Colin Campbell, Campbells of Rutherglen

At Campbells we are in a unique and privileged position. We have over four generations of winemaking knowledge, decades of aged stocks and some of the most modern winemaking technology available.

Our philosophy is to capture the full flavours of Rutherglen into wines of complexity yet elegance. Colin Campbell, fourth generation winemaker adheres to this and believes his role is to maximise and protect the natural fruit flavours.

Winemaking requires a diverse set of skills with expertise in science and an artistic flair. Colin’s creative drive stems from his belief in the Rutherglen region and a desire to build on the foundations laid down by his forebears. His technical skills as a winemaker result from his oenology studies at Roseworthy College.

Colin has an enquiring mind and is constantly seeking ways to improve the winemaking process. This is evident in his willingness to seek and adopt modern technology. One example of this pioneering spirit was in the 1970’s when the introduction of temperature controlled fermentation put Campbells at the forefront of white winemaking production in Rutherglen.

Nowadays a full range of winemaking techniques is used for our reds and whites. Heat exchangers and refrigerated storage are employed coupled with gentle tank pressing and controlled fermentation to protect delicate fruit aromas. Rotary fermenters enhance colour extraction for red wines. French and American oak barrels are used sparingly in the fermentation and maturation of some wines; always to enhance, never to dominate the natural fruit flavours.

In total contrast our fortified cellar remains the domain of ancient barrels gently nurturing their precious contents for decade upon decade of ageing to mellow maturity. In the 1960’s in keeping with Colin’s desire for continuous improvement he established a solera system to guarantee the consistency and quality of these. It was a long and arduous task however, once again the time and effort invested paid off as the muscats and tokay’s of Rutherglen are now recognised as two of Australia’s greatest gifts to the world. Our house style is complex yet elegant displaying a rich purity of fruit flavours.

Today, in the winery Colin is ably assisted by Tim Gniel our Winery Operations Manager. Tim was born and bred in Adelaide and gained a degree in Science and Oenology at Adelaide University. He worked for ten years at Knappstein and two years at Seven Hills in the Clare where he developed a love of Riesling (of course!) and a keen interest in making fortified wines. He continues to pursue this interest at Campbells as well as enjoying the challenge of making the highly regarded table wines in particular the Bobbie Burns and Brothers Shiraz and the Rutherglen and The Barkly Durif.

Julie, Colin’s youngest daughter plays an important role here at the winery. Jules is a qualified winemaker and completed several vintages overseas prior to returning to the Barossa Valley to take on the role of winemaker for Turkey Flat. Having married Cameron Ashmead (of Elderton Wines) she now lives in the Barossa however she returns to the family winery regularly to taste the wines with Col and Tim. With her worldly palate and external perspective she provides valuable feedback on our wine styles.

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