Our Stories

Sita Grenache Bunches Large

Why Grenache?

There are a few good reasons for making Grenache at Faber. Grenache makes an “old fashioned“ style of wine. Since the eighties, Australians have enjoyed big dark bold full-bodied red wines. Lighter coloured, more gentle red wines have not been considered serious red wines and we’ve forgotten about them. But slowly we have started to…

Faber Vineyard Bunch of Grapes

Back to Nature

There is a lot of interest in organic and preservative free produce.  Unfortunately there is also a lot of confusion about what these terms mean in practice.  What most people really want is produce that is healthy, and not tainted with toxins or undesirable chemicals. Organic compounds are those found naturally – dug up, drained,…

Close up shot of red grapes

Good grapes make good wine

We see a lot written about the mystery of wine quality or the “art” of winemaking. Well, we can state that without good grapes no winemaker stands a chance. In fact we believe that the quality potential of our wines start at 100 per cent when the fruit is picked and we aim to make…

Cleaning up after winemaking

Winemaking – Art, Science, Magic or Technology?

We recently received a new publication “Advances in Wine Science” – celebrating 50 years of the Australian Wine Research Institute. The book reviews current knowledge of chemicals contributing to wine aroma, the nature of tannins, role of yeast and bacteria in modulating wine flavour, olfaction and taste, cork taint, and effect of wine on health,…

Premium wines with a vineyard backdrop

The Wine Show Dilemma

Wine shows have become ubiquitous in Australia. It seems there are more awards than wines! The wine shows started out as a section in the agricultural shows – just like the cattle, cake baking, spun yarn, and poultry. The purpose of the shows was to promote improvement in all forms of agricultural endeavour, with the…

Reserve shiraz bottle sitting on a table with native bush in the background

Why Reserve Shiraz?

Reserve has many meanings. We like “something reserved for future or special use…” Our Reserve Shiraz is our best wine, the best fraction from the best ferment from the best fruit – from our vineyard. For us, shiraz is the holy grail of Swan Valley winemaking. It is the ultimate application of winemaking craft to…

Swan-Valley-vineyard-in-summer-looking-out-to-the-hills

The Swan Valley

The Swan Valley has historically been a source of sustenance. The Swan Valley was a bountiful location for the aboriginal tribes of the coastal plain prior to the British colonisation. The British expedition of 1827 recognised the Swan Valley as having superior soils and a general abundance of freshwater, with the advantage of an open…

John Vintage Tour Fermenter Square

How we started

Faber Vineyard was established in 1997 by John Griffiths and his wife Jane Micallef. Faber is the Latin word for craft. We chose the name Faber because we believe winemaking is a craft, a skill learnt but never perfected. Our dream is to grow regional distinctive grapes and craft wines that are rich and flavoursome and complement…

Faber Label Graphic Full Colour

The Faber Chronology

  May 1997 Purchased 15 acre property, Baskerville Swan Valley September 1998 Planted 2 acres shiraz, 1 acre chardonnay September 1999 Planted 1 acre verdelho, 1 acre cabernet sauvignon February 2000 Harvested first fruit – 1 tonne shiraz September 2000 Planted 1 acre brown muscat, 1 acre petit verdot January 2001 First release 2000 Swan…

Wine bottles in rack dusty and old

Cellaring Wines

We get many questions about cellaring wines.  Let’s face it, we would all love to drag our mates downstairs into the cellar, light the candles, and sweeping through the cobwebs pull up in front of the row of dusty boxes of sixties Grange, eighties Bordeaux, and off to the side a neat collection of specialty…

Blanc de Blanc Pour

So how do we make our Chardonnay Blanc de Blanc?

Our inspiration for this wine comes from Swan Valley legend Dorham Mann. Dorham makes a bone dry sparkling white wine from Cabernet Sauvignon. The naturally low acidity of Swan Valley grapes allows us to make a wine from early picked grapes that don’t need sugar sweetness to balance what would be a very high acidity…

Vintage-Red-Fermenter-and-Picking-Crate-Square

Sack cloth and Ashes and Great Wine

It is an almost universally held belief in the wine industry that quality and quantity are related. Great wines can only be produced from vineyards yielding low quantities of fruit, and conversely high yielding vineyards would produce low quality grapes. There is ample empirical evidence to suggest such a relationship is true, with most of…

Verandah Tasting Square

Do you want service or to be serviced?

At Faber we seemed to have spent the last few months battling with a range of corporations and bureaucracies.  It’s not that we particularly want to, but these monoliths can be difficult to avoid – the banks, the shire, Telstra, Australia Post, Qantas, the tax office, any number of government departments. But our worst experience…

People eating and drinking at long wooden table

How to Enjoy Wine

Let’s be clear. Wine is to be enjoyed. Otherwise, what’s the point?   If so, how can wine be enjoyable? First and foremost, it should taste good. Wine should be delicious such that when you sip it the taste should bring a smile to your face. It should be pleasant, it should be noticeable in…

Bottle of Swan Valley Verdelho on a table

In defence of Verdelho

In the recent The Age guide to Summer Drinking the authors recommended avoiding any white grape starting with a “v”. This sort of smart Alec nonsense really was disappointing. Frankly these wine writers don’t deserve the title because they clearly haven’t made any effort to investigate the merit of at least one of the “v”s…

Wine barrel

No Wood No Good

The use of oak in winemaking is a tradition, as the most successful means of storage and transport, and to influence the taste of the wine. It is the later role that modern winemakers incorporate into the craft of winemaking. Coopering is described by Kilby in “The Cooper and His Trade” as an ancient trade.…

The winemaking process

Handmade Wines

We like to describe our wines as handmade. Hand crafted. As the name Faber suggests – the work of a skilled tradesman. But what does this mean, this term that is so often hackneyed and abused? For us it can be interpreted literally. We planted our vines by hand, trained them, prune them, and pick…

Looking down the faber vineyard

Swan Valley – What is it Good For?

The Swan Valley is one of Australia’s oldest wine growing regions. It has a strong tradition of fortified winemaking, with the star attractions being its liqueur style wines using muscat, verdelho, and pedro ximenes. These wines bear a lot of resemblance to the wonderful muscats and tokays of Rutherglen. We still have quite a few…

winemaker-pumping-over-red-wine-filling-a-sample-jug

Malbec, a Household Name

A once alternate variety that has well and truly established itself as mainstream with Australian drinkers. It seems these days, that every wine list in every restaurant and bar has at least one bottle of Malbec and often, it’s offered by the glass too.  So yes, a household name perhaps, but what makes it a…

The process of making wine with equipment

John – What’s so good about being a Winemaker?

I first became interested in studying “Wine Science” when I was about 15. Attending a typical Christian Brothers school it was clear that the point of your education was to accumulate maximum marks to get accepted into the university course offering the best career prospects. Unfortunately I didn’t have any commercial instincts and I was…

Crate of Muscat grapes in a vineyard at sunset

Vintage, What is it?

Vintage / Harvest Vintage is a marvellous time for winemakers – the opportunity to craft new wines from scratch. A winemaker is measured by their wines so vintage is critical to achieving their ambitions. A lot of work occurs before vintage begins – growing and selecting fruit, planning the logistics, preparing the winery. Finishing off,…

Winemaker-Shoveling-grape-skins-onto-truck

How do you make wine?

When John went to Roseworthy Ag College to study oenology in the early eighties the very learned professor had students draw flow diagrams in blue and red ink for white and red grapes. The grapes flowed from the crusher to the press then fermenter and so on. This gave our callow youth an understanding of…

Faber Vineyard front estate sign

What’s In a Name?

Starting a new business is a bit like having a new baby – full of hope and promise. And at the birth a name is chosen that you trust is inspirational, meaningful, and will influence people’s perception of its recipient. The reason we started our wine business was because of our ability and experience in…