Kellermeister was originally founded by Ralph Jones in 1976 and named in honour of his German mother, who died when he as a young boy and whose maiden name he recalled as being ‘Keller’ before being anglicized.
Ralph’s ambition in establishing Kellermeister was to “play the Curtain Raiser” in the Barossa Valley, hand making, hand bottling and hand selling small batch wines of true character. With his beloved wife Val beside him he purchased a century old Shiraz vineyard (known as Kellermeister’s Black Sash vineyard today) on a hill near the sleepy southern Barossa town of Lyndoch, and later built the now famous yet still humble mud brick cellar from the scorched red earth of that unique and gloriously located site.
Upon Ralph’s retirement in 2012, Kellermeister winemaker Mark Pearce and his family, purchased the business. Surrounded by a young, close knit team, Mark is committed to building on the legacy that its founders began more than 43 years ago.
Born in South Australia, Mark Pearce began his love affair with wine while living and working in London. With his wife, Susanna, Mark would often escape to the great cities and historic wine regions of Europe at weekends.
Since joining Kellermeister from the historic and much loved Wirra Wirra in McLaren Vale in 2009, Mark has successfully worked through challenging times to ensure the survival of the winery and its brands; established considerable pedigree, particularly around the winery’s Shiraz and Grenache based wines in recent years.
His winemaking focus is on continuing to preserve Kellermeister’s best wines, while introducing new wines, crafted with the intention of expressing the purity of the provenance of the Barossa and the stories behind them.
Under Mark’s leadership the winery achieved significant success on the world’s biggest stage, the International Wine Challenge, in London in 2012 being awarded the World’s Best Shiraz, Australia’s Best Shiraz and the Barossa’s Best Shiraz and then in 2013 being awarded the Barossa’s Best Shiraz, Grenache and Mataro at the London International Wine Competition, again at the London Wine Competition named the 2019 Wine of the Year and taking out Best Quality Wine, Best Australian Wine and Best Shiraz Wine and in 2023 being named Best Barossa Shiraz at the London International Wine Competition in 2023.
Today, the winery is rated in the top 7% of Australian producers by Australia’s most authoritative and acclaimed wine critic, James Halliday.
For many years Kellermeister has been hand selecting grapes from a rich tapestry of vineyards throughout the Barossa and Eden Valley. From the gnarly old shiraz vines that line the road that leads to the famous mudbrick cellar door, to the rows of riesling that follow the contours of the Eden Valley hillside — each vineyard has it’s own unique characteristics.
Both in our estate vineyards and working closely with our growers we try and capture these varying colours, textures and flavours in all of the wines we make.
Mark, Susanna and their three young children live on their own vineyard property, Threefold Farm, near Angaston in the Barossa Valley.