INTERVIEW WITH TARAS OCHOTA OF OCHOTA BARRELS

At Thievery we have an affection for pouring natural wines, these wines are expressive, textural and often very easy drinking and the perfect side kick to Middle Eastern cuisine. We feature natural wine producers from France, Italy, Czech republic and most importantly Australia. As an advocate of local produce the team take great delight in serving natural Australian wine and when new vintage releases start to trickle in, we try snatch up the limited release wines from Ochota Barrels.

Taras Ochota (who was nominated for Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine, Winemaker of the Year 2017) has been producing exceptional wines out of his winery in the Adelaide Hills. Influenced by his extensive wine-making travels throughout Europe and America, Taras is now sourcing and producing some of the most exciting and groundbreaking examples of Australian natural wine. We are delighted to be pouring and pairing his wines at the restaurant and recently caught up with him to find out a little more.

How did Ochota Barrels come to be?

TO – After a flying winemaking role in Europe, I wanted to move back to the Adelaide Hills with my honey of a wife amber, have some children, plant some veggies, get some bees, chooks, cats, sheep, alpacas, baby guinea pigs and potter in my shed to hopefully make yummy wholistic wine, with my hands…and spend more time in a hammock.

Why did you adopt a natural and minimal intervention winemaking style?

TO – Our children roam our property grazing on fruit and vegetables without having to wash off nasty chemicals. It made sense to do the same with our wines as I drink heaps of them myself (research and development of course) along with our family and friends who also love to empty bottles. Soils that are alive seem to help make delicious wines that have purity and energy.

What is a day in the life of a wine maker like?

TO- Vintage is a bit nuts, but pretty relaxed compared to my previous life when I was employed as a winemaker. If I can do it tomorrow I’d just close the winery door.

I spend a lot of time tasting and shovelling ….and tasting. The rest of the year involves lots of travel interstate and to the places we export to around the world, but mostly fooling around on our property in basket range with my family.

What was the inspiration behind the Botanicals Of The Basket Range?

TO- I spent a lot of time working in southern Italy drinking lots of crazy digestives, as dinner was always so late. I’d have a few on ice at the end of a meal and just float off to bed. It’s amazing!

At home we have so many botanicals growing that one day my son and I wandered around and we filled a basket, tied it up like a big bouquet garni and popped it in to a continuous ferment I had going. I had no idea what I was doing ….and I still don’t, but I do still like floating off to bed.

What are you currently drinking?

TO- I have this favourite drink at our Wood Oven Wine Lounge ‘Lost in a Forest’ – It’s a Mezcal based Margherita made from fresh Meyer lemon juice off a tree we have going boonta at home, a touch of agave syrup, Cointreau, and rimmed with this insane dried agave worm chilli salt I brought back from Mexico. It’s a good way to get dosed with a heap of Vitamin C – that’s my reasoning, nothing to do with my mouth watering like a fountain as I write this.

 

Until they’re gone the below new release Ochoata Barrels wines will feature at Thievery. Make a reservation via our website and order one from the bar.

2017 – weird berries in the woods adelaide hills gewürztraminer

2017 – surfer rosa onkaparinga hills garnacha

2017- the price of silence adelaide hills gamay

2017- botanicals of the basket range

 

-Paul Flynn