At Dandelion Vineyards, it really starts and ends in the vineyard. Why the lonely dandelion as the mascot of the winery? The belief is that this pesky little weed is the heart and soul of the vineyard. It sprouts with the first site of life in the soil and air and it eventually refolds back into the earth to become food for the vines. The brand was started by Bulgarian born winemaker Elena Brooks and her husband Zar.
As a young girl in Bulgaria, Elena’s mother worked in a winery. The demise of the Soviet Republic opened the door to an influx of westerners interested in the age-old history of wine making in these former states. Many Australians visited and stayed at the winery and as the only one able to speak English, Elena started helping translate after school. By the age of 12, she was interpreting barrel tastings with the winemakers. By the age of 15, she had the wine knowledge and vocabulary of a veteran, and by 16 she was making her first batches of Chardonnay. After study she ventured and worked in many amazing wine regions of the world, and has now settled with husband and two children in McLaren Vale.
Elena and Zar both grow their own grapes and source fabulous old vine fruit from some of the finest family vineyards in Barossa, McLaren Vale, and Eden Valley.Serious stuff, certainly. Proper fun, absolutely. The lifelong search to appreciate and understand the essence of wine, its terroir, leads Zar and Elena on a vinous treasure hunt, following the Dandelion’s Wishing Clock if you will, that always inspires. The belief is that in order to maximize variety, vintage and vineyard highlights requires an enlightened approach by separating single sites, and even single soil types, vine by vine if need be. Dandelion Vineyards is a unique fusion of vineyards and vignerons. Their wines represent decades of experience, blending the fruit of heirloom vineyards with the finest traditions of artisan winemaking. It is the combination of old vineyards and young winemaker and a couple of mates to help out in between that makes for the ideal winery.