The Story Wines is oddly located in the outer southern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. There we receive grapes from some fabulous Grampians and Henty vineyards, and turn them into wine. Each vintage there is a new story to tell, and each year our label changes to reflect that story. Small budgets, small vineyards, engaging subjects.
We named our winery The Story one night over a few drinks with friends back in 2003. I explained to them that I had no clue what to call it because we seemed to lack all the usual core ingredients to a grand winery name. We owned no vineyards, so couldn’t name it after that, or a hill, creek, valley or river. Our family had no history in the wine game, so the Lane name would have meant nothing to anybody, and we didn’t have any children or even a dog to name it after. A good friend concluded that “you really just have the stories that go along with how you make it”, and we loved the way it connoted a connectedness to others, a sharing, and a present tense. It felt current, and it felt like a way to talk to people. And that’s what we want to try and do with our wines. We have taken the concept a step further now and run an annual short fiction competition to help highlight not just our stories, but those of gifted writers. We now print the first three place getters’ stories in full on our labels, so that not only do you get a delicious bottle of wine but you also get an award-winning short story to consume at the same time. Every wine is a story.
Our winemaking is a little different from many, as our winery is located in the (fairly drab) southern suburbs of Melbourne, some two to three hours from the vineyards in the Grampians and Henty. This urban context allows us to live close to our customers, the majority of which are restaurants and independent retailers, and allows us to draw inspiration from the great cultural diversity of the city. Our harvest decisions are usually amongst the earliest in the region, emphasising acidity and freshness and attempting to maintain moderate alcohol levels and bright aromas. Once we get the grapes to the winery, they are gently destemmed (or not) and moved by gravity to small open fermenters where they ferment with ambient yeasts and as few additions as possible. Many of the wines have no additions other than sulphur dioxide, and for the reds, they are usually bottled without any fining or filtration. Simple, hands-off winemaking.