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Viticulture Philosophy

In Paxton’s home of McLaren Vale, South Australia, our vineyards are spread across a number of sites and soil types which we manage without compromise from planting to harvest. Our mission is to produce and showcase the region’s fruit quality, varietal expression and natural diversity, particularly with Shiraz, which is now well recognised as the region’s top performing variety.

We call our approach “back to the future”. It involves combining traditional, hands-on management, integrated and complimented with modern technology. We choose to propagate vines from old pre-clonal selection vineyards to benefit from stock with a history of low-yield and high quality.

The vineyard site characteristics we target have soil profiles that allow us to perfectly control soil moisture content via irrigation, maximising fruit quality and intensity. We work with the concept of “terroir”, although we do not necessarily agree with the mystery that is often attached to the word. It can be complex but it is not magic. We consider “terroir” as the interaction between a vine, its environment and the impact of man’s management with the moisture balance of the soil being possibly the major influence.

Management techniques are varied to suit variety and style. Utilisation of techniques such as shoot thinning, leaf plucking and fruit thinning are employed to attain superior quality. Targeted crop levels for Shiraz are 6 - 8 Tonnes per hectare.

We continually strive to minimise inputs and, essentially, use only sulphur and copper on our red varieties. Trialling of bio-dynamics and non-chemical weed control is ongoing.
It is impossible to develop intimate knowledge of a vineyard in one or two years which is why our commitment to optimum quality is reflected by our long term staff and management.

David Paxton

Viticulturalist & Founder

Recent News

Reviews & Accolades

  • Deep garnet: there is a sappy complexity to the bouquet that is beguiling, with ripe red fruits, well-handled oak, and a hint of jasmine; the palate reveals more toasty oak notes, with fine-grained tannins and velvety texture a feature of the long finish: an elegant expression of the region. 95/100

    2009 Paxton EJ Shiraz
    James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion 2014 Edition
  • A dark and layered bouquet full of black fruits, red fruit highlight, hints of mocha and licorice; the palate is full-blooded, ample and generous, with ripe chewy tannins and fresh acidity lingering on the finish. 94/100

    2010 Paxton Jones Block Shiraz
    James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion, 2014 Edition
  • “The Paxtons of McLaren Vale have been using sustainable farming methods for several years but the 2010 vintage, including this single vineyard chardy, is one of the first wines produced since Paxton earned its stripes as a fully biodynamic producer. Bright and tight with clean citrus and melon fruit flavours, background French oak characters and a crisp finish."

    2010 Paxton Thomas Block Chardonnay
    Kerry Skinner, Illawara Mercury
  • 94pt- Dense purple-crimson, extraordinary for '11, and a triumph for biodynamic grape growing; it keeps its sense of place with a crown of dark chocolate, yet is no more than medium-bodied, the alcohol seeming much lower than 14.5%; spice and pepper lurk under the fine black fruits. Drink By: 2026 Price:$37.00 AU Date Tasted: 17 Feb 2014 Alcohol: 14.5%

    2011 Paxton Jones Block Shiraz
    James Halliday - Published on 27 Jul 2014
  • 94pt- Good depth to the colour; a great advertisement for McLaren Vale and biodynamics, full of varietal fruit flavour, tannins and dark chocolate. Drink By: 2021
    Date Tasted: 01 Sep 2013 Alc: 14% James Halliday - Published on 27 Jul 2014

    2011 Paxton The Vale Cabermet
    James Halliday - Published on 27 Jul 2014
  • 93pt-“Don’t see these wines anymore, so thank heavens I leave the house every now and then to taste stuff. Raspberry, blackberry, chocolate, Jersey Caramel, some cut flower stems and a little bit of reductive stink, though a nice stink it is. Medium bodied, grainy tannin,fresh, shapely, fruit richness but not confected. Even some ‘mineral feel’ here, along with ample length.Spot on. What a bargain.” RRP $20

    2012 Paxton AAA Shiraz Grenache
    Gary Walsh, The Wine Front Tasted: Jul-14 Alcohol: 14% Drink: 2014 - 2020
  • Low-ish alcohol, biodynamically grown, no yeast or acid added, all old oak, limited SO2. It sounds downright un-Australian.
    But it's a very interesting wine. Highly drinkable too. It feels good in the mouth, has good carry through the finish, has no lack of up-front flavour, shows no alcohol warmth and has a velvety grapeyness that is quite captivating. I'm sold on it. Dark cherries, violets, a hint of oxidation but in a positive sense. Beautifully formed tannin too. 91/100

    2012 Paxton Graciano
    Campbell Mattinson, Winefront, 3rd January 2014
  • Biodynamically-grown shiraz from McLaren Vale. Small proportion of whole bunches. Grapes come from four separate vineyards. Spends extended time on skins and is matured in both French and American oak.
    Excellent release. Tasty plus. Plums and blackberries, hay and sweet, roasted, milky coffee. Tannin through the finish is a case of Not Too Much, Not Too Little. Crowd-pleasing style but quality in its own right. Price isn't bad either. 92/100

    2012 Paxton MV Shiraz
    Campbell Mattinson, Winefront, 3rd January 2014
  • Single vineyard wine out of McLaren Vale. Biodynamically grown. Wild fermented.
    This is a lighter expression of McLaren Vale Shiraz. That's a good thing. It's high on aromatics and juicy, light-on-its-feet drinkability. It tastes of black cherry, blueberry, peppercorn and blackberry. More or less in that order of emphasis. There's a smoky, clovey, come-hither note to nose, though it's a sophisticated invitation rather than a sleazy one. Everything is dotted and crossed. It'll grow more complex with age, too.

    2012 Paxton Quandong Farm Shiraz
    Campbell Mattinson, Winefront, 3rd January 2014
  • 91pt- "Wow, there's plenty of fruit concentration in this McLaren Vale shiraz. It's powerful but a high degree of poise and elegance has contributed to a most stylish wine. Firm tannins thread seamlessly through the rich plummy fruit with a liberal toasty oak infusion adding complexity. Lots to like in this thoroughly drinkable offering"

    2013 MV Shiraz
    Ray Jordan- WA Oct 2014
  • 93pt-The grapes were whole bunch-pressed and the juice
    fermented in stainless steel, 60% with wild yeast,
    40% with cultured yeast; the lees were stirred for 3
    weeks post-fermentation. It has a distinct pink tinge
    to the colour, and is a pinot gris with bagfuls of
    attitude; the texture borders on the baroque, and the
    spiced pear and apple fruit is there for all to see.
    Drink by: 2015 Date tasted: 5/8/2013 Alcohol:13%

    2013 Paxton Pinot Gris
    James Hallidays Wine Compnaion 2014
  • Made from grapes specifically grown for this wine, and was given 24 hours' skin contact, then cool-fermented like a white wine - the secret weapon 5% fermented in new French oak. Bright fuschia-pink, it has red cherry/strawberry aromas, the palate building convincingly with seamless fruit in the same register, mouthfilling and pleasingly dry. 95/100

    2013 Paxton Rose
    James Halliday, Wine Companion Newsletter, 21st August 2013
  • 92pt- "Bargain quaffer but with bloody, meatiness, density, chewy tannins and a fresh finish-the wine feels almost joven in its sleek, vibrant way but there's that tannin tug that shows your palate a little more structure and spiciness of fruit offers intrigue. Nicely done here, 12.5% alc."

    2013 Paxton Tempranillo
    Mike Bennie WBM- Oct 2014