New era in wine

Winemaker Boxi Zhen and Ballandean Estate’s 2023 Minimal Intervention Series. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Ballandean Estate, Queensland’s oldest family-owned and operated winery, has unveiled its inaugural minimal intervention wine series, signalling a new era of innovation under the guidance of young winemaker Boxi Zhen.

Inspired by the exceptional Malvasia vintage of 2023, Zhen’s passion for Granite Belt fruit shines through in a collection that celebrates terroir and craftsmanship.

The 2023 Minimal Intervention Series from Ballandean Estate features a trio of distinctive wines: Wild Ferment Viognier, Malvasia, and Wild Ferment GFM (Giallo Fiano Malvasia).

Mr Zhen started a new chapter in his winemaking career last vintage.

“Ballandean Estate may be Queensland’s oldest family-run winery, but it built its reputation on innovation and a dash of rebellion.“

Embracing the unique qualities of Granite Belt fruit, Zhen approaches winemaking with reverence, viewing each grape as a cherished friend.

“I treat these grapes as a best friend, try to bring the best out in them, love them with loyalty and the utmost respect for where they came from – terroir!“ he said.

Utilising wild yeast, Zhen harnesses nature’s gift to craft wines that showcase varietal characteristics and express his creativity.

The minimal intervention approach employed by Zhen aims to preserve the intrinsic acidity and complexity of the fruit, resulting in wines with vibrant flavours and textured layers.

Master of Wine Peter Scudamore-Smith praised the series for its innovative appeal, particularly among younger consumers, noting its natural evolution and distinctive qualities.

Wine critic Steve Leszczynski commends the 2023 Malvasia for its unique style and complex flavour profile, describing it as “considered, curious, and delicious.“

Harvested in batches and fermented with wild yeast, the wine exemplifies Zhen’s commitment to pushing boundaries and exploring new techniques.

Zhen’s journey in winemaking began in Adelaide, where he pursued a Master of Viticulture & Oenology at the University of Adelaide after relocating from China at the age of 24.

With a background in Food Science and a passion for research and development, Zhen is well-positioned to carry forward Ballandean Estate’s tradition of excellence, following in the footsteps of former winemaker Dylan Rhymer.