Konpira Maru started, as many great concepts do, as an idea born from two mates having a beer at the pub. Working in the retail, production and education sectors of the wine industry for many years, Alastair Reed and Sam Cook were searching for their own creative outlet. Sharing similar viticultural, winemaking and beer-drinking values, they set out on a vinous journey and from these humble beginnings, produced the first vintage in 2014, which resulted in just 600 bottles.
The goal was simple – to produce wines that were both full of character and with a high drinkability factor; and also to inject a little fun back into an industry often accused of taking itself too seriously. With their memorable labels and irrepressible attitudes, the pair are quickly becoming must-haves on the natural wine circuit. All ferments use only natural yeasts. With little to no use of oak these wines are all about fruit purity and transparency. No adjustments are made throughout vinification, save for a very small amount of sulphur at bottling, and even then only if deemed necessary. Wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered. Working closely with their crew of dedicated growers and now spanning regions as diverse as South Burnett, the Granite Belt and Kilmore, along with their organically-farmed self-managed Whitlands vineyards in the Victorian high country, Konpira Maru’s star is seriously on the rise.
Each and every release over the past few years has seen Al and Sam take big steps forward; getting to know the vineyards better is yielding a deeper understanding of how to best express these sites, and constantly refining their craft in the winery is translating to wines of greater purity and balance. These are undeniably joyous wines but with a serious and contemporary edge. The aim is to make interesting wines with minimal intervention and maximum care. The results are nothing less.