Article from The Australian March 14, 2015
RED Feet is the venture of Damien Star and his sister Megan – he the winemaker and viticulturist, she the business manager.
Damien, graduated with a wine science degree from Charles Sturt University in 2001 and worked in the Riverina and Riverland before heading to Germany, Fingerlakes in the US and finally the Kamberra winery in the ACT. Megan, grew up on a farm with Damien and understood the importance of quality and value-adding. She followed this lead with a degree in agricultural economics and a PhD in natural resource management.
The most valuable three years of Damien’s career were spent at Kamberra with Alex McKay (and indirectly the Hardys winemaking team headed by Paul Lapsley), which came to an abrupt end when Constellation Wines (then Hardys’ owner) mothballed the winery in 2006. Damien found his way to the King Valley, working on a short-term basis for several local wineries, before he and Megan bought a 33ha property at 49 Cemetery Lane, King Valley, which had a house, a dilapidated vineyard and farm shed.
They replanted the vineyard with one hectare of sangiovese, montepulciano, nebbiolo and zinfandel. The shed, with its earth floor, became a de facto winery, its pride and joy a 300kg hand-operated basket press. The vineyard will produce the first vintage this year; just as well, given that Red Feet’s most important contract grower’s vineyard was wiped out by hail last month. When I rang Damien to learn more, an excavator and concrete mixer were onsite. “It’ll be great to work on a concrete winery floor again,” he observed drily.
It’s still an angels-on-a-pinhead exercise, part financed by consultancy work, contract winemaking and running cattle. When complimented on the label design, he replied: “It’s tough out there: you have to get everything right.”
2014 Red Feet King Valley Riesling
Cold fermented in cool room in small tanks. Quartz white; the alcohol caused me to blink before I tasted the wine, imagining it would be sweet, the only question how sweet; in fact, it’s dry, which makes its attractive citrus and mineral flavours all the more compelling. There’s more down the track as it develops with bottle age. 10.8% alc; screwcap; 91 points; drink to 2024; $25
2012 Red Feet King Valley Sangiovese
Open fermented and hand plunged. No question about the expression of varietal character; red cherry, sour cherry and persistent savoury tannins are all in the foreground. A little more fruit would make an even better wine, but this is no slouch. 12.7% alc; screwcap; 92 points; drink to 2018; $35
2012 Red Feet King Valley Syrah
Some whole bunch included along with cold soak; open fermented and hand plunged. Red Feet continues its track record as it moves from white wine to red; this is a distinctly superior King Valley syrah, the colour bright and deep, the flavours of spiced plum and blackberry cushioned on expertly balanced and integrated tannins and oak. The finish, too, is excellent. 12.6% alc; screwcap; 95 points; drink to 2028; $35
RED FEET WINERY
49 Cemetery Ln King, Valley
Thursday to Sunday
03 5729 3535