Ron Liebich is celebrating 52 years involved with Barossa vintages either as a vigneron, winemaker, cellar hand, champion grape treader and simply being a Barossa wine legend!
It was 1968 when he graduated from Roseworthy Agricultural College with his Oenology degree. Soon after he had the opportunity to take over from his Uncle “Darkie” Liebich in the winemaking duties and lab analyses at Rovalley Wines which was operated by the wider Liebich family. Since then he’s never looked back. Anyone who’s ever met Ron will know how passionate he is about wine and the local region.
All the traditions of the long-running Barosa Vintage Festival were celebrated in April 2019.?We had a ball celebrating a century of Liebich family winemaking heritage in the Barossa Valley.?Winemaking is in Ron’s blood starting with his Grandfather, Benno Liebich, who established a family winery in Rowland Flat in 1919.
The cricket theme for the float was selected given that between Ron, his Uncle “Darkie” and grandfather Benno?they had notched up 100 vintages not out. We rolled out the turf on the back of a truck, set up stumps, donned the whites and rolled the arm over.
We’re absolutely thrilled with results from the Barossa Wine Show 2018. Ron has outdone himself picking up a Trophy for Museum Fortified for the second year in a row. Rare Tawny was crowned Best Museum Red Fortified. Last year saw Rare Semillon get a similar honour in the Best Museum White Fortified Class.
All entries from around the Barossa region were such high calibre, we’re proud to be among the same company. Congratulations to all other medal and trophy winners.
Other Liebichwein medal winners:
Rare Frontignac = SILVER (yet to be released)
2018 Vintage Fortified Petit Verdot (baby VP – yet to be released) = BRONZE
Vintage 2018 for Liebichwein has been another solid season for quality with yields slightly lower overall.
There was an even mild growing ripening season with some bursts of heat early in Summer that made us a little nervous about quality. Grapes started ripening almost two weeks earlier than usual and we commenced picking in the first week of March. Some of the varieties used for fortified like Frontignac and Semillon don?t hold up so well in the heat, so these got picked earlier than usual. A long extended dry period into April allowed Grenache to hang on until we could pick at full-flavour and colour, though the crop was down a little.
On the whole, fortified wine stocks are in good supply and now maturing slowly in barrels. A few reds are maturing in barrel and there were no white wines made this year. As an aside, the table grapes we grow for personal use were of excellent quality providing us with fruit from January to May.
The Liebich family have been passionate about wine in the Barossa Valley for almost 100 years. This is a brief look at what was happening around Australia and the Barossa region when Ron and Janet first established the Liebichwein label 25 years ago. Ron is the third generation winemaker to be based in Rowland Flat, South Australia and he’s preparing for his 49th Barossa vintage at age 71.
What happened in Australia in 1992?
Artists in the Top 10 Australian music charts included Billy Ray Cyrus, Guns ?n Roses and Whitney Houston
Average petrol price was 68 c/L
The cost of a postage stamp was increased from 43 cents to 45 cents
The Australian 1 and 2 cent coins were withdrawn from circulation
The Prime minister was Paul Keating
The first WOMADelaide music festival?was held at Botanic Park as part of the Adelaide Festival of Arts
The Cricket World Cup was held in Australia and New Zealand where Pakistan?defeated England?in the final at the MCG by 22 runs
The AFL grand final was won by West Coast Eagles, the first non-Victorian team to win
There were about 700 wineries in Australia, now there are well over 2500 (over 150 in the Barossa region)
What happened in Barossa Valley in 1992?
The estimated population of the Barossa Valley council area was 18,000 (now 24,500)
A mixed vintage for wine quality since the warmer regions like the Barossa didn?t receive the heat normally required to deliver the typically concentrated and rich reds wines.
The?Barossa Valley railway line?past Penrice junction was officially declared closed, 18 year later the track between Angaston and Nuriootpa was lifted and a shared path for bikes and pedestrians was put in place
The winery shed was built in Rowland Flat where Liebichwein cellar door still is today
Liebichwein Cellar Door opened in December 1992 operating on weekends only
Steingarten Road in Rowland Flat was known as Narrow Road
Ron was reigning grape treading champion of the Barossa Vintage Festival
The first range of Liebich table wines: 1992 Cabernet Sauvignon, 1993 Shiraz, 1992 Riesling of the Valleys (Barossa fruit grown by Ron blended with some Clare Valley Riesling grapes)
The first Liebich fortified wines: Classic Old Barossa Tawny, Benno Port, Ron’s Blend, Keg Blend
Tending the fruit for Ron’s first Riesling Traminer blend dedicated to his dear mother Lorna as it was her favourite style to drink (trophy winner in 1993 for best sweet white at the Barossa Wine Show)
Ron started planting Merlot, Grenache and Semillon vineyards to complement the older Shiraz and Cabernet in the?40 acre block inherited from older generations