It all started in London: Stephanie Toole’s first time living away from her family in New Zealand. She worked by day, took in West End shows and sought out fine European wine at night. From there Toole moved to Perth, her social life revolving around wine.
Wine then became the focus of Toole’s work. Managing a fine wine store led to wine distribution and starting her own wine business.
In 1992 Toole moved to South Australia (a not entirely wine-related decision!) and, within months, had purchased a tiny winery operation. Originally with real ‘cottage industry’ feel, Mount Horrocks Wines in the Clare Valley has remained tiny in production yet bold in its approach.
Over the past 30 years – and under Toole’s direction – Mount Horrocks has moved from purchasing all grapes to harvesting from its own vineyards, becoming 100 per cent estate grown and gaining ACO organic and biodynamic certification for all wine production.
With vineyards hand-tended, all fruit carefully hand-picked and winemaking hands-on, Toole avoids the need for wine finings, meaning the wines are also vegan and vegetarian friendly.
This approach has not just been taken to meet the growing awareness of environment and our impact on it. Instead it been driven by Toole’s passion to produce sublime, lingering, delicious wines.
Mount Horrocks wines are beautiful expressions of variety and place. They are, of course, unique. Typical of so many Australians, Toole started life somewhere else, was inspired by the produce of other countries, but now makes wines she believes are a worthy and true expressions of the place she lives.