For a jockey, winning a race is all about the timing. Making sure you don’t miss the jump from the gates, knowing when to hold the horse back, sensing when to make your run.
Timing is also a key element of success for a winemaker. Knowing when to harvest your crop, assessing when to take the juice off the skins, understanding how to age the wine for the best outcome.
Former jockey turned winemaker David Fromberg certainly knows a thing or two about timing.
As a jockey struggling to keep his weight under the 47kg limit, he knew the time had come to find a new career.
As a winemaker passionate about creating wines that are designed to stay, not sprint, he knows how to pass the time while he waits.
But the wait is finally over for David, who earlier this year opened a cellar door for his Running Horse Wines label – almost two decades after he first planted vines on his family’s 56-acre property at Broke.
“I’ve always loved horses really,” he said.
“I grew up in Maroubra, but I always raised horses. My father has owned this place (at Broke) since ’88, and I used to have my pet horses up here, I used to always come up here on weekends or any chance I had … I was a bit more country orientated.
“I didn’t think I could be a jockey because I was a bit taller than the average and then I jumped on the scales, and I was 47 kilo, so I thought ‘I will, I’ll have a go.’
“My apprenticeship went from ’93 to ’97, and when I finished my apprenticeship, I went overseas for three years. When I came back I had maybe ten rides and rode three winners, but maintaining the weight (under 47kg) got the better of me and I decided to build the vineyard (on my father’s property).
“We had the land here, and I decided to build a vineyard, that was the naiveté of it. That was in 2000. And now years later, I’ve finally built a cellar door too.
“I wasn't going to borrow money to build it, so I had to keep chipping away to get the money. And then in the meantime, I also made all the vintages that I’ve been making.”
Now open to the public, Running Horse Wines is located in the picturesque surrounds of the Broke Fordwich region, overlooking the iconic Yellow Rock escarpment.
With such a beautiful landscape around him, David knew his cellar door had to be something special to make the most of the views.
Designed by his friend David Kaunitz from Kaunitz Yeung Architecture, the complex has been constructed using six shipping containers that have been stacked purposefully, but with a seemingly haphazard appearance, to elevate the cellar door above the level of the vineyard.
The design makes the most of the tapestry of views surrounding the complex, with the cellar door orientated to showcase the distant mountains.
Timber, glass, copper and steel feature prominently within the interior design of the complex, with a mass display of wine bottles sporting Running Horse Wines’ distinctive spiral label creating an eye-catching feature along one wall. The true centrepiece of the space, however, is the gleaming glass-topped bar, which incorporates a series of light panels that help to showcase the colour and clarity of the wine being tasted.
What’s most striking about Running Horse Wines, however, is what’s in the bottles.
David is one of the few vignerons in the region specifically producing aged wines, with his range including varieties of Semillon, Verdelho, Rose and Shiraz.
The wines are produced using fruit from his vines and made by Pokolbin-based contract winemaker Nick Patterson.
“You can go through hundreds of cellar doors and never get to look at a range of wines so different,” David said.
“You get to do vertical tastings; you get to look at wines that are 12-years-old that are still drinking fantastic but have real bottle aged characters coming through. Semillons that are 13 years old that still look like they’re six years old, or Verdelhos that are the same, they just age fantastically well.”
David said the 2005, 2006 and 2011 Shiraz were particularly good right now, offering a classic, spicy Hunter bouquet that complements the smooth palate of cherries and subtle mint, with silky tannins and hints of chocolate and vanilla from 18 months maturation in new French Oak.
RUNNING HORSE WINES
LOCATION 1133 Milbrodale Road, Broke Fordwich
CONTACT David on 0474 156 786
Find them on Facebook and Instagram!