Konpira Maru is the birthchild of two mates on the noble search for a creative outlet with similar (and bang-on) ideas about what makes good booze.
Alastair Reed and Sam Cook were over expensive quaffable wines. On the quest to make Always wines great again, Konpira Maru has organically assembled a suite of interesting drinks that we’ll gratefully get lost in from Monday to Sunday.
Fifty dozen kicked off the project in 2014, with fruit sourced from the Chalmers family’s organic, Italian-focused Merbein vineyard (You’ll find Garganega, Nosiola and Malvasia here, for a start).
The pair continue to produce a yearly Pet Nat or two from the iconic family’s vineyard.
As their own star rises, they’re active in throwing a spotlight on their smattering of scattered producers, supporting those who support them with the top-notch fruit that allows them to remain hands-off where it counts.
Equal parts a strategic move to fill a gap in the market and a personal quest to create the good times juice to affordably fill their own glasses, Konpira Maru has become a firm Always favourite our these shelves.
If ‘minimal intervention, maximum care’ is Al and Sam’s winemaking ethos, then affordability, drinkability and oodles of character are the hallmarks of a Konpira Maru drop.
Producing small batches of fun wines from predominantly cool climates, little-known areas across Victoria and Queensland, fruit is sourced from Queensland’s granite belt to Victoria’s Kilmore and the rocky ridges of the Grampians.
The boys bit the bullet and purchased their spiritual home in 2016. It’s a lofty King Valley site know as the Whitlands vineyard, where Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris grow from its mystical red soils.
Shaping personalities around the naturally favourable characteristics of each grape, behold a range of true individuals united by the intuitive hands of Sam and Al.
Not afraid to blur the lines or err on the side of alchemy, you’ll find hybrid Pet Nat/cider drinks at 9.5% ABV, electrifying Pet Nats, Syrah treated to a bitta partial carbonic ferment, and thoughtful extended skin contact. All naturally fermented, of course.