Mount Horrocks Wines is operated by proprietor and winemaker Stephanie Toole, who restricts production to approximately 4,500 cases per annum to achieve her aims of quality and single vineyard expression
Mount Horrocks Wines was established in 1982, was acquired by Stephanie Toole in 1993, and in April 1998 opened a cellar door in the renovated Auburn Railway station, around the corner from Grosset, her husband’s winery, where she makes her wines. Substantial renovations and landscaping of the station and surrounding railway yards have resulted in a showpiece for Auburn and the Clare Valley. Stephanie carefully crafts her wines, which she describes as "essentially hand made food wines with emphasis on structure as well as generous fruit flavours" All grapes are hand picked, and only the finest French oak is used for those wines spending time in barrel.
"Mount Horrocks has well and truly established its own identity in recent years, aided by positive marketing and, equally importantly, wine quality which has resulted in both show success and critical acclaim. Stephanie Toole has worked long and hard to achieve this, and I strongly advise you (or anyone else) not to get in her way!" -James Halliday
Mount Horrocks Wines has vineyards at three sites totalling 10 hectares, in the Clare Valley. Stephanie produces six wines under the Mount Horrocks Wines label: Watervale Riesling, Cordon Cut Riesling, Watervale Semillon, Watervale Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Watervale Shiraz.
Every autumn, Stephanie Toole goes through her 25 acres of vineyards in Clare Valley carefully slicing part way through the fruiting Riesling canes. Then she leaves the grape bunches to raisin naturally on the vine. Several weeks later, if it hasn’t rained excessively, Toole harvests the grapes to produce the Cordon Cut, a sweet wine of astonishing richness and vivid flavour. A vein of refined acidity runs through the sweetness to balance the wine, making it feel vibrant and framing the heady lime-accented green plum, pineapple and apricot flavours.
In some vintages, a mineral component in the Cordon Cut is present. But the wine is unaffected by botrytis, so it never gets too honeyed. The 2005 Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut was served to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at a four course lunch in London to celebrate her 80th birthday. Only four wines were served and the Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut was the only Australian wine in the lineup.
Under Stephanie's direction, Mount Horrocks Wines has been widely recognised by experts and wine lovers alike: James Halliday, 2006 Australian Wine Companion: Five Star Rating "Outstanding winery capable of producing wines of the highest calibre." Decanter Magazine 2004 World Wine Awards: Gold Medal and Trophy for Best Australian Sweet White over £10 - Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut Riesling. Max Allen, Decanter Magazine February 2004: one of Australia's "Ten Most Exciting Names to Watch." The developments over the past decade have been keenly followed by many and once again perhaps best observed by Australia's leading wine authority James Halliday: "Mount Horrocks has well and truly established its own identity in recent years, aided by positive marketing and, equally importantly, wine quality which has resulted in both show success and critical acclaim."
Stephaine Toole was nominated for Australia's most prestigious winemaking award, the Australian Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine's Winemaker of the year. Chairman of Judges Peter Forrestal says that Stephanie was nominated because her wines have been outstanding, and for "painstaking attention to detail in the vineyards and winery, a focus on single vineyard wines and an ability to reinvent traditional Clare wines"