I first encountered Oxford Landing in 2015. It was the affordably priced wine on the huge portfolio I was navigating as a new employee of Samuel Smith & Son, one of the wine distribution companies owned by Hill-Smith Family Estates. I have to admit, I didn’t pay it much attention – it sold well in independent supermarkets and was a great option to show people for ‘house pours’ – well made and a good price.
Eight months later I attended the annual orientation week in the Barossa. It’s an incredible week of immersion in the history of one of Australia’s oldest family owned wineries. However, at the end of the week, it wasn’t the wine museum, or the winemakers lunch, or even the night of pub trivia that left the deepest impression. It was Oxford Landing.
Founded by Wyndham Hill-Smith in 1958, Oxford Landing (originally known as Yalumba River Estate) is an expansive vineyard area near Waikerie, on Ngawait country, in South Australia on the banks of the Murray River. In 2015 there wasn’t a lot of discussion about sustainability in viticulture, so to head to a grape-growing area known for irrigation and find sustainability at the heart of every conversation was extraordinary.
The staff talked with such excitement about the work they were doing to look after the environment. We learnt about sophisticated irrigation systems, driven by sensors, so that minute amounts of water could be delivered only as required, and the care they exercised to minimise the use of chemical pest control, unusual for such a large site.
Surprisingly for a vineyard tour, we spent very little time with the vines; the vineyard manager had something special to show us. In 2007, the company had purchased 600 hectares of unused farmland adjoining the vineyard and began a huge regeneration project. An expanse of native flora stretched before us, equal in size to the land planted to vineyards. Today over 200,000 native trees and shrubs have been planted in this protected area.
Eight years later, the One to One range is the next chapter of the Oxford Landing story, allowing wine drinkers to help contribute to further regeneration. Through a partnership with Greenfleet, every sixpack of One to One wine sold will mean another square metre of native vegetation will be planted in the One to One Bushland; an area of Dja Dja Wurrung country in central Victoria. Regeneration is only part of the story though. Extensive investment in solar power across Yalumba’s winemaking facilities, including Oxford Landing, support reduced grid energy, 100% of wastewater is recycled and the wines are bottled in lightweight 98% recycled glass. All of this has earned certification with Sustainable Winegrowing Australia
None of this means much if the wines aren’t enjoyable though. The range includes five styles, made with minimal intervention and suitable for vegan diets. Across the range the wines are fresh, bright and deliver above their $20 RRP. It’s wonderful to see the ongoing commitment to quality and the environment, but I guess with 167 years behind them, this family owned company know a thing or two about sustainability.
One to One Brut Cuvée NV | 86 points
A lively sparkling made from the classic varieties of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It smells like zesty lemon sherbet with a hint of riper mango sorbet. There’s no holding back on the palate with a vigorous fizz to refresh you on a summer day. It’s very fruity on the palate with just a hint of sweetness delivered in tropical fruit flavours. A citrus tang and nicely balanced acidity will have you reaching for another glass.
One to One Rosé 2023 | 87 points
This is everything you want in a Rosé – pale salmon pink with aromas of strawberries and glistening slices of pink grapes. Made from Sangiovese grapes, it’s light, bright and perfectly dry making it a versatile pairing for your next grazing platter.
One to One Merlot 2021 | 87 points
This wine is quite the flirt aromatically with big handfuls of ripe, plush plums and cherries, and an exotic peppery spice lingering in the background. Rich and very silky in the mouth with soft, supple tannins. Pair with an eggplant parmigiana and fat-cut chips.
One to One Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 | 88 points
Cabernet Sauvignon at this price can be a bit of a gamble but this baby is a textbook example. Blackcurrants and blackberries leap from the glass with just a hint of herbaceous characters and an earthy, savoury note like sun-warmed gravel. It has lovely fruit weight on the palate with fine, seamless tannins. Drink with stuffed mushrooms laced with fragrant herbs.
One to One Shiraz 2021 | 87 points
Forget pairing red wine with dark chocolate, this wine already has that rich chocolate scent erupting from the glass – chocolate pudding to be exact, topped with blueberries and black cherries. Ultra silky on the palate with spicy licorice flavours and long, smooth tannins. Eat with thick steaks, hot off the grill – either the beef kind or kecap-manis glazed tofu.