There’s your typical Margaret River wine. It’s usually a Chardonnay or a Cab Sav made in the traditional method, blended and fined. But then there’s Si Vintners, a couple (both in life and in wine), who very much like Dormilona is trailblazing a new variety of winemaking. There wines are exciting, natural leaning drops that pack a punch and tell the story of the terroir with utmost precision.
Si Vintners is couple, Sarah Morris (the S) and Iwo Jakimowicz (the I), both first generation grower’s and winemakers that are very well-rehearsed in viticulture. Iwo was born in Poland and moved to Perth aged 8. Straight out of high school he pursued his dream of becoming a wine maker and went to study viticulture and oenology at Curtin University (a degree he chose as it involved living in Margaret River, a sleepy town that Iwo had taken a liking to due to its surf culture and laidback lifestyle). It was at Curtin University that Iwo met Sarah, and the seeds of Si Vintners were beginning to be sewed.
Taking his second year off his studies to get some real-life work experience, Iwo worked at Red Hill Estate in Mornington, Victoria, and has worked two vintages a year ever since – usually one in Australia and one in the Northern Hemisphere. Sarah, similarly, has an impressive list of varied, global vineyards she has worked for including in Portugal, France and Catalonia. In fact, it was Sarah who brought Iwo over to Spain to a fill a vacancy at a vineyard, and it was from here their love affair begun. It was also in Spain where they were exposed to some of the older styles of winemaking, where they learnt the certain methodologies they would bring to Si Vintners in the future and earnt them the title of Young Gun of Wine in 2013.
Si Vintners itself was born as concept in 2006, with the first wine being made in a friend’s shearing shed. In 2010, Sarah and Iwo purchased a 30-acre estate originally planted in 1978 in the cute little town of Rosa Glen, Margaret River. Then, in 2011 they acquired some plots of vines in a village in Acered in Aragon, Spain. The couple fly back and forth each year to produce their global harvest, owning now 5 hectares of ancient vines spread across seven sites in total.
For both Iwo and Sarah, a great wine begins in the vineyard, and they tend to their growing grapes lovingly by hand. Sarah maintains “our priority was to respect the land” and from day one “not a single chemical has been used anywhere.” In the Margaret River site where Si Vintners wine is produced, the couple implemented organic practices and transitioned to biodynamics, very much driven by the key principle of natural wine makers “nothing added, nothing taken away.” What sets Si Vintners apart however is that the couple is continually inspired by their globe-trotting adventures, more than the wine movement that was burgeoning in Margaret River at the time.
Seeing how Margaret River wine practices were being taken over by analytical, empirical methodologies, Iwo and Sarah gracefully rejected these procedures for their own intuition. The couple describes their methods as “feeling our way to taste and flavour.” In this way, the Si Vintners couple work with the region’s classic varieties – Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc – and aim to capture the terroir in an avant-garde fashion. The purity of fruit and inherent balance to these wines is owed to the small batch production, with everything produced with exquisite precision according to the couple’s desires. No fining or filtration results in a depth of colour and exciting complexity that just keeps on giving.
For an absolute delight, pick up a bottle of the Si Vintners Sophie Rosé 2018 made of 35-year-old Pinot Noir grapes. The gorgeous colour will get you all hot and bothered, and the bouquet delivers an exciting tension which is realised in the flavours, all cherry and summertime glee. An absolute gem of the Si Vintners library, leading the way for a fabulous set of wines by a fabulous couple which truly capture the ‘do your own thing’ adage perfectly.
Article by: Ceren Guler