The history of Krondorf Wines is deeply rooted in a story of love, faith and hope.
Krondorf, meaning ‘crown village’ in German, gets its name from a village in the Barossa Valley, South Australia, that was founded in 1847 by Silesian families who were seeking a better life.
The settlers believed a in life dedicated to hard work, the land and the praise of God. So, after finding the land to be rich and fertile, they began to plant vineyards and grow produce.
When the South Australian wine industry began to grow in the 1850s and 60s, the Krondorf village became a key player in establishing the importance of the Barossa Valley.
This rich history is one that Head Winemaker Nick Badrice ensures shines through in each and every bottle of wine.
"When they came to Australia, they were quite religious and obviously it would’ve been a scary time. They had three values that they really lived by as a community, and those values were love, faith and hope," Badrice tells The CEO Magazine.
"There is a lovely historical value that has transitioned to Krondorf and given us that ability to make these beautiful wines, and we want to recognize and pay tribute to how it all started," he says. "We're doing that by recognizing those three values and bringing that into our branding for Krondorf."
It wasn’t until the 1960s and 70s that the Krondorf label was officially created when a group of young winemakers began crafting bold, highly acclaimed wines.
And they didn’t go unnoticed; in 1980 a Krondorf Cabernet Sauvignon 1979 won the prestigious Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy at the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards.
"It’s only been more recently that we’ve been really focused on breathing life back into the brand."
Badrice, who was born in the Barossa and from an early age was drawn in by the "hum of the wine industry", joined Krondorf in 2005. But despite the high standing of the Krondorf name in its early years, the brand had found itself falling somewhat out of the public eye over time.
"It was very small when I joined and we were only making really a Shiraz and a Cabernet Sauvignon at that point in time," he recalls. "It’s only been more recently that we’ve been really focused on breathing life back into the brand and I guess starting to put the wine, Krondorf as a brand, back in the spotlight."
The new Krondorf
A key feature of reviving Krondorf has been the creation of its newly released 2023 collection – set to be the representation of the new Krondorf and its clear future direction.
"The 2023 collection is really our launchpad into showcasing what we’re doing now with Krondorf. The way of contemporary winemaking, contemporary styles. It’s our step into creating the next bit of history with the brand," he says.
"The 2023 collection is really our launchpad into showcasing what we’re doing now with Krondorf."
A big part of this is stepping outside of the public perception of what being Barossa wine means and bringing diverse and unique profiles to the consumer.
"There’s been a bit of a view or a perception from a lot of wine enthusiasts that the Barossa is really all about Shiraz, and we’ve been placed under this generic Barossa banner," he explains.
"But truly, I think what we are trying to do with Krondorf is showcase a lot of the diversity that the Barossa really does have – its different soil profiles, the different microclimates within vineyards," he says. "We’re capturing that diversity and ultimately transitioning that through the wine, so the wine is a true expression of the site."
Bottling up the Barossa
The 2023 collection, released in May, contains five new, opulent wines that reflect the best of the Barossa Valley and is set to excite serious wine collectors and enthusiasts alike.
Four of the wines are from the 2021 vintage, including the Stone Altar Shiraz, Stone Altar Grenache, Kingship Cabernet Sauvignon and Old Salem Barossa Shiraz.
"This, for me, is a really exciting proposition in the sense that the vintage conditions were just superb," Badrice says.
"We had great rainfall during the winter season, so we entered into the growing season for the vineyards with a really good soil moisture profile. It was really set up well for a great growing season and then we had some really medium temperatures and some cooler nights. That allowed for just perfect ripening conditions.
"We’re seeing some really expressive, youthful wines at the moment, but I think they'll stand the test of time as well."
"For me, I think the 2021 vintage is going to be a real standout. We’re seeing some really expressive, youthful wines at the moment, but I think they'll stand the test of time as well."
However the final wine, the Krondorf Icon 2019 King’s Mantle Shiraz, is set to be the star of the collection.
"The 2019 is our absolute new release. It’s going to be showcased for the first time in May," he says. "The Krondorf King’s Mantle Shiraz is our icon shiraz, so it’s ultimately the best selection for that particular vintage. It’s the best parcel of fruit I’ve ultimately found, and we’ve bottled it up."
The King’s Mantle Shiraz is produced from 25-year old vineyards and is gently pressed into French oak barrels for 18 months. Each barrel is individually tasted and classified, and drinkers can expect a concentrated shiraz with dark chocolate and spice aromas offering subtlety of power and a long powerful finish.
"When we first bottled it, we weren’t sure what we were going to do with it, but we knew it was an amazingly good wine. It’s now going to sit at the top of this range and it’ll be our flagship wine."
The future of Krondorf
As for where Krondorf is going from here, Badrice is excited to continue innovating and taking this historic brand into the now.
"There’s a huge amount of opportunity with Krondorf. We’ve got a number of things on the go. We’re looking at transitioning a couple of the vineyards that we own and moving them into organic growing, and that’s going to be exciting," he says.
"We’re also looking at things like more sustainable packaging, ‘lightweighting’ is what I refer to it as. So more sustainable glass, lighter-weight bottles, eco-friendly packaging, that sort of thing. There’s a huge, huge opportunity there."
"My role is just really to not muck the wine up and try and capture all of the essences that we see from the vineyard."
But at the end of the day, the core focus for Badrice and the Krondorf team is on creating the best possible wine that will see the brand recapture the hearts of drinkers.
"It’s about continuing to refine the winemaking and the styles. It’s about trying to capture what we see in the vineyard and transition through to bottle," he says. "I guess my role is just really to not muck the wine up and try and capture all of the essences that we see from the vineyard."