The Tonic Wines Story
Tonic Wines is a small batch project that was started by two friends with similarly nerdy wine habits. Glenn is an experienced winemaker with genuinely practical skills…actually quite a lot of them. Dan’s background was in wine drinking, talking and educating and after a stint as a wine-stained cellar hand he found he knew ‘righty-tighty, lefty loosy’ but that was about it. Glenn took over full ownership and running of Tonic in 2019. The Tonic philosophy encompasses a few simple things. First and foremost wine should be a delicious drink. It should also be a bit of fun and enjoyed with good friends in a riotous or relaxed setting. Glenn doesn't really believe in boring wine. It’s a waste of time for your senses and deprives you of a memorable experience.
Why's this wine for you?

You’re going to need to be quick here. When Tonic Wines drop, artisanal and small-batch winemaking fans go wild. Sommeliers the country over rejoice and lovers of the range will tell you that once you’ve had your first sip of ‘Tonic’ you’ll be hooked for life.

Those who remember when Tonic wines first started hitting the wine lists a number of years ago will recall the sense of uniqueness they felt on first tasting them. Here were wines, fine wines no less, that were delicious, chock full of personality and just fun to drink. And what’s with those funny shaped bottles?

Started by two wine-making friends, Glenn Barry and Dan Coward in Clare Valley with the aim of really just making some interesting bottles to drink, Tonic Wines have grown to be one of the most respected ‘cult’ producers in the country - fans eagerly await the new releases to see what Barry (now with full ownership) will come up with next.

(6 or more)
$36.99 per bottle

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The Brief
Net Volume
Cellar to
How's it taste?
Very much in the citrus spectrum, perhaps even crisp granny smith apples. It’s very bright with an almost electric feel to the palate. Lithe and fresh, clean and focussed, long. It’s lighter than what we’re used to, but we like it.
How was it made?
The 2020 vintage in the Adelaide Hills was pretty bloody rough on all concerned, with a terrible fire ripping through Lenswood and surrounds. Heartbreakingly we saw the loss of the Bowe-Lees Vineyard (our source of both Chardonnay and Nebbiolo). And although we are devastated we can’t make wine from this vineyard anymore, we’re more devastated for Michael and Ann who lost 20+ years of meticulous work in a very sad single day.With this fire happening quite late in the growing season, it ended up being pretty difficult to track down Chardonnay in the Hills. So we reached out to some great friends in the Yarra Valley who helped us source some fruit from a vineyard in Coldstream. We were lucky to get a hold of anything, actually, given the agonisingly small crops of Chardonnay in the Yarra in 2020. The whole process was a bit of a logistical nightmare (from which we are only now recovering) with fruit from the Yarra unable to be transported out of the region due to phylloxera.In the end, the usual process of making Tonic Chardonnay had to be manipulated - it was quite the Auditors wet dream with many forms and i’s dotted! We crushed the fruit in the Yarra and shipped the whole juice over to the Hills for transfer to oak and fermentation. From there our credo of benign neglect took over, and we let the juice do its thing. We found the wine quite different to the Hills fruit we’re used to so it spent more time in oak then usual, on full lees and unsulphured of course, until July of 2021 when it was racked to tank for a couple of weeks before bottling.It’s lighter than previous Tonic Chardonnays, very much in the citrus spectrum, perhaps even crisp granny smith apples. It’s very bright with an almost electric feel to the palate. Lithe and fresh, clean and focussed, long. It’s lighter than what we’re used to, but we like it (lucky). A very easy to drink Chardonnay from what was, all in all, a tough year all round.
The Who
Critic Reviews
Expert Review
Expert Review
94 Points
Gary Walsh - The Wine Front
Grapefruit, poached green apple with cinnamon, a cool mint and floral perfume. It’s tight, citrussy, with tangy acidity and a nutty distinctly saline/briny character, fine powdery texture, and a bright and zesty finish of excellent length. Offers the classic Tonic style, but with the quiet intensity and fine lines of Yarra Chardonnay. I really like it. Distinctive.
Customer Reviews
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