MMAD Vineyard release 2022 grenache and shiraz wines

By J'aime Cardillo

28 Feb, 2024

MMAD will release its 2022 grenache and shiraz on Friday March 1. We spoke to chief winemaker Adam Wadewitz about producing some of the best grenache, shiraz and chenin in McLaren Vale.

MMAD Vineyard will release its highly anticipated 2022 Blewitt Springs Grenache and Blewitt Springs Shiraz on Friday March 1. It's just the second release for the McLaren Vale label who has shot to success in its short tenure. Established in 2021, there are some familiar faces behind MMAD – Martin Shaw, Michael Hill Smith MW, Adam Wadewitz and David LeMire MW. 

The quartet are of Shaw + Smith and Tolpuddle fame. Shaw + Smith was founded by industry giants (and cousins) Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith MW in 1989; the duo then purchased the Tolpuddle vineyard in 2011. After the success of Shaw + Smith and Tolpuddle, MMAD was launched.

Adam Wadewitz is chief winemaker and co-CEO with David LeMire MW, who is also head of sales and marketing. Together, with Martin and Michael, they created MMAD (a namesake label, in a way, with each letter of their first names used to create MMAD – pronounced 'MAD'). MMAD is a single-vineyard label that highlights the beauty of Blewitt Springs.

"Together we had recognised that there was this really special little patch of McLaren Vale called Blewitt Springs, and we mentioned to each other that if there was ever an opportunity to have some sort of connection to a vineyard there, we would be super excited. So when that opportunity arose at the end of 2020, and with some old vines planted in that neck of the woods, it was just too tempting to not become part of that kind of history," says chief winemaker Adam Wadewitz.

Adam Wadewitz, Michael Hill Smith MW, Martin Shaw, David LeMire MW.Adam Wadewitz, Michael Hill Smith MW, Martin Shaw, and David LeMire MW.

At the end of 2023 MMAD released the first half of its second release – the 2022 Blewitt Springs Chenin Blanc and the 2023 Blewitt Springs Rosé (a blend of grenache, shiraz, cabernet and chenin blanc). And now, comes the 2022 Blewitt Springs Grenache and the 2022 Blewitt Springs Shiraz.

The differences between the 2021 and 2022 releases come from continuous learning, says Adam. The 2022 shiraz sees more whole bunch used. "We felt like, 'wow, there is so much power', so some of that savouriness that some whole bunch can bring has made its way into the wine." And for the grenache, it meant a couple of different picks in the vineyard. "Really getting to understand the little patches within the 1939-planted block, a little more thinking about longer time on skins, so extended kind of maceration but not hard plunging, just waiting. And so a couple of batches have gone that way and added a really lovely detail to the natural dry-growing power that you get from old vines in that area."

The dry-grown grenache vines were planted 1939. Adam says back then, sites were selected based on their suitability to farming. "The vines ripened pretty beautifully in the late part of summer into autumn. And I think that's the magic of why that place has stood the test of time. And to be unirrigated in Australia, in the right spot, is a pretty unique proposition, and when you're tying those old vines, it's pretty special."

MMAD VineyardThe MMAD vineyard in McLaren Vale.

When it comes to expanding, Adam says the ethos at MMAD is connection. "When you look at anything we've worked with, we're all about going deep and not going wide – so we want to get deep to understanding and really unlock every little bit of detail that we can... We're there for the grenache, the chenin has been a revelation, and shiraz has been working for a long time in that place – so that kind of sums up how we feel about that little pocket of Blewitt Springs."

And while the team are pretty set on staying with the three key varietals, Adam says he wouldn't rule out some mataro. "I wouldn't say no to a couple of vines of mataro at some point, but that's a hark back to old Australian plantings that bring savouriness."

He says the wines, being single-vineyard wines, are a finite resource (so get in quick). "But they're still a bit of a discovery wine and it's been exciting to see the way people have embraced them. A lot of restaurants around the country have been super excited to see them, which is nice, and it's been great to share our interpretation of this wonderful site."

At the time of our call, Adam is in the vineyard for Shaw + Smith. "We're in the middle of sauvignon blanc harvest, and next week we'll wrap it up. And I think there's a few people that get really unhappy if we don't have enough sauvignon." He says that while the yields may not be the biggest they've ever been, the quality looks great. "And that's the silver lining we're after."

2022 MMAD Vineyard Blewitt Springs Grenache McLaren Vale

2022 MMAD Vineyard Blewitt Springs Grenache McLaren Vale

The second release of the MMAD Vineyard label, and off its 1939-planted Blewitt Springs vineyard. About 15% whole bunches, fermented in wood and steel, maturation in concrete and large old French oak. Unlike the 2022 shiraz, this takes time to emerge from the glass. It’s all there, though. There’s a brooding quality at present, with nori, iodine and ferrous notes filtering up through dark red cherry, plum, raspberry and sultry florals. Some spicy, musky characters emerge with air. Tannin is a meaningful factor, a pleasingly natural grape-derived affair, rugged but never rustic. A seriously compelling wine, and further proof of how thrilling McLaren Vale grenache is right now, for both its quality and the unparalleled diversity in top-flight expressions. – Marcus Ellis, Halliday Wine Companion, 97 points

RRP $75 | Drink to 2034

2022 MMAD Vineyard Blewitt Springs Shiraz McLaren Vale

2022 MMAD Vineyard Blewitt Springs Shiraz McLaren Vale

This is a seriously impressive release, showcasing winemaker Adam Wadewitz’s learnings from the first vintage and the bounty of full viticultural control. The old-vine fruit could easily handle about one-third whole bunch, a Wadewitz favourite. And that impact is profoundly positive, weaving in spicy, smoky notes and complexing tannins to provide exceptional tension without greenness. Red and blue fruits, violet and dusky red florals, coal dust, anise, cacao and roasted coffee bean. Intensity on the palate at moderate alcohol and no heavy mid-palate sweetness nor new oak. Rather, it is poised throughout, with fruit intensity seamlessly meshed into a silky, supple but aptly assertive structure, a ferrous nori/kelp mineral note underpinning. For a site purchased prizing grenache, this is a revelation. – Marcus Ellis, Halliday Wine Companion, 97 points

RRP $75 | Drink to 2037

2022 MMAD Vineyard Blewitt Springs Chenin Blanc McLaren Vale

2022 MMAD Vineyard Blewitt Springs Chenin Blanc McLaren Vale

The second release of this wine sees more depth and texture, reflecting an evolution of making after winemaker Adam Wadewitz got the measure of grape and site – on Maslin sands over ironstone. There’s chew and race in equal measure, with tart golden apples, ripe Meyer lemon, cool stone fruit, sea spray and savoury elements of crushed fennel seed, white pepper and a waxy chalkiness. Integrated barrel/mlf notes round out flavour and feel, with an intriguing saline slip to the palate complementing the subtle grip and the pleasing rip of natural acid. It’s a superb wine, thrillingly refined and detailed. The upward trajectory of this project is one to watch very closely. – Marcus Ellis, Halliday Wine Companion, 97 points

RRP $49 | Drink to 2033

For more information and to shop the MMAD Vineyard 2022 wines visit