Brand's Laira is synonymous with words like heritage, excellence and history. To understand how this winery has established such a reputation, one must look to its past.
In 1893, a retired sea captain named Stentiford purchased a plot of land in Coonawarra. Naming it after his much-loved ship, Laira, Stentiford planted the land to Shiraz vines. Eric Brand, the first Patron of Coonawarra, became the custodian of the vineyard more than half a century later, continuing the tradition of creating exceptional quality wines.
The winery's landholdings have now grown to cover almost 300 hectares and fruit for Stentiford's Old Vines Shiraz is still sourced from the original vines planted by Captain Stentiford in 1893. With an impressive show awards history, Brand's Laira Coonawarra remains a steady and powerful beat in South Australia's heartland.
The wines in the Brand's Laira Coonawarra Foundation Range: Chardonnay, Cabernet Merlot and Shiraz aptly represent the foundation on which Brand's Laira winemaking was originally established.
Drawing fruit from vineyard blocks including one which houses the original 1893 vines, the Foundation Range of wines are intensely varietal and display that distinctive style for which Coonawarra is known worldwide. Available all year round, the Foundation Range offers consumers great quality wines to enjoy every day.
The wines in the Brand's Laira Hero Range are available in limited quantities each year. They are widely sought after for their synergistic blend of rich, powerful Coonawarra fruit and elegant, expressive winemaking. The wines in the Hero Range are aged wines that present further cellaring potential.
Captain Stentiford, the original custodian of the Laira vineyard, sold his grapes to another pioneer of Coonawarra's wine industry, John Riddoch. Yet it wasn't until the 1950s and 1960s, that landholders who sold their grapes onto larger wineries were given the title of ‘Blockers'. Eric Brand, the founder of Brand's Laira winemaking, was also a ‘Blocker' during this time. Brand's Laira Blockers Cabernet Sauvignon is named in his honour.
With almost 300 hectares under vine, Brand's Laira is one of Coonawarra's largest landholders. Amongst these hectares of vines lie two rows of Merlot, the first ever to be planted in Coonawarra.
From these original plantings, Brand's Laira established all of its Merlot vineyards and indeed, most of Coonawarra's Merlot can be traced to these first two rows.
Fruit for the Brand's Laira Two Row Merlot is sourced from almost 30 year old Merlot vines, situated in the winery's Old Merlot Block. The low yielding vines means that only limited quantities of this unique wine are available each year.
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