"Located in South Australia's Barossa Valley, we are inspired by the characters, the history and vineyards of this great wine region."
History and People
After managing a B&B in the south of France, Martin and Vivienne Rawlinson were inspired to establish St John’s Road in 2001, with a vision to produce full flavoured, yet elegant, wines which reflect the essence of the Barossa.
The current owners aim to uphold Martin and Vivienne’s vision of producing wines that are not only true to the Barossa, but also the sub districts and vineyards they are grown in.
James was born and raised on a farm in the Gomersal/Sheaoak Log region of the Barossa Valley, an area well populated by Lienerts thanks to James’ large family.
Working to his strengths, and interests, James enrolled in a Bachelor of Science (Organic and Inorganic Chemistry) at the University of Adelaide, following high school. With winemaking as his second preference he jumped at the offer of an honours position in wine chemistry, seeing this as a valuable step in the right direction. The endless hours in a “windowless lab” confirmed to James that, regardless of his love for chemistry, the Mad Professor life was not for him! The allure of winemaking (and being outdoors) proved irresistible, and to cement this decision, James completed a Masters in Oenology in 2011 - 2012.
Amongst all this study James has still managed to fit in 14 vintages at wine regions around the world. Following his first stint at Penfolds in 2008 he has since completed vintages in New Zealand, USA and Germany, now finding himself back in his hometown working as winemaker for St John’s Road.
Keeda grew up in Kingston, 250km south-east of Adelaide. Whilst winemaking, specifically, wasn't her first consideration she has always had a passion for agriculture and a path of winemaking seemed a compelling direction to further explore this interest.
It was during her Oenology degree at the University of Adelaide that Keeda began work at O'Leary Walker Wines (OLW) in the Clare Valley. Her initial position as cellar hand quickly morphed into winemaker and before long she was over-seeing four full-time cellar hands, five casual vintage employees and working directly with David Walker and Nick O'Leary, a position she held for 10 years. Along with maintaining and executing the blend portfolio for OLW, Keeda also worked as a grower liaison, harvest logistics person, director of operations of red ferments and an oak and equipment procurer for the company.
In addition to her work at OLW, Keeda has winemaking experience from vintage roles for Domaine Dubois (Burgundy) and Elk Cove (Oregon) as well as professional development via the AWRI Advanced Wine Assessment Course, regional Clare Wine Show chief steward, the Clare Valley Education Committee and the Clare Valley Tasting Group.
In October 2018, after an incredible 16 years at OLW, Keeda joined the winemaking team at St John's Road, working alongside James Lienert, Andrew Hardy and all our esteemed growers.
Andrew - a fifth generation Hardy - comes from serious wine pedigree; his great great grandfather Thomas Hardy was known as the 'Father of the South Australian Wine Industry' after being an integral part of SA's inception into the wine world in the late 1800s.
Following the natural order of his family tree Andrew studied winemaking at the Riverina College of Advanced Education (now Charles Sturt University) before commencing his winemaking career, in 1982, working for Brian Croser at Petaluma. During this period he also completed winemaking stints in California, Oregon and Bordeaux before coming back to take the reins at Knappstein, where he remained for almost a decade. Whilst in Clare, Andrew was awarded the Warren Winiarski Trophy for 'Best Cabernet in the World' and the Trophy for 'Best Australian Red Wine' for his Enterprise Cabernet, he was also pivotal in the industry's adoption of the Screwcap closure.
Throughout his years at Petaluma Andrew also completed the Executive Program for Growing Companies at Stanford University, California, presided as Chairman on the Royal Adelaide Wine Show, Clare Valley Winemakers Association and The Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of SA boards, and is now Trustee of the RA&HS.
In October 2018 Andrew joined James Lienert and Keeda Zilm to complete the St John's Road winemaking team, bringing with him over 36 years of invaluable experience and knowledge.
Warwick Murray - Viticulturist
Warwick Murray came to the Barossa in 1998 for a vintage job and has never found a reason to leave. Being inherently outdoorsy, it seemed only natural that he should find himself working out amongst the vines as a viticulturist.
Wazza has a strong passion for soil husbandry and credits the success of high-quality vineyards to the soil/plant balance of the vines; believing the rest will take its course if these important elements are adhered to.