what makes his heart truly sing.
The Pssst ‘n’ Broke range of wines is for all those with a sense of fun. It’s a tongue-in-cheek reference to the ‘secret’ wine region of Broke Fordwich. Once discovered it’ll be a secret you can’t wait to share. Also, not being a fully trained winemaker, to me this brand is all about taking the mickey out of winemakers, particularly those who take themselves too seriously. We take making the best possible wine for ourselves and our contract clients deadly seriously… but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We know that in life you need to learn to laugh… ‘cause we all know sometimes if you don’t laugh you’ll cry!
So you can see at Stomp wines, we’re not afraid to be a little different… some would even say, at times, irreverent… but we‘re always authentic! We stick to our high ideals and passionately handcraft all our wines to capture the true essence of ourselves and our stomping ground.