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Bottling the South Australian terroir

Back in the early 1990s, on a dairy farm in the McLaren Vale region of South Australia, two brothers had an idea to start a wine comapny.


Capitalising on the estate first farmed by their maternal grandfather in 1957, Kym and John Davey combined Kym’s skills as a fifth generation farmer and John’s winemaking qualifications to start Shingleback Wine.


“People around the world get to appreciate our beautiful part of the [country] through our product.” – John Davey


In 1998, the brothers bottled their first wine - a shiraz - and from there grew the business and began exporting to the US, Canada and throughout the world.


“We always try to think ahead,” says John. “We're perhaps not right at the coalface, but we’re certainly ready to take on new ways to do things and get better and better all the time.”

Shingleback Winery uses innovative techniques and machinery to stay ahead of the competition but the team also has a keen focus on sustainability. They are working with both State Government and local environmental organisations on projects that include a biodiversity revegetation project for the Shingleback wetlands, and were founding members in the development of the recycled water pipeline from Christie’s Beach, a valuable resource to help grow their fruit.


As South Australia deals with an increasingly drier climate, being as self-sustainable as possible means although the vineyard thrives in McLaren Vale’s usually good weather, it isn’t so heavily reliant on it.


“We're in a tough business,” says John. “It's about primary production but we also value add and sell those products around the world to tell the great story of the South Australian wine industry. Without the backing of organisations and customers, that wouldn't be possible.”


John says the winemaking industry is a fun game to be in. “At the heart of our success has been the fact that we're in McLaren Vale,” he explains. “This is one of the great places in the world to be producing wine. They're expressive of the terroir, they're sunshine and fun. People around the world get to appreciate our beautiful part of [South Australia] through our product.”


Back in the 1990’s when Kym and John first decided to start planting grapes, they took their business plan to the local ANZ branch. “It was that first relationship that allowed us to commence planting our Davey Estate Vineyard. The relationship has been crucial throughout our development and through some fairly difficult financial times including the global financial crisis,” says John.


At ANZ, we know in agriculture profits can be up one year and down the next. It is important for the bank to have a longer-term view to support our customers through this journey and hopefully help the next generation coming through.


Having banked the Davey family for more than a century, we’re excited to see what the future holds for them.


Brendan Rinaldi is State General Manager for Business Banking in SA & NT for ANZ

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