Breaking Ground is the initiative of 3rd generation grower/maker Ollie Margan (Ba. Viticulture & Oenology Adelaide University). Growing up around the inception of Margan Wines in 1997, viticulture was something he learnt from an early age. From the age of 15 he started working harvest in the winery and has now completed 17 vintages in total. The fruit for this range is sourced from distinctive parcels within the 100-hectare family holdings. The resultant wines are reflective of Ollie’s time spent at home on the family farm, but also experience gained from working in other regions such as Central Otago, Bordeaux and the Adelaide Hills.

The Margan house style has always centred on showcasing the vineyard, eliciting a sense of place and speaking true of variety. The Breaking Ground range does not deviate from this mission statement. Where it perhaps differs, is in its pursuit for liveliness and spark. Slightly earlier picks, indigenous yeast and an earlier release, yield wines that favour approachability and refreshment in their youth. Not to say these wines aren’t to be taken seriously, rather they present a slightly different approach in the winery; one of less control and dictation.

Notes from Ollie:

Wines of texture and energy, that speak clearly, both of each other and of place – that was the brief. Emphasis is placed on echoing the dolorite rich volcanic soils of Broke Fordwich, Wonnarua country, where my family have been growing grapes and making wine for more than 25 years. This unique sub region of the Hunter Valley is defined by the Fordwich Sill, which was formed when magma rose and spilled on the valley floor some 200 million years ago. The red clay topsoil provides a strong buffering capacity due to its water holding ability and enriched ionic concentration, allowing flavour to develop in full, without sacrificing acidity.

These wines favour vineyard personality over technical precision, though I see varietal correctness and microbiological soundness as key to articulating site. The flavour of artifice is avoided, instead fermentation and maturation vessels were chosen to best frame the distinctive fruit profile of our vineyards. We are extremely proud of our 100 hectares of self-managed, sustainably certified vines and these wines intend to provide a lens for our love of farming and gentle hand in the winery

2021 MARGAN ‘BREAKING GROUND’ SEMILLON     Alc: 11.5%     pH: 3.08     TA: 7.6                         

40yr old Semillon vines from the Fordwich Hill vineyard. Half was cold settled and fermented neutral and clean, half was fermented on full solids for mid palate texture. No adjustments made. Extended contact with fine lees to further build mid palate weight for early enjoyment. Bentonite stabilised. Coarse filtered and sulphured at bottling. The cool ripening period of V2021, and resultant chemistry of the grapes at ripeness, meant that I really didn’t muck around with the Semillon.

Vegan – Herbicide/Chem fertiliser free vineyard (Copper, Sulphur, Phosphoric acid foliar sprays used)

2021 MARGAN ‘BREAKING GROUND’ ALBARINO     Alc: 12%     pH: 3.31     TA: 8.1                             

It seemed like the acidity of the Alby this year was never going to soften below verjuice level, but patience prevailed. Four-ish days on skins until indigenous fermentation kicked off. Pressed to ‘Cleopatra’, our Nico Velo truncated concrete tank. Rack and returned; rested on fine lees for four months. The concrete really enhanced the tension in the wine by tightening up the dry extracts derived from the period on skins. Bright aromatics and juicy orchard fruit mid palate. Unfined/unfiltered.

Vegan – Organically in conversion vineyard (Copper, Sulphur foliar sprays used)

2021 MARGAN ‘BREAKING GROUND’ CHARDONNAY     Alc: 12%     pH: 3.34     TA: 7.8                     

Fruit sourced from our Saxonvale vineyard, planted in the 70’s. Mostly I10V1 clone, which provides a particularly bright and lean fruit profile. As such, texture is built through indigenous ferment on light solids in a mixture of stainless steel, new Stockinger and seasoned French 500L oak puncheons. I sought to find balance between fresh lees reduction, crispness of primary fruit with a slight lift of wild ferment aldehyde. This tends towards the finer end of the Chardonnay spectrum with no malolactic fermentation. Unfined/unfiltered.

Vegan – Herbicide/Chem fertiliser free vineyard (Copper, Sulphur, Phosphoric acid foliar sprays used)

2021 MARGAN ‘BREAKING GROUND’ BARBERA     Alc: 13%     pH: 3.58     TA: 6.4                               

The young vines from our 1998 established Ceres Hill vineyard. Comprised of the earlier picks from the vineyard with the inclusion of whole bunch clusters, which acts to bind and soften the naturally high acidity. Indigenous ferment, no rectification, pressed off after partial ferment. Rested in a combination of stainless steel and old French oak. Unfined/unfiltered.

Vegan – Organically in conversion vineyard (Copper, Sulphur foliar sprays used)

2021 MARGAN ‘BREAKING GROUND’ SHIRAZ     Alc: 13%     pH: 3.47     TA: 6.6                                    

40yr old vines from our Timbervines site. Picked on the early side of 13. Whole berry ferment with no must rectification; carbonic derived confection was encouraged to a point. Pressed to stainless steel partway through ferment to minimize extraction. Sulphured and racked to bottle post malo-lactic fermentation with no filtration. Retains a slight effervescence. My interpretation of shiraz from our volcanic soil.

Vegan – Herbicide/Chem fertiliser free vineyard (Copper, Sulphur, Phosphoric acid foliar sprays used)


You can now purchase the entire range here.