Every day the Wirra Wirra tribe pass by a large slate installation as they enter the winery. On it is inscribed Greg Trott’s philosophy on life, which is the mantra that we aspire to as we go about our daily tasks. Never give misery an even break, nor bad wine a second sip. You must be serious about quality, dedicated to your task in life, especially wine making, but this should all be fun. Perched atop our winery in a modest belltower sits a 3/4 tonne bell that we ring either on occasion or randomly; securing our grounds is a boundary fence known as ‘Woodhenge’ made from massive threaded red gum trunks; and a man in a bowler hat and suit ‘lives’ in a red row boat in our vineyards. When you speak with Smithy, Tom and Kelly about their wine making philosophy, there is a continuing theme of ‘letting the fruit shine’. They want our wines to look bright and lively in the glass and reflect the site or vineyard that spawned them. The fruit source is paramount, whether it is from the old vines on our estate, or from our loyal band of growers across McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills. That’s why Smithy spends so much time in the vineyards. At the height of vintage, he is out and about all day walking between the rows, tasting fruit and talking with growers to time the harvest to the minute. When the fruit is in, wines such as The 12th Man Chardonnay give the team a chance to flex their wine making muscle, while others like The Lost Watch Riesling will be best left to their own devices. The only certainty is that when it comes to Church Block, everyone feels the weight of expectation to “get it right”*.