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The Winemaker - Andrew Millis

Andrew Millis has a penchant for doing things his way. At the age of 23 he started his own business in Melbourne's Flinders Lane textile precinct. Twenty-five years later he changed his metropolitan lifestyle and headed straight to Heathcote to produce a special wine.

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His 41 hectare property where Barnadown Run Wines are grown and made, is on the Mount Camel range 4kms east of Toolleen and approximately 20kms north of Heathcote.

The rich red earth of Cambrian Clay Loam (Terra Rossa) is Australia's oldest soil. It has good drainage properties whilst at the same time offering excellent moisture retention, which maximises dryland vine establishment. The climate of this region is one January degree cooler than the surrounding regions of Bendigo and Goulburn Valley, and two January degrees warmer than Macedon Ranges. With low rainfall it is dryer than each of these regions.

Andrew's skills in winemaking were taught to him by Wild Duck Creek's David Anderson, and it was David's wines, which attracted him to Heathcote.

All the fruit crushed at Barnadown Run comes from dryland non-irrigated vineyards. Traditional winemaking techniques apply with fermentation made in open stainless steel fermenters, cooled to 23oC, hand plunged every four hours and maturated in skins for maximum extraction of colour and fruit tannins.

Many small ferments add to the complexity and all the fruit is hand picked. Of the 30 tonnes crushed in their 2001 vintage, there were twenty-eight ferments. The wines are racked several times and all wines are unfiltered.

Mostly French Oak barriques are used in the storage and maturation process, and about a third of the oak is new.

The wines that are produced are big and intense, they are deep in colour, powerful in the bouquet, and their palate provides dense ripe fruit flavours of plums and prunes.

The Flagship Wine of Barnadown Run is their "Henry Bennett's Voluptuary". This extraordinary wine is made from late picked fruit combined with pressings, and is maturated in New French Oak (Nevers and Aliers). It is a luscious wine of big proportions and complexity, and its length of palate and natural fruit acidity will ensure it the icon status it deserves.

Along with their Shiraz, Cabernet and Merlot, the ethic behind the wines of Barnadown Run is passion. Second best is not in their vocabulary.