The ochota barrels tale began on a surf trip, late 2000 along the Mexican west coast in a Volkswagen campervan. A final destination after traveling some of the world’s most amazing wine and surf regions, Taras and Amber Ochota conceived the idea to make beautiful holistic wines back home in South Australia.
After a mis-spent youth playing a rickenbakker bass in various punk bands (listen to Kranktus’ Heckler album), Taras became an Oenology graduate from Adelaide University, developing his craft in numerous vineyards and cellars around the world to then settle with Amber on 9.6 steep gorgeous acres tucked away, deep in the Basket Range of the beautiful Adelaide Hills.
Before this Taras worked as the European Flying Winemaker Consultant, concentrating on the Italian regions, Puglia, Abruzzo Sicily and further, for the Swedish wine importing company Oenoforos.
California was also a regular vintage destination, making wines with producers such as Kunin, Bonnacorsi, Arcadian, Schrader, Outpost and the famous Hitching Post’s label, Hartley-Ostini, from the movie ‘Sideways’.
Amber’s wine experience ranges from vintages in Italy, vineyard development and cellar door sales in the Adelaide Hills and coordinating production and wine analysis for Nordic Sea Winery in southern Sweden.
Pastis and Lucano…..
but mainly Calvados was the medium used in creating our Ochota Barrels logo.
the design was to infer a labyrinth of flavour, texture and emotion
which are three components we try to emulate in our wine.
Ochota (our surname)
translated means ‘desire’ or ‘to hunt’…..
depending on which one of us you talk to.
The Barrels bit…..
basically everything we are about.
And if by chance you surf…..
you would understand what a great barrel is.
In the past 22 years, I have worked in many parts of the world with many great winemakers (and of course lovely people) who have in some way influenced our wine style.
Whether it be the suave chain smoking white suited Italian, the obsessive compulsive tech-savvy Australian, the sex mad country and western listening Californian, or the French oenologist who thought that bright green three-quarter pants, a pink collar up shirt with a lemon vest was ‘très à la mode’ to see punk band, The Dead Kennedy’s.
These are just a few of the equally appreciated, super creative, (sometimes bordering on psychotic) grape growing and winemaking lunatics that have shared their knowledge, wines, experience, heritage, houses, couches, tractors, cars, wineries, equipment and often many a cocktail from the esky. It is from this smorgasbord of collective experience that we have picked the eyes out to craft the ochota barrels wines.
A holistic approach from autumn to autumn in the vineyard, with the philosophy of going back to basics to create something delicious and unique with mother nature.
We are strongly drawn to and influenced by the small biodynamic producers we came across in the south of France. Organically farmed vineyards planted to earth that is alive, lo-fi technique and picking decisions made purely on natural acidity which hopefully contribute to a wine’s energy and nervous tension.
Texture is an important focus, manipulating mouth-feel with limited or extended time on skins including batonnage. Beautifully sculptured old bush vines with low yields and small berries, picked basically when you can’t stop eating them because they taste so delicious. There are no instruments on those sunrise vineyard walks, and if the stalks are piquant, whole bunches are included in our half tonne ferments. Controlled pigeage and hand cap-submersion retains purity of fruit, whereby the wild indigenous and spontaneous fermentation enhances complexity and artisan charm. However, an Occam’s Razor approach is still taken, as the expression of the vineyard is paramount. This is the reason we aim to make wines with attention to detail that are real and pure.
We are finding that those pretty nuances you experience directly from a fresh barrel siphon in our mid hills foggy winter are extraordinary… so we have been experimenting with much lower sulphur levels to find the perfect medium to suit each cuvee… so… stay tuned our beautiful wine loving friends.
Basically, we just want to produce something delicious and gorgeous for all of us to enjoy with none of the nasties and more of the love. xx
Winemaker of the Year Finalist- Gourmet Wine Traveller
“Taras Ochota, through his creativity, resourcefulness and imagination, has loaded his barrels and fired a massive shot across the bows of the Australian wine industry.” By Andrew Caillard MW
“Ochota Barrels wines are of high quality and brash personality but perhaps the greatest measure of Ochota’s success is how he has broached the conversation about natural wine and given a new currency to Australia’s wine image.” By Mike Bennie
Listed in the Top 100 Wineries in the world – Wine and Spirits Magazine USA
The Fugazi Vineyard was also the highest scoring grenache in the world for 2016
“Taras Ochota searches out exceptional old- vine sites in South Australia, turning out some of the freshest and most exciting Aussie grenache and syrah we tasted this year.”
Young Gun of Wine Winner
Best New Australian Winery – Sydney Morning Herald/ Melbourne Age Good Wine Guide
“Taras Ochota has shown an amazing ability to learn and observe, then create and interpret opportunities to buy quality parcels of grapes, and to conceive and craft great wine with a unique flair and innate intuitive gift. It is a rare talent and the wines he makes are as inspiring as they are impressive.” By Nick Stock.
Other Recent Reviews…
The Ochota Barrels Winery
c/o Basket Range Post Office
South Australia 5138