by Thomas Wines
Thomas Wines is the only winery focusing entirely on the Hunter Valley’s signature varietals: Semillon and Shiraz. Andrew ‘Thommo’ Thomas, is a renowned Australian winemaker, internationally acclaimed for his expressive, single vineyard wines.
Andrew grew up in South Australia’s McLaren Vale. Born into a winemaking family, he drew his first inspiration from his father Wayne Thomas, who had a distinguished career in winemaking. After graduating with a degree in Oenology at the famous Roseworthy Agricultural College, and despite being groomed for a winemaking career in South Australia, he began his winemaking journey at Tyrrell’s Vineyards in the Hunter Valley. During 13 years guidance under the legendary Murray Tyrrell at Tyrrell’s Wines, he gained a deep respect, and driving passion of the two signature varieties of the region – semillon and shiraz.
His thirst for more knowledge and winemaking experience was quenched with vintages in Sonoma, Tuscany, Piedmont and Provence; but the desire to make world class wines under his own label could no longer be denied and Thomas Wines was established in 1997 with a clear and focused objective to specialise in single vineyard Hunter Valley semillon and shiraz.
Over the years Thommo has formed close and collaborative alliances with an impressive list of local growers. These growers own and operate arguably some of the Hunter Valley’s most distinguished sites, producing world class, uniquely regional styles. Each wine is destined to showcase its unique vineyard signature and express a real sense of place.
In 2017, Andrew Thomas bought the Braemore vineyard from Ken and Christine Bray. A decision he says he does not take lightly; “Taking on ownership of Braemore does give me a warm and fuzzy feeling,” says Thomas, “it’s arguably one of the iconic sites in the Hunter. Plus, it’s good to have skin in the game, it gives me fruit security, and shows that I’m pretty serious about what I’m doing here.”
Planted 50 years ago this year, on ancient sandy loam soils, Braemore is considered to be one of the Hunter Valley’s best vineyards for semillon. Part of a strip of outstanding vineyard sites that is often referred to as the ‘Dress Circle’, which includes Tyrrell’s H.V.D., Trevena, Casuarina, and Keith Tulloch’s Field of Mars, it’s fruit has been used for some of the Australia’s finest and most age-worthy white wines since the early 1970s.
Regarding his winemaking style, Andrew says, ‘Whilst I have always applied a no compromise, attention to detail approach to my winemaking, I truly believe that 90% of the quality lies in the vineyard. The key to great wine is ‘keeping it simple’ to preserve that potential quality from the vine through to the bottle.’
His flagship wines Kiss shiraz and Braemore semillon sit at the top of an impressive range of wines, many of which have become modern benchmarks for the Hunter Valley.
Thomas Wines will be participating in our Friday Wine Country Excursions as one of the wineries on the Mt Pleasant/Brokenwood/Thomas/De Iuliis/Margan tour.