Exclusive/small production winery mailing lists

There are a few wineries in Australia that have "to die for" mailing lists, giving their subscribers access to the finest wines in the country at better than retail prices.  Forgive this slightly rambling piece, but here are a few mailing lists that come to mind:

1. Rockford, Barossa Valley.  Rockford's mailing list is divided neatly into two - "stonewallers" and non-stonewallers.  If you are a "stonewaller", you can buy an allocation of Rockford's Basket Press shiraz and their sparkling black shiraz at heavily discounted prices, earn the praise of many and dine at the winery from time to time.  Non stonewallers have access to Rockford's other releases.  Eligibility would appear to depend on purchasing loyalty over time.

2. Mount Mary, Yarra Valley.  It appears relatively easy to join Mount Mary's mailing list by sending them an email.  As a mailing list member, you immediately have access to all of their wines, at perhaps a slight discount to retail.  Mount Mary's newsletter is a very interesting read: a combination of science, history and story telling.

3. Clonakilla, Canberra.  Clonakilla's mailing list is able to be joined via their website.  As a mailing list member, you have immediate access to all of Clonakilla's wines (including their shiraz viognier) and updates.  The wines however are similarly priced to retail.  I have heard that Clonakilla more recently had been considering restricting access to their shiraz viognier, a la Rockford, but I am not aware of whether that has come to fruition.

4. Wendouree, Clare Valley.  Wendouree is one of Australia's greatest producers.  There is no website or cellar door.  If you write a letter to them, you may be able to join their mailing list in due course.  From there, there is a colour coded allocation system based on purchasing loyalty over time.

5. Bass Phillip, Gippsland.  I met Phillip Jones holding court at the Langtons Classification tasting in 2010 in Melbourne.  His pinot noir is the best in Australia in my humble view.  Bass Phillip now has a website with most of their wines available.

6. Wantirna Estate, Yarra Valley.  Wantirna Estate is located in the suburbs of Melbourne, and produce tiny quantities of wine.  Joining their mailing list is easy though.  That said, tiny production quantities mean that access to their wines (particularly the hard to find "Hannah" cabernet franc merlot (a rare St Emilion blend in Australia) - only one barrel is made) is a challenge.

Other interesting mailing lists include Giaconda, Bindi, Chris Ringland and Henschke.  I would very much appreciate any comments.

Note: This article was updated in 2014.

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8 comments:

  1. Re. Rockford, you don't get on their mailing list until you order something (at least that was what I was told when I asked) and at some point your purchases are going to be enough to have you upgraded to Stonewaller status. I suspect there may be a waiting list and some sort of pecking order involved (i.e. your position on the waiting list is determined by how much you buy rather than when you started)....

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  2. With regards to Rockford, it took me 3 years of buying a dozen each year to be upgraded to Stonewaller status. This was 4years ago. I have been to the winery several times since and am even flying down this year for the Black Magnum golf competition. The Stonewaller experience at the winery is fantastic. Rockford can be a bit funny at the cellar door, but as soon as you identify yourself as a SW you get taken to another room and the tasting is a he'll of a lot better.

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  3. Clonakilla have indeed started a separate mailing list a la Rockofrd, called "insiders". I havent really discerned how it works, but have had no trouble getting the small amounts of Shiraz Viognier and other special bits over the last year or so,

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  4. Stonewallers dont get heavily discounted prices just a better place to try the wines and an earlier chance to purchase them over cellar door buyers. I went for a Stonewallers a year or so ago, unreal experience to say the least. I buy every year my entitlement of Basket Press and Black Shiraz.

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  5. sorry that was meant to be Stonewallers lunch above.

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  6. Hi,

    A couple of others to add to your list:

    Yarra Yering: has just established a "closed" mailing list (with medallion / member number etc). However, I suspect if you like the wines, and contact them, you will soon be added.

    Head wines: I know you may not know this tiny producer, but his wines are brilliant, and sell out very fast. Mailing list gives you access to the new releases.

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