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Meet the 23yo who stole the McLaren Vale Wine Show

March 3, 2022

Even Charlie O’Brien was surprised by how many trophies he won.

At the recent 2021 McLaren Vale Wine Show, this young winemaking star scored an astonishing four of the major awards on offer, taking home the most coveted Trophies in the Vale, including Best Single Vineyard Red Wine, Best Grenache and Best Small Producer of Show.

Not bad for someone who started making wines in 2015 while he was still at school!

But Charlie isn’t some child prodigy. One of the 50 finalists in the Young Gun of Wine for 2021, Charlie is the son of renowned locals Kevin & Helen O’Brien (of Kangarilla Road) and grew up among the vines, spending his childhood helping out in the winery, greeting guests at the cellar door and sharing the vineyard rows with the resident mob of kangaroos.

Wine and winemaking is in his blood. Yet as this Winetitles article details, Charlie is determined to make his own path, embracing a style apart from the traditional Vale norm.

“The wines that other winemakers, as well as my parents, would bring to parties normally revolved around Burgundy and lighter European wines with the occasional Aussie wine thrown in there,” he said.

“This all affected my style of winemaking and gave me inspiration for some of my wines”.

With fruit from his parent’s vineyards and renowned growers like Ashley Ratcliff of Ricca Terra in the Riverland, Charlie’s wines are proudly modern in their outlook, with textural whites and vivacious reds as standard fare.

The future of wine looks pretty bright with winemakers like Charlie around.

Image: Silent Noise fb.