Mauricio Ruiz Cantú met Ben Caldwell while studying oenology and viticulture at the University of Adelaide (read: at the local watering hole) in 2010. They both had one of those quarter life crises that propelled them to abandon their career plans in computer engineering and games technology, opting instead for the glamorous life of barrels, bottles, and bins.
Following graduation, Mauricio returned to his native Mexico with a small shipment of Barossa Shiraz he made for fun and named it Juguette, a Spanish word for toy. His market was primarily friends and family but sold a bit in distribution to help fund his trip home. The wine turned out to be a big hit, prompting Mauricio to reach out to Ben as he was looking to grow his brand. This peaked Ben’s interest, and with little but a virtual handshake, Mauricio spent most of the next year in Mexico establishing a distribution network while Ben tended to the vines and wines back in McLaren Vale. In less than five vintages Juguette grew from 150 to 15,000 cases; the duo felt that they were on to something here and it might be time for a new project. Taking inspiration from the fresh and bright foods Mauricio ate back home in Baja, he and Ben decided to make something complementing these notes.
And thus, Somos was born in 2015, focusing on alternative varieties and making wines as naturally as possible. The wines burst with energy, precision and personality while still maintaining a unique sense of familiarity. Somos is a brand deeply rooted in South Australia but with a bit of Latin American flair, and it is quickly rising the ranks of Australia’s best new producers. Somos was a finalist in the Young Gun of Wine’s annual winemaker awards in both 2020 and 2021.