The quirky characters of the Delinquente Wine Co. crew have returned! Betty, Roxanne, Bullet Dodger and Tuff Nutt are back and serving up the fresh, smashable Riverland wines we know and love. To celebrate their arrival, we checked in with DLQ winemaker Con-Greg Grigoriou and got his view of the 2020 vintage.

Vintage in the southern hemisphere typically takes place between February and April. It can seem strange to think that the fruit for the 2020 vintage was picked and fermented just 8 months ago. But this is the incredible gift of wine from the antipodes: the opportunity to reflect on and taste a year before it is over. With the arrival of the 2020 Delinquente wines, we look back on the season that shaped these wines in this unusual year.

The 2019-2020 growing season and harvest in Australia was particularly challenging. The country experienced one of the worst bushfire seasons in its history, with several wine regions severely affected. Fortunately, the Riverland was spared from the worst, but Con-Greg still describes it as a difficult season: ‘All in all, 2020 vintage was crazy. We had hail hit the vineyard in October, then crazy heat waves in November and December.’

Despite a rough start to the year, by late February and early March the conditions ‘were perfect – besides the pandemic hitting’. The outbreak of Covid-19 brought with it a new set of obstacles and concerns. But vintage stops for no-one, not even a pandemic, and Australian winemakers were forced to navigate lockdowns and new physical distancing restrictions. Despite these unprecedented challenges, Con-Greg is pleased with how the 2020 vintage turned out: ‘whilst we lost a little volume, the quality is fantastic.’

All in all, 2020 vintage was crazy. We had hail hit the vineyard in October, then crazy heat waves in November and December […] whilst we lost a little volume, the quality is fantastic.’

The start of 2020 was tough in a lot of ways. But for many it served as a reminder to practice gratitude and when possible, savour the simple things in life. When taking stock, Con-Greg says ‘[t]he vineyard is a pretty good place to think – open expanse, blue sky and endless green of the vines can put you into a bit of a meditative state […] Things always seem to make a bit more sense and seem simpler after getting some fresh air.’

It also brought positive and moments worth celebrating. A pioneer of the young Australian winemaking scene, Con-Greg was recognised as one of the Top 50 Winemakers 2020 by Young Guns of Wine earlier this year. He was ‘stoked’ by the honour and acknowledge the nomination with good humour and humility – qualities that are reflected in his vision for his wines.

Delinquente grew out of Con-Greg’s desire to make the type of wine that he hadn’t previously imagined possible in his region. His idea was to take advantage of the Riverland’s small vineyards planted with Southern Italian varieties, which are well-suited to the region’s dry Mediterranean climate, and produce small batch, handmade wines with bright fruit and intriguing but uncomplicated drinkability – or as he would put it, “smashable”. To complete his vision, he recruited local Adelaide street artist Ankles to design the edgy, eye-catching labels. Amid a sea of Big Wine, Delinquente conveys a unique aesthetic and clear point of view: fun, approachable and terroir-driven wines that will challenge people’s perception of the Riverland.

Click here to learn more about Delinquente Wine Co. and Con-Greg’s wines. Drop us a line of you’d like to try them.