Meet the Maker: Smallfry #8

Meet the Maker: Smallfry #8

Wine Maker

Suzi Hilder and Wayne Ahrens.
South Australia
Red Varietals
Grenache, Shiraz, Mataro, Cinsault, Temparnillo, Bastardo, Monastrell, Trousseau, Tinta Amerilia
White Varietals

Riesling, Sémillon, Pedro Ximenes, Roussane, Muscat


Smallfry wines is a partnership in business and life between Suzi Hilder and Wayne Ahrens.

We are viticulturists bitten by the winemaking bug, the chance to turn our own fruit into wine is too good to pass up. The fact we are also foodies drives our winemaking down a certain path. Natural ferments, nil to minimal adjustment, old oak, a soft hand in the cellar allows the vineyard to speak. The style is food friendly, Euro style, with a eye to balance and subtlety.”


Winemaking Process

Most winemakers are practicing minimal intervention techniques these days, allow the vineyard to speak is the ethos and Smallfry can only agree.

They use their own fruit wherever possible or purchase from selected growers. This is the best way to ensure the best possible fruit for their wines.

The biggest point of difference between Smallfry and the majority of the Barossa winemaking community is that at smallfry vineyard they rely solely on wild yeast to conduct the primary alcoholic ferment.

Wayne and Suzi’s belief is that the different flavour profile obtained using wild yeast ferments is primarily due to population dynamics. The ferments can take a day or so to get going, during this time preferment maceration of skins occurs extracting a more fruity flavour profile.

“The biggest kick I get out of using wild ferments is the Dionysus thing. Wine was a gift from the gods because before microscopes no one had any idea of what was turning their grapes into wine. Fermentation was a spontaneous event to be celebrated by giving thanks to the gods, it turned a perishable item i.e. grapes into a storable, pleasant (we hope) health giving product.

Crushing grapes into a fermenter then later getting in with my bare feet and feeling around for the little warm patches and mixing them into the rest of the must until within a day or two a lovely, healthy, sweet smelling ferment results is a thing of great excitement for me. Which is really what it’s all about. If I can’t offer you something I’m excited about we might as well all pack up, go home and leave it to Jacobs Creek.” – Wayne


The Land

Estate grown biodynamic fruit is the beginning of everything.

  • Barossa Valley

18 Ha Subregion Vine Vale – home to some of the oldest vines in the valley.

Varieties- Shiraz, Grenache, Mataro/Monastrell, Carignan, Cabernet, Cinsault, Riesling, Semillon, Tempranillo, Graciano, Bastardo, Marsanne, Roussanne,  et al.

  • Eden Valley

12 Ha Subregion on the wrong side of the line for High Eden. Home to some of the highest vineyards in Eden Valley at an altitude of 450m.

Varieties- Cabernet, Riesling, Shiraz, Viognier, Marsanne, Mataro/Monastrell.

“Our ancestors have been farming in this region since settlement and spent the majority of that time farming organically. After a brief seduction to chemical farming we have returned to the future by integrating biodynamics into traditional farming.”


View our range of Smallfry Wines.

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