Strong Barossa lineage and a desire to create a new Barossa history for herself, led Seppeltsfield Road Distillers’ Nicole Durdin back to the Barossa after two years abroad.
As owners of Barossa’s first commercial gin distillery, Nicole reflects on the all-important blend of history and innovation for the Barossa.
“My husband, Jon, and I always had a plan to come home. Barossa is in my heart and I’ve always felt a strong connection. (the Barossa) is part of me as much as I am a part of it,” said Nicole.
Nicole’s family were among the first settlers in the Barossa in 1840s and 1850s, making Nicole a seventh-generation Barossan.
“Since my family first settled here, we’ve had a consistent connection with the Barossa. Very few generations have actually left ” said Nicole.
My husband, Jon, and I always had a plan to come home. Barossa is in my heart and I’ve always felt a strong connection. (the Barossa) is part of me as much as I am a part of it.
— Nicole Durdin, Seppeltstfield Rd Distillers
Previous generations are connected to AP John Coopers and Seppeltsfield Winery, both important names in the fabric of Barossa’s wine industry.
Seppeltsfield Road Distillers are creating a new history at the forefront of a Barossa distilling movement Seppeltsfield Road Distillers’ range of gins has been praised both locally and internationally, earning them 28 medals, alongside being named Australian Gin Distiller of the Year in 2018 and winning ‘Best New Tourism Business’ in the 2019 SA Tourism Awards.
While Barossa has a long history of distilling and the idea behind distilling is not new, it’s an art that has waned over time. Nicole and her team are now working to bring premium brandy back to the Barossa. “Over the next three to four years we intend to build on our family story to create a Barossa brandy, using historic barrels from AP John and Semillon from 100-year-old vines.
“It’s really important to me to be able to bring Barossa heritage up to current times.”
The ‘rose between the thorns’, with over 80 cellar doors across the Barossa, Seppeltsfield Road Distillers are giving people another reason to visit the Barossa.
“Gin breaks up a day of wine. It’s the ultimate palate cleanser,” laughs Nicole.
“We’re proud to be part of the new Barossa, opening visitor and our community’s eyes to the different offerings we have and recognising that as a region, we are not only about wine.”
“The community is supportive of new business development and this kind of innovation doesn’t happen without outside influence.”
When she’s not distilling, you can find Nicole, a classically trained musician, performing in musicals like West Side Story, teaching music or following in the footsteps of her forefathers through her involvement in the Tanunda Town Band.
“Music was such a huge part of life for the community who settled here and this continues today. It has the innate ability to bring people together.
“Art and culture are incredibly important to any region.” said Nicole, “ wine and music go hand in hand, as does gin. It’s common for me to practice while I’m distilling’
“The Barossa is a close-knit community. We always talk about the strength of the Barossa referral system, where businesses are happy to recommend the next cellar door, café or restaurant. It is unique and part of what makes the Barossa special – the sense of community – supportive and resilient, no matter what industry you’re in.“
Everyone, even an esteemed classically trained musician and award-winning distiller, needs mentors and peers to bounce ideas off. Nicole proudly acknowledges her family and the community notably:
Dave Lehmann “he’s a great mentor from a wine industry perspective and the inspiration for our Shiraz Gin.”
Warren Randall and Nicole Hodgson (Seppeltsfield) “for thinking outside the square and bringing Barossa’s heritage back to life in a true way”
Seppeltsfield Road Business Alliance “a great group to be part of with so many different ideas and advice that we can draw from”