When Joss and Anna De Iuliis purchased their Hunter Valley property in 1987, they set a new path for four generations of their family, creating an empire that would become known as De Iuliis Wines.
Michael De Iuliis now holds the position of Head Winemaker, but he was still in school when his grandfather and father planted the first vines. For the first three years, they worked to convert the 20-hectare former grazing property into land ready for grape growing, expertly preparing the soil.
For the next 10 years, they provided grapes to some of the best wineries in the region. However, in 1999, when Michael finished his studies in oenology at Roseworthy College, the dynamic of the business changed and the family made the jump from grape growing to wine production. They built a state-of-the-art winery and a modern cellar door, and set about making their own mark on the Hunter Valley landscape.
These days, Michael and his expert team run a five-star winery, as awarded by James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion. The team produces outstanding wines using grapes from two vineyards: the original Lovedale property and the historic Steven Vineyard, planted by the Lindemans in 1968 and acquired by the De Iuliis family in 2013.
No matter where the grapes are grown, Michael’s philosophy remains the same: balance and harmony. In achieving balance, he believes the vine needs to look right – the amount of fruit needs to be in balance with the amount of leaves and the size should be in proportion to the amount of vigour and growth.
In a quest for harmony, Michael thinks farmers need to give back to what they take from the vines. This can come in the form of organic matter, reduction in cultivation, or use of cover crops.
All of these ideas unite under the De Iuliis winemaking name to produce unique drops that balance strong Hunter characteristics with the maximum amount of varietal features. You’ll see what effect Michael’s minimalist approach has on the wine when you stop by the Cellar Door.
Designed by architect, Lional Glendenning, from Architects HBO+EMTB, it features floor-to-ceiling windows that provide panoramic views of the surrounding vineyard and gardens, as well as an outdoor deck, perfect for soaking up the sunshine and admiring the native fauna.
In between the winery and cellar door sits an imposing 25-metre observation tower, where adventurous visitors can take in sweeping views of the iconic Brokenback mountain range.
When you get back to ground level, make sure you have a chat to the team of wine enthusiasts, who will more than happily guide you through an informative tasting. You might find yourself sampling a 2009 Aged Release Semillon and looking for its subtle hints of toast and honey, or sipping on the 2013 Limited Release Shiraz, which was made from the 10 best barrels of that year’s vintage.
De Iuliis might be hard to pronounce but its wine is oh-so-easy to drink. With a measured approach to making small-batch wines, Michael and his team continue to produce drops that are the envy of the region.