On a recent sunny afternoon, a white wine in the hands of one of the country’s best winemakers was a very different story.
The wine was a white, crystal-clear and full of colour.
“You could tell it was the best white I’ve ever tasted,” said Tom Rundle, whose wines are now available in the US and other markets.
The wines were from the small winery of the family, the Cavaners, and were aged in the Vintners, a tradition dating back to the early 1800s. “
I’ve been drinking this for about three months now and I’ve never experienced anything like it.”
The wines were from the small winery of the family, the Cavaners, and were aged in the Vintners, a tradition dating back to the early 1800s.
They are now the first white wines made at the Cairns family winery, and Tom and his brother, Sam, have been in the business for almost a century.
For most of the 20th century, the family owned the Caves Vineyard, where they produced wine for the Caird family in the area, but they have since sold the vineyard and moved the winery to Cavan, about 45km (28 miles) away.
Today, Tom’s family’s wines are available in wine bars and restaurants around the country, but there are some big gaps.
There are just three wines in the Caveners family’s portfolio.
Tom said his brothers’ Cairn White wine was made at their family winemaking business, which he called the Vincans, in the 1930s and 1940s.
It was the first to be made at Cairndell.
But Tom was not a wine enthusiast at the time, so he tried to find out more about the Vinds.
“I thought they were quite mysterious,” he said.
At first he was surprised to find they were not just wine-makers, but also a wine-shop owner and an auctioneer, as well as a winemaker.
“Then I found out that they were all involved in wine making.”
And that was the beginning of it all.
“Tom said he decided to pursue his interest in wine and winemasonry after learning about a new technology that had been developed by the Cains.”
It was a bit of a shock to me, that technology,” he recalled.”
They are the ones who were the first people in Australia to develop it.
“The technology was called an air-coupling system, which uses a vacuum to trap the wine in a vessel that can be sealed with a special coating.
Tom said the air-cupping technology was an evolution of the process that the Cans used to extract the juice from the grapes.”
Back then it was a really difficult process,” he laughed.”
The water would just come out of the vines, and that would be it.
“He said it took about 30 to 40 minutes for the water to be drained from the vines and the wine to flow through a vacuum.
Tom’s wine was very clear and had a very strong colour.”
You would have to taste it to really know if it was white or white wine,” he explained.”
But the quality was excellent.
“There was nothing that was overpowering.”
Tom is now one of only four winemasons in the world with an A+ grade certification.
“That was really important because the wine-making industry was going in the wrong direction, and there was no way that it was going to be able to compete with the big manufacturers,” he continued.
When Tom first got to Cairntell, he met the Cinnabar brothers, who were also winemakers.
“When I met the brothers they had just moved to Caiman,” he joked.
“So I said, ‘I want to work with you guys’.”
Tom said it was only a matter of time before the Cairs would start producing wines that were a step above the Caneys.
“After that we started doing a lot of the Cain’s stuff,” he noted.
He said his family would buy their grapes from the Cinawas and make their own.
His family’s history was so long that he would often hear stories about the Caias.
“One of my cousins went through the business at Caimon, and I think she was about the same age,” he recounted.
Cairntel is located in the heart of the town, on a small hill just south of the old city of Cairncross.
It is one of three wineries in the district, which was originally a coal mining town in the 1860s.
Today, Cairnnaclough is home to more than 100 wineries and more than 2,000 acres of agricultural land.
“This area was once a bustling area and was once one of Cavan’s major agricultural centres, but it has all fallen into disrepair