The Barry family hosted an intimate lunch in their famous Armagh Vineyard to celebrate 25 years since the first vintage of their acclaimed ‘The McRae Wood’ Shiraz on Wednesday the 14th of June.
Aptly named ‘McRae Day’, the family entertained 40 key members of the Adelaide wine trade to honour this milestone. Managing Director, Peter Barry, said it was a pleasure to welcome the group, who are all wonderful supporters of the winery, to the Clare Valley.
The origins of ‘The McRae Wood’ are closely linked to the family’s flagship Shiraz, ‘The Armagh’. Following its creation in 1985 and subsequent success, the winery was unable to meet demand for ‘The Armagh’. Unwilling to compromise on quality to meet this need, Peter and his brothers decided to create a new wine in 1992, utilising fruit that was downgraded from the Armagh vineyard as well as superior parcels from the family’s other vineyards around the Clare Valley.
“We had some wonderful material that wasn’t quite up to standard for ‘The Armagh’, but was certainly something special,” said Peter.
‘The McRae Wood’, has always exhibited the same richness and intensity as ‘The Armagh’ and was considered quite a modern, innovative style in 1992. It quickly found a home in some of the world’s most prestigious Michelin-Star restaurants, including ‘The Fat Duck’ and has achieved international success, including the trophy for the ‘Best International Shiraz’ at the 2006 International Wine Challenge in London. Today, the wine represents the concentration and elegance of Clare Valley Shiraz.
The name ‘McRae Wood’ comes from the gentleman land owner, Duncan McRae Wood, who sold Jim Barry 70 acres of land in the Armagh Valley in 1964. “Dad planted his first vineyard on the site in 1968, establishing the Armagh Vineyard. This was a special milestone in our family’s winemaking history. We wanted to honour a man who had been an instrumental part of the Jim Barry Wines story,” said Peter.
“Duncan McRae Wood was a local farmer, adventurer and animal whisperer. He was a wonderful man, who entertained my father with stories of his travels across Australia on dusty outback roads in his 1930 Dodge,” said Peter.
Guests at the lunch had the opportunity to take a ride around the vineyard in Duncan’s original Dodge, which the family purchased in 2001 and holds an important place in the winery museum. They also enjoyed a back vintage tasting of McRae Wood, including the 1992 vintage, which Jim Barry himself had a hand in crafting at the age of 67.