When Greek Australian wine producer Emanuel Skorpos decided to introduce his first range of red wines to Australia in 2005, he never anticipated that within a few years his Flinders Run Winery would produce one of the best red drops in the world.
“We are certainly very proud of this achievement and particularly excited that our varieties are locally made in the beautiful Southern Flinders Ranges region,” says Emanuel whose winery is based in Baroota, a little locality near the South Australian city of Port Pirie where his company’s headquarters are located.
For the 47-year-old businessman, it started in 1991 when he travelled to Samos and visited his family estate.
“Our story goes back many generations to the beautiful Greek Mediterranean island of Samos, where my grandfather Manolis Skorpos attended his own olive grove and vineyard,” says Emanuel.
He still remembers the day his grandfather took him by the hand to show him his little slice of heaven.
“That’s when I realised my passion and decided to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps,” says Skorpos who, upon his return to Australia, began his quest to locate the perfect piece of land in which to establish the vineyard and olive grove in the well-tested and proven Skorpos tradition.
Many locations were explored but he finally decided on the beautiful Southern Flinders Ranges as the most suitable location due to the similarities in the climatic conditions that the area resembles with the Mediterranean.
“The good quality soil as well as the contrast of warm to hot days and cooler nights in the Southern Flinders Ranges is ideal in stimulating the fruit to ripen in the day and rest at night,” he says.
As soon as the first commercial vintage was released, the 2005 Flinders Run Shiraz, received rave reviews from highly acclaimed and recognised wine critic Robert Parker who awarded this wine a 95-point review in his Wine Advocate newsletter. Since then, many highly acclaimed winemakers and influential wine critics in Australia as well as overseas have showered the company’s wines with positive reviews on their impeccable quality.
“It is these reviews and awards that have provided the foundation for the successful launch of the Flinders Run range of premium wines on the international stage,” says Skorpos who, with his wife, are always keen to promote the Flinders Ranges as a wine-producing heaven.
With the company already exporting wine products to China, Singapore, USA, Canada, and Japan, the entrepreneurial couple is currently busy with the redevelopment of their winery at Baroota with a timeline of four years and a cost of up to $1.4 million.
Skorpos says that as a result of building the region’s first commercial winery, he required additional workers for vineyard training but despite advertising for skilled employees to work with the redevelopment of the vineyard, he was confronted by a skills shortage.
“I decided to approach a local Jobactive provider, Sureway Employment and Training, and under the Australian Government’s Youth Jobs PaTH program, my company offered a 12-week PaTH Internship for four young people who did not have sufficient experience to secure jobs and were particularly keen to explore the wine-making industry,” says the successful wine-maker who was thrilled to be able to offer the positions which involve posting, vine-training methodology, weeding and irrigation.
“You learn about all the hard work that goes into making one bottle of wine and by teaching these young people those skills, the dollars stay here in the region,” says Skorpos.
Despite spending most of his time in Australia, he says he still holds a special place in his heart for Greece.
“I miss Greece and Samos and I try and visit as often as I can. I actually thoroughly enjoy sipping some Samiotiko wine when I am back home, which I find to be of excellent quality as well.
“I am forever grateful for my Greek heritage, my culture, my faith and my background.
“After all, if it wasn’t for that trip in Samos, I would not be where I am today.”