The rise of the small maker

The rise of the small maker

A ‘small’ revolution is taking place in the nooks, forests, fields and gullies of the Adelaide Hills.

Collectively known as the Maker Movement, a new generation of artisans – from winemakers and furniture designers, to craft beer brewers and gin distillers – are forging their futures and names through small batch craft.

And it seems small really is best when it comes to exquisitely crafted, intelligent and thoughtful products.

Brendan Carter, chief thinker, winemaker, distiller and director of Ochre Nation, is typical of the hipster talent that is sprouting up across the Hills.

Under the wine labels Unico Zelo and Harvest, and the spirits of Applewood Distillery, Brendan and Laura Carter produce a range of wines, aperitifs and spirits with lusciously evocative names including Espressocello, Australian Økar Amaro aperitif, Applewood Gin, Berry Blossom dolcetto/caberet sauvignon, Cherry Fields dolcetto and Truffle Hound barbera/nebbiolo.

Brendan said the Adelaide Hills region was the perfect proving ground for new ideas – especially those that are agricultural in nature, such as wineries and distilleries.

“We started in Lobethal in 2012 and have grown immensely since then, moving to Gumeracha in 2013 to be closer to the agricultural heart of the Hills. The Adelaide Hills represents an incredible proximity to naturally grown produce and ready acceptance of more creative businesses,” he said.

“Being a winery and distillery that challenges the ideals surrounding wine, what varieties it’s crafted from, and how it’s made – we were searching for a comfortable environment to explore and test various ideas.”

Brendan said the Adelaide Hills environment allowed for a strong growth of creative and ‘craft’ enterprise where value was placed on the quality of produce and the story that is brought through the handcrafted process.

“It’s our contention to showcase products to the rest of the world that embrace Australian native ingredients and pay homage to the custodianship of the indigenous people who maintained the land for thousands of years.”

Young winemaker Sacha La Forgia of Adelaide Hills Distillery was travelling the world working wine vintages and exploring the world of distilling when he was inspired by a mentor he affectionately dubs ‘The Italian’ to open his own distillery in Adelaide.

Handcrafting a copper still from the ground up, Sacha opened his Adelaide Hills Distillery in 2014. A year later, his trademark 78° Gin followed.

“I saw the briefest window for creating a small batch gin here in Adelaide – so I had to move fast,” Sacha said.

In 2016, Sacha teamed up with Steve Dorman and Toby Kline of The Hills Cider Company and today the Adelaide Hills Distillery offers an exciting range of small batch spirit varieties with a distinctly Australian twist… think Native Grain Project wattleseed and malt whisky; Gunnery Australian spiced white rum; The Italian bitter orange aperitif; and Left of Centre virgin apple spirit.

For more information visit their websites:

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