What’s the worst a little sibling rivalry could bring? A few bruises, and a couple of stitches, are all the joys of brotherhood. Surrounded by the legacy of Barossa winemaking pioneers, one being their ‘Old Man’ David Wardlaw, for the boys, a life in the wine industry was inevitable.
Brothers at War came from humble beginnings. Commencing in 2013 with a tonne of Shiraz, the Brothers’ vision started as nothing more than a fun way for two boys in their twenties to occupy a weekend. In 2014, they added a parcel of Cabernet, and with that, their “Fist Fight” Shiraz and “I’m Always Right” Cabernet were born.
Picking up some other guys along the way, such as their grape grower Chris Alderton, the Brothers vision has organically grown into a shared passion to create world class wines from small parcels of exceptional fruit.
Now in their thirties, and as fathers themselves, the Brothers’ are taking themselves a little more seriously after a wealth of award-winning wines and accolades under their belt. Together, this group of family and friends, are continuing to stake their rightful claim in wine, while keeping a family tradition alive (not without a few fist fights here and there).
Born into a winemaking family as the youngest son of a Barossa winemaking pioneer, it is arguable whether nature or nurture played the stronger part in what inspired Angus’s love for wine.
Determined to imprint his own mark on the industry, Angus started his journey bright-eyes and bushy-tailed at 18-years-old with a vintage at Dorrien Estate. Four-years later, he relocated to the Clare Valley with an ambitious winemaking position at Kirrihill.
In his spare time, Angus dabbled with small parcels of fruit from the Barossa and Eden Valley, with the vision of Brothers at War coming into focus. Fast forward 10-years, and Brothers at War is now a successful breakthrough brand, recognised by James Halliday as a five-star winery.
With an illustrious collection of accolades already under his sleeve such as ‘Up and Coming Riesling Winemaker’, at the International Riesling Challenge, and ‘Best Small Producer’ at Barossa Valley Wine Show, Angus’s achievements demonstrate that his determined nature has enshrined himself as a new generation of Barossa Valley greats.
Now, Angus spends his time juggling life as a winemaker, partner to Alexandra, and father to his son George. The nature versus nurture debate continues, and the question of whether the winemaking baton will be passed to the third generation of Wardlaw boys is yet to be answered. Watch this space.
The eldest of the Brothers, Sam’s passion for the wine industry started when he accompanied the ‘Old Man’ at Premium Wine Bottlers during his high school years, learning the production side of the industry.
Sam’s first vintage beckoned in 2009 at Murray Street Vineyards, where he spent the next six-years learning about the winemaking process. The Brothers’ paths later crossed in the workplace while both boys had positions at Kirrihill, which led to sharing three vintages in the Clare Valley together.
It was during this position at Kirrihill that Sam met his wife Alexandra, a French winemaker from Champagne. Now, the Brothers’ love of wine is not the only similarity they share, as they both have their respective Alexandra’s, adding confusion to family get-togethers.
Continuing to reside in the Clare Valley, Sam and Alexandra now balance their lives in the wine industry while also being new parents to their son Oliver. With Angus’s son George and Sam’s son Oliver born only three months apart, it seems inevitable a third generation of Wardlaw boys will cement their place in the winemaking game.
Having grown up on a family vineyard in Sunraysia, Chris gained an appreciation for balancing production and fruit quality. During university holidays, Chris worked vintages for some of the biggest wineries in Sunraysia, with roles including grower liaison, cellar hand, and assisting in the laboratory.
Chris’s passion for viticulture led him to undertake formal studies in Environmental Science. Added to a long history of practical viticulture experience, Chris’s formal studies only strengthened his understanding of soils and water management.
Chris supplied his first tonne of fruit to Brothers at War and has continued to supply quality fruit ever since.
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