Stuart's winemaking philosophy is to limit all techniques to what he calls "basic principals", where only fundamental techniques are used to make his wine. He favours natural acidity, wild yeasts and his wines are stabilised naturally.
He does not use fining agents, rather utilising all the natural characters of each variety to create unique character and interest. Many of his wines are unfiltered and many have only minimal amounts of sulphur added and nothing else.
He believes that the best wines are the purest wines; wines which reveal qualities of the grapes they were produced from. In 2017 Stuart begun farming his own vineyard. An important step for a producer who is always focused on quality and technique. He believes in creating a healthy ecology below and above ground; where he has never used herbicides.
Stuart began his wine journey in 2005 and in 2014, after completing a winemaking degree and 9 years working in cellars in Australia and Europe he launched Alkimi Wines. His skill and knowledge has been gained from his time in Europe at Emmerich Knoll in Austria, Stephene Ogier and Chateau Montredon in France, and Cascina Ca'Nova in Piedmont, where he learned the ideals of making wine which focussed on how the characteristics of the vineyard could be garnered to enhance the innate qualities of the grapes in order to bring out the best in the wine.
His love and passion of the Rhône sprung from his time at Henschke, South Australia, where he experienced for the first time the Rhône varieties and qualities of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre displayed by Australian grown grapes yet handled with the finesse of the old world winemaking.
Stuart's admiration of the Rhône style interpretation grew further during his experience of vintage at Yarra Yering, in the Yarra Valley, Australia, where he was further immersed into a traditions of European winemaking where the touch of a winemaker was light, enabling the wine to take its course from the very nature of which it was borne.
Stuart has been living and working in the Yarra Valley since 2012, most notably, he worked as Winemaker with Mac Forbes Wines, learning how farming cooler vineyard sites can produce elegant wines with depth and character. Stuart has been Senior Winemaker at Kellybrook winery since 2017 and has been majorly influential in the rejuvenation of both the wines and the branding.
Stuart focuses his attention on the Yarra Valley, yet he sources fruit far and wide in Victoria to ensure the best growing conditions for the specific varieties. He believes that the Yarra Valley has a great potential for the Rhône Valley varieties.
It is only natural that the drive of Alkimi is to produce wines which pay homage to the old philosophy of winemaking, where tradition melds with the annual delivery of a vintage held in the hands of nature, artistry and sometimes synchronicity.
Alkimi - The Name
The brand name is taken from the phonetic spelling of Alchemy. Aligning to a strong resonance of the meaning of 'creating the elixir of life' - in this case the wine.
The symbolism of the Alkimi brand mark draws upon the basic representation of Alchemy through fire, water, air and earth. These components all have a role in the cause and effect and therefore the beauty and chaos of nature. And from nature, Stuart gives the consideration and respect to the season, the soil and the fruit.
The label artwork was created by artist, Christopher Shelton, as an original piece which runs across the Alkimi family of wines.