About Smythe Road Vintners


grahame tonkin smythe road

The Tonkin family estate vineyard became a reality for Grahame and Cath in late 1990s. Two South Australians based in Melbourne , Grahame had spent most of his career in the wine & liquor industry and Cath being a Barossa girl, both were keen to return to their roots.

Cath’s family had heard a whisper that a property in the Stonewell district of the Barossa Valley that the owners wanted to sell. Phone calls and visits were made and a deal struck, without the need of a real estate agent. A “rare as hens teeth” property without vines but with a home – the potential was exciting for Grahame who’d always romanced about producing his own label and Cath was happy to be closer to family and friends.

Long time colleague and legendary winemaker James Irvine rated this as premium shiraz country, because of the shallow top soil, good Barossa clay and deep dispersed granite – all typical of the Stonewell sub region. On James’ advice, clones of Barossa Shiraz vines were hand planted in 2000.

The vintage in 2003 was handpicked and set the benchmarks for our single block Pure Barossa Shiraz. It won best new release with 5 stars in ‘Winestate’ magazine. We were onto something.


“To maximise the unique qualities of the individual vineyard and produce wines that match the traditional Barossa style with a modern voice”

Our goal is to produce shiraz grapes of intense fruit character, balanced with oak and elegant tannins. These are essential qualities for premium Barossa Shiraz. Our philosophy is to maximise this quality in producing a wine that matches the traditional Barossa style which is gradually being lost to the mass commercial styles of the major companies.

We keep the yield to under 3 tonne to the acre and harvest the grapes to ensure the wine is fermented in a single batch to preserve the rich fruit character. The style of SMYTHE ROAD PURE BAROSSA SHIRAZ is further developed through maturation in a range of French and American oak barrels for a minimum of twelve months. The finished wine reflects the care and dedication of a hand-crafted product still with the influence of the legendary Jim Irvine and outstanding talent of acclaimed winemaker Joanne Irvine.