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Established in 1979, Paxton is a family owned McLaren Vale wine company. Founder and owner, David Paxton is one of Australia’s most highly respected viticulturalists – a reputation built on managing and growing wine grapes of exceptional quality for over 30 years.

The Paxton family have nurtured their own vineyards in McLaren Vale, South Australia, for three decades. Internationally recognised as one of Australia’s leading wine regions, McLaren Vale is renowned for the production of super premium quality wines – particularly red wines.

In 2000, the family released their first wine under the PAXTON label: the 1998 Paxton Shiraz. Today, under the direction and guidance of Michael Paxton – David’s son and Paxton winemaker & viticulturalist – Paxton produces a range of estate grown wines under the family label, including Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Rose, Tempranillo, AAA (a Shiraz Grenache blend), MV Shiraz, Quandong Farm Shiraz, Jones Block Shiraz, ‘The Vale’ Cabernet, The Guesser Cabernet Shiraz and the flagship wine, the Paxton EJ Shiraz.

The Paxton wine range is an approachable collection of wines that showcase McLaren Vale’s fruit quality (through Paxton’s superior vineyard sites), natural diversity and varietal expression. In the winery, minimal winemaking intervention ensures the integrity of the fruit from vineyard to bottle.

Paxton vineyards are spread across a diverse number of sites and soil types, which are managed without compromise from planting to harvest. Michael Paxton continues to strive to minimise inputs and manages the Paxton vineyards biodynamically – a system of farming without the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides with a focus on promoting healthy, living soils through the use of natural compost preparations.

In 2005 Paxton opened their cellar door at Landcross Farm, an historic 1860s sheep farm and site of the original village. Managed by David’s second son Ben Paxton, the cellar door is open every day from 10am-5pm for tastings, functions and events. 

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They say home is where the heart is. Our home and heart is in McLaren Vale on South Australia’s spectacular Fleurieu Peninsula, and we love it. The township, which gives its name to this renowned wine region, is just 37 km South of the centre of Adelaide (approximately 45 minutes by car).
The appeal of McLaren Vale isn’t just the wine, although that’s a big part of it. The region offers plenty of other attractions from local cottage industries, gourmet foods, places to stay, diving, boating, surf beaches, family friendly beaches, fishing spots and places to eat. This gives you a fair idea of what we’re getting up to when we’re not making wine.

In Paxton’s home of McLaren Vale, South Australia, our vineyards are spread across a number of sites and soil types which we manage without compromise from planting to harvest. Our mission is to produce and showcase the region’s fruit quality, varietal expression and natural diversity, particularly with Shiraz, which is now well recognised as the region’s top performing variety.

We call our approach “back to the future”. It involves combining traditional, hands-on management, integrated and complimented with modern technology. We choose to propagate vines from old pre-clonal selection vineyards to benefit from stock with a history of low-yield and high quality.

The vineyard site characteristics we target have soil profiles that allow us to perfectly control soil moisture content via irrigation, maximising fruit quality and intensity. We work with the concept of “terroir”, although we do not necessarily agree with the mystery that is often attached to the word. It can be complex but it is not magic. We consider “terroir” as the interaction between a vine, its environment and the impact of man’s management with the moisture balance of the soil being possibly the major influence.

Management techniques are varied to suit variety and style. Utilisation of techniques such as shoot thinning, leaf plucking and fruit thinning are employed to attain superior quality. Targeted crop levels for Shiraz are 6 - 8 Tonnes per hectare.

We continually strive to minimise inputs and, essentially, use only sulphur and copper on our red varieties. Trialling of bio-dynamics and non-chemical weed control is ongoing.
It is impossible to develop intimate knowledge of a vineyard in one or two years which is why our commitment to optimum quality is reflected by our long term staff and management.


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Inside information

The foundation of biodynamic farming is soil health. This does not simply mean the adjustment of nutrient levels. Our farming aims to maintain a balanced and diverse population of soil biology. Compost applications initiate conditions favourable to soil micro-organisms which are active in making nutrients available to plants in a natural form. Vegetation and composts are broken down to form humus which improves soil structure and better holds water and nutrients. Irrigation inputs are thus reduced.

Synthetic fertilisers and pesticides which damage the soil biology are not used which allows the natural system to operate without interruption. Weeds are controlled by straw mulching or careful machine weeding. Increased soil activity has a flow on effect. The earthworm population increases rapidly and greater volumes of soil are aerated and made available for exploration by plant roots.

The farm is seen as a whole organism rather than a series of problems to be solved individually. It is the intention that PAXTON vineyards mimic the characteristics of a natural system. In this endeavour we seek to promote diversity and allow natural balance to counter the effects of pests or disease. New vineyards are propagated from our old, existing vines rather than using identical clonal material. This maintains the subtle differences between each vine and produces wines of greater individuality.

Between the vine rows we promote a variety of plant life, each providing different habitat and nutrient profiles. The incorporation of bee hives improves grape pollination and seed production of the mid-row plants.

The main biodynamic composts are produced primarily from cow manure. Manure tainted with chemical intestinal worm treatments makes poor compost and therefore, to ensure the integrity of our compost, we maintain our own small herd of non-drenched cattle for this purpose.

The necessity to focus on the smallest details is rewarded by great benefits. We now spend far more time digging amongst the weeds. Observing what is happening below the ground gets as much attention as what happens above.

The ultimate result, I hope, is a range of wines that highlight the individuality of the vineyard, vintage and the actions of the people who are the temporary custodians of the land.

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Christer Byklum / Leading Scandinavian wine blogger, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Paxton . In a tasting of  43 wines 

2013 Domaine Leflaive Bâtard-Montrachet / Pale lemon yellow. Lemons, vanilla, minerals, spices, some floral notes, brighter expression for Bâtard, lighter. Fresh acidity, fresh and fruity, apples and citrus with more subdued minerals beneath, detailed and long. 95p

17d 54min ago

 Ken Gargett, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  13 wines  from  Paxton . In a tasting of  13 wines 

“For 4 decades Paxton nurtured their vineyards in McLaren Vale, South Australia. During this time their philosophy and reputation has been built on growing grapes of exceptional quality. Their mission now is to showcase quality, varietal expression and natural regional diversity within a range of wines that will indulge lovers of the finest drop. It’s been heads down, tails up for everyone at Paxton, for as long as they can remember, and while they have been working they have become one of McLaren Vale’s most respected wine producers. ”

1y 10m ago

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