Owner and winemaker of Rieslingfreak, John Hughes’ love of Riesling began with a childhood spent in the family vineyard in Penwortham, in the heart of the Clare Valley. In 1998, the family purchased another vineyard in White Hutt, just north of the Clare township, and John’s future was sealed.
John’s father, Richard, was responsible for his early interest in wine, sharing many exceptional aged Clare Valley Rieslings with him, developing John’s liking and appreciation for the grape. As he grew up, John’s interest led him to discover Rieslings from throughout the world, fuelling his passion for the variety.
The first vintage of Rieslingfreak was in 2009, with a Clare Valley Riesling. Since then, the label has slowly expanded to include vineyards in Eden Valley and Polish Hill. Together with several traditional dry wines, he also makes Riesling in off dry, Kabinett, fortified and sparkling styles.
“I earned the nickname ‘Riesling Freak’ during my university days, as if was always my beverage of choice. My love of this grape and its enormous diversity of styles has never waned, so when I started by own label, there was really only one thing I could call it.”
Rieslingfreak follows the German tradition of classifying each Riesling according to its technical specifications, specifically sugar and alcohol content. Made with the philosophy of representing the hallmarks a single region and one iconic style of this particular grape in every bottle, each Rieslingfreak wine is allocated an individual number. This number represents not only the region in which the fruit was grown, but also the style, technical specifications and quality level to which the wine is made.