When I started WineSpark, one of the first things I did was to call up my mate Sam Plunkett, to see if any of his winemaker friends would be interested in working with me. Mandy Jones was top of his list.
Mandy tells me the conversation with Sam went something like this:
‘Mandy, you’re nice and make good wine.
Eamon’s nice too, so you’d work well together.’
One box of samples and a late-night / early morning Zoom call later, and Mandy was all aboard the WineSpark train.
Based in the unheralded Rutherglen region, 3 hours north of Melbourne, this was gold-mining country back in the 1800s. The same rich red clay soils are also perfect for grape growing, and they’ve been doing this here for 100+ years.
The Jones family is part of the furniture in Rutherglen, having owned vineyards here since the 1860s.
Mandy spent 14 years making wine and honing her craft in Bordeaux before heading back to the family farm and taking over with her brother Arthur in the late 90s.
Rutherglen has similar climate and soils to the most expensive and famous Australia region, Barossa, so the Shiraz here is thought of as some of Australia’s greatest.
Most of Mandy’s wines get gobbled up in fancy restaurants and bottle shops around Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. It means WineSpark is the only place outside of Australia you’ll find her wines - how cool is that!
For the ultimate wine adventure - try her L.J. Shiraz. Made from a 116-year old vineyard on Mandy’s property. It’s unbelievable to think the vines behind this wine have survived two pandemics... it’s a drinking experience to savour and treasure.