Reschke Wines is based in the Coonawarra, an area renowned as being one of Australia's finest wine regions and for producing world-class red wines, particularly cabernet sauvignon. The secret lies in a marriage of Terra Rossa soil, limestone, spring water and a long, cool, grape-ripening season.
One family business is profiting from this wine-growing utopia in an unusual way. The Reschke family has a farm that has been in family hands for over a century, but today two fourth-generation family members own two different wine companies on the same estate.
In 1989, Burke Reschke and his father, Trevor, decided to expand their farm away from being entirely devoted to beef cattle. The pair set about planting the first ten acres of vines themselves, cultivating the soil and planting the grapes by hand.
Unsure of which pesticides to use, they weeded and hoed the ground, which although labour intensive, paid enormous dividends in the long-run – the grapes are unsprayed and grown to near organic standards. Reschke Wines was born.
Trevor took a 10% stake in his son's business, and Reschke Wines has gone from strength to strength. Although many would see 360 acres as a fair-sized operation, Burke insists that only the best quarter of grapes are used to make his wines, which adds to their quality and exclusivity.
The wines are stocked by top wine merchants and exclusive restaurants, including former "Best Restaurant in the World" The Fat Duck. The company's distinctive bottles can also be found at iconic UK department store Selfridges.
However, just five miles down the road from Reschke Wines' vineyard, Burke's younger brother Dru is also involved in wine, managing the Koonara Wines label. With just 20 acres of vines, it is a smaller operation than Burke's but the attention to quality is the same.
Every year since 1991, 30 cases of Koonara have been made for family and friends. In 1999, when Dru decided to sell to the public, his brother gave him some wines to help him along the way and today he continues to make a very limited number of cases. Vivienne, Burke and Dru's mother, also works for Dru.
Although the brothers keep their businesses separate, they insist there is no conflict even though they produce similar wines with the same grapes. In fact, they actually work together on many aspects of their respective vineyards.
While Burke runs his own vineyard and assists with the winemaking, Dru concentrates on marketing his wines. Burke is planning to plant another 100 acres of vines within the next two years, bringing the total area up to 460 acres. Dru is also looking to expand his business but more slowly than his brother.
Sadly Trevor passed away just three months ago, and despite being more involved in Dru's business towards the end of his life, he still acted in an advisory capacity to Burke, as well as overseeing his beloved cattle.
The success of Reschke Wines is amply illustrated by its recent sponsorship of the Hurlingham Polo Association marquee at the prestigious Cartier International Polo Day at Guards Polo Club, just outside London, where England beat Australia.
Burke has big plans for his label and you can expect to see him and his company moving from strength-to-strength in the next year.
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