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Torbreck is an Australian winery in the Barossa Valley, founded by David Powell in 1994. The winery was named one of the World's Top 100 Wine Estates by Robert Parker. The winery is named after a forest in Scotland where Powell worked as a lumberjack. The wines are made in a style emulating those of the Rhone Valley and are made from various grapes including red grapes Shiraz, Grenache and Mataro as well as white grapes Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne.
Torbreck Vintners was founded by David Powell in 1994. He had begun working for Robert "Rocky" O'Callaghan at Rockford Wines in the Barossa Valley several years prior to that and had discovered a few sections of dry-grown old vines that had been abandoned by their current owner because the yields were considered too low to pay for their maintenance.
Inspired to create his own label, but lacking sufficient capital for an outright purchase of grapes, Powell began to share-farm the vineyard, a practice which involves working without pay until the grapes are sold, at which time the owner is paid a percentage of the market rate for his grapes and the share-farmer keeps the grapes for their own use (see Sweat Equity). The share-farming principle enabled Torbreck to obtain fruit from the very best vineyards in the Barossa Valley, while at the same time giving Powell practical experience working with old vines in the vineyard and winery.
In 1995 Powell crushed three tonnes of grapes and fermented them into wine in a shed on his 12-hectare Marananga property (which continues to be home to the winery). The winery was named "Torbreck" after the forest in Scotland where Powell had worked as a lumberjack following his University studies. The first wine made under the Torbreck label was the 1995 RunRig, with the wine released in 1997. A favorable review of the 1996 RunRig in the June, 1999 issue of The Wine Advocate created intense consumer interest in the international wine collector community, resulting in this and subsequent releases being highly allocated.
The Torbreck endeavour is based around the classic Barossa Valley grape varieties Shiraz, Grenache and Mataro, and has always been driven by Powell's love of the wines of France’s Rhône Valley. Although initially known primarily for its red wines, in recent years Torbreck has earned acclaim for wines made from the Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne vines planted in the estate's Descendent Vineyard. Although grapes from these vines were initially intended to be used solely as blending material in the high-end red wines, fruit from this vineyard is now used in Torbreck's white blends. The winery also produces a benchmark Barossa Semillon known as Woodcutter's, made from Madeira-clone vines ranging up to 100 years old.