David Morris is the heir to a tradition.
When his father Mick, one of Rutherglen’s favourite sons, retired in 1993 David became the fifth generation Morris to become winemaker at the company’s Mia Mia winery, 15km east of Rutherglen on the rich Brown’s Plains.
The corrugated iron winery, with its wax-lined concrete fermenting vats and ancient equipment, has been run by a Morris since its foundation in 1859.
It is an unpretentious home for some of the greatest – many would arguethe greatest – fortified wines in the world.
Wine writers and judges around the world have raved about the Morris Old Premium Muscat and Old Premium Tokay, which together have won more trophies, medals and awards than any other wines in Australia.
David Morris is characteristically humble about the success of these wines, but the scorecard speaks for itself.
In 2003 the Morris range of fortified, table and sparkling wines won an outstanding total of 20 trophies and an incredible 223 medals including 80 gold. Not bad for a small, 80ha winery with an annual crush of around 1600 tonnes.
The stars of the show undoubtedly were the fortified wines, however, with the Old Premium Morris Muscat winning six trophies and 11 gold medals – including three Top Gold; and the Old Premium Morris Tokay winning one trophy and nine gold medals.
In 2001 the Morris Old Premium Liqueur Muscat was rated Best Muscat in the World at the Muscats of the World competition in Frontigan-La-Peyrade, France. At home it was rated 2001 Wine of the Year by Winestate magazine.
The demand for these amazing fortified wines within Australia has been so great that exports have been very limited.
Which makes these old, Morris premium muscats and tokays one of Australia’s great secrets and highly prized by overseas drinkers in the know.
The success of these wines has tended to obscure the fact that Morris is also a producer of a limited range of premium table wines.
For instance, Morris is similarly awarded, for its Durif, a grape variety initially pioneered in Australia by Mick, then labelled simply “claret” in 1954.