ABOUT

ABOUT BRASH HIGGINS

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In 2007, Brad Hickey met Nicole Thorpe. She had deep roots in McLaren Vale, where several generations of her family had worked to provide the local vineyards with much-needed water. He was a resolute wanderer, whose journey through food and drink had taken him from his home in Chicago, to Paris, to Portland, to New York City, and finally, to Australia, where he’d come to work his first vintage. After they met, Brad decided to stick around for awhile, and he’s been here ever since.

Nicole had a small vineyard herself, Omensetter, which she’d been overseeing since the first plantings of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon in 1997. By the time Brad arrived, the Vale was in the midst of a drought, and the entire region was suffering. But there was something special about this place, with it’s mineral-rich clay and sandstone dirt, and the cooling breezes coming off of the gulf. In spite of the challenges, it was a great spot to grow grapes. Once Nicole invited Brad to stick around, the two of them rolled up their sleeves, tended the vines, and weathered the storm. Well, in this case, the lack of storms. 

Seeing how the Shiraz and Cabernet were hit the hardest by the drought, the pair began to investigate different grapes, which might fare better in the harsh conditions. Remembering a passing conversation with local legend Steve Pannell about a somewhat obscure Italian varietal called Nero d’Avola, Brad and Nicole embarked on a journey that would take them all the way to Sicily, to see firsthand how the grape thrived in the hot and dry conditions of the island’s slopes. Sicily felt a lot like home. And the Nero ignited something in the pair, so they grafted cuttings onto a few of the Shiraz vines, then commissioned potter John Bennett to make them some 200 litre clay Amphoras, like the ones they’d seen in Sicily.

Their interest in little-known or outre varietals has grown to encompass Zibibbo and Crystal. Their fascination with exploring fermentation techniques led to BLOOM, widely regarded as the closest any Australian winery has come to creating a local expression of methods associated with Jura. Their commitment to looking after their vines and their land led them to pursue Australian Certified Organic certification, which Omensetter received in 2017. Their love of food and living well has resulted in some truly legendary lunches, and a reputation for warmth and hospitality at Omensetter.

Brash Higgins has grown from, and been shaped by, Brad & Nicole’s passions -- for McLaren Vale, for their patch of dirt off of the Gulf, for grapes and varietals from the stalwart to the obscure, for pushing boundaries, for exploring every technique available to help make great wine, for art and beauty, for food and friends, and for each other. Brash Higgins seeks to capture the essence of McLaren Vale’s sun and soil, the elusive characters of the fruit, and the whims of our own restless muse.

2015-09-02 00.59.38-2

ABOUT BRASH HIGGINS

1A3E0C07-DD55-4959-BA13-254035C59D4A_1_105_c

In 2007, Brad Hickey met Nicole Thorpe. She had deep roots in McLaren Vale, where several generations of her family had worked to provide the local vineyards with much-needed water. He was a resolute wanderer, whose journey through food and drink had taken him from his home in Chicago, to Paris, to Portland, to New York City, and finally, to Australia, where he’d come to work his first vintage. After they met, Brad decided to stick around for awhile, and he’s been here ever since.

Nicole had a small vineyard herself, Omensetter, which she’d been overseeing since the first plantings of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon in 1997. By the time Brad arrived, the Vale was in the midst of a drought, and the entire region was suffering. But there was something special about this place, with it’s mineral-rich clay and sandstone dirt, and the cooling breezes coming off of the gulf. In spite of the challenges, it was a great spot to grow grapes. Once Nicole invited Brad to stick around, the two of them rolled up their sleeves, tended the vines, and weathered the storm. Well, in this case, the lack of storms. 

Seeing how the Shiraz and Cabernet were hit the hardest by the drought, the pair began to investigate different grapes, which might fare better in the harsh conditions. Remembering a passing conversation with local legend Steve Pannell about a somewhat obscure Italian varietal called Nero d’Avola, Brad and Nicole embarked on a journey that would take them all the way to Sicily, to see firsthand how the grape thrived in the hot and dry conditions of the island’s slopes. Sicily felt a lot like home. And the Nero ignited something in the pair, so they grafted cuttings onto a few of the Shiraz vines, then commissioned potter John Bennett to make them some 200 litre clay Amphoras, like the ones they’d seen in Sicily.

Their interest in little-known or outre varietals has grown to encompass Zibibbo and Crystal. Their fascination with exploring fermentation techniques led to BLOOM, widely regarded as the closest any Australian winery has come to creating a local expression of methods associated with Jura. Their commitment to looking after their vines and their land led them to pursue Australian Certified Organic certification, which Omensetter received in 2017. Their love of food and living well has resulted in some truly legendary lunches, and a reputation for warmth and hospitality at Omensetter.

Brash Higgins has grown from, and been shaped by, Brad & Nicole’s passions -- for McLaren Vale, for their patch of dirt off of the Gulf, for grapes and varietals from the stalwart to the obscure, for pushing boundaries, for exploring every technique available to help make great wine, for art and beauty, for food and friends, and for each other. Brash Higgins seeks to capture the essence of McLaren Vale’s sun and soil, the elusive characters of the fruit, and the whims of our own restless muse.

2015-09-02 00.59.38-2