Confirm Year Of Birth

VNTNRTM connects makers drinkers & thinkers in the pleasure of wine

Stay up to date
Receive sporadic updates on all things VNTNR, including new releases and limited edition wines.
Allira Lord by Jason Henley


Allira Lord

Allira Lord: My name is Allira Lord. I’m a winemaker based in the Barossa Valley in South Australia.

VNTNR: Could you share your winemaking journey to date?

AL: I’ve been winemaking for over 15 years now. I’ve travelled to different parts of the world to work vintages. I’ve worked in New Zealand and throughout South Australia and I’ve done vintages in France and the UK. All of that has really helped to gain experience and learn from other experiences to bring ideas back to what I do now.

VNTNR: Is there a particular varietal or style of wine you enjoying making?

AL: My forté is Chardonnay. It’s my passion. What I love is that you can bend it as far as you want to. You can bring the fruit in and really guide it along that varietal expression, sense of place route, or you can push it and put it into oak, transforming it into something that might be a little bit less recognisable.

I particularly love with Chardonnay bringing in a parcel and popping it into lots of different barrels; different coopers can give you different flavours. I love putting the wine in the barrels and tasting them all individually. It’s really exciting when you come to one barrel that’s really special and then having the opportunity to blend that into something a little bit larger, or keep it as a standalone wine. Those sorts of moments are exciting. For me, not being afraid to try something just because you’re not sure if it’s going to work is a big one.

VNTNR: ‘Not being afraid to try’ and that sense of experimentation is interesting. How has this approach allowed you to create something wonderful?

AL: Last year I put a parcel of grapes through a red wine technique. It’s called carbonic maceration. And it’s meant to elevate the fruity red berry characters in red wine. I thought, ‘let’s see what happens when you do that with white grapes’. So, I put the grapes in a fermenter, closed it, and then let nature take its course for about a week. When I opened the fermenter, I thought ‘wow, that looks really weird’. But I pressed it out, and it’s turned into a wine that we’ve popped into bottle. It’s actually a VNTNR limited release wine.

VNTNR Artist Series Vermentino 2023
Artist Series

VNTNR: Can you talk to this recent project and what you created for it?

AL: The VNTNR Artist Series is a collection of three wines, with each wine paired with a contemporary artist. They’re really designed to highlight imagination and the creative experimental of side of winemaking, venturing beyond conventional practices. The VNTNR Artist Series wines incorporate innovative methods, creative expression and also bring in some lesser-known grape varieties. The three wines are a Grüner Veltliner, a Vermentino and a Biodynamic Shiraz. The Grüner was fermented in a large format oak cask, and that's really added some depth and spice to the varietal stone fruit coming through from that wine. The Vermentino, as I mentioned, brings in the red winemaking techniques and applies them to white grapes. This is a form of partial carbonic maceration, resulting in more of a complex and textured palate.

VNTNR: What draws you to experimenting with small batches of unique grape parcels, crafting them into lovely, limited-production wines?

AL: Small batch winemaking is a really good opportunity to experiment and refine techniques, and also expand our knowledge. For me, curiosity often drives the creation of unique or limited release wines. So for example, what happens if we use a red wine technique with white grapes? Can we enhance texture? Can we emphasise varietal characters? And so doing this in small batches can really give an opportunity to create something unique, exciting, and also refine what you’re doing on a larger scale. Not all ideas will pan out as expected. But there’s also the potential to create something really exciting with a truly unique story.

VNTNR Artist Series Gruner Veltliner 2023
Artist Series
Gruner Veltliner

VNTNR: How do you nurture your creativity and curiosity outside of winemaking?

AL: Outside of winemaking I now have two small children, so a lot of my creative outlets involve Playdough, creating train worlds and train tracks and a lot of colouring in - all of which I really enjoy. Playing with young kids allows for and inspires creativity. Outside of that I enjoy cooking; again, it’s quite similar to winemaking. You’re trying to bring in flavours and find balance within whatever you are making to create something that people are going to really enjoy.

VNTNR: What’s something you are currently excited about and want sharing with people?

AL: At the moment it is vintage season, which is a really busy and exciting time of the year. There are endless opportunities for invention, creation, imagination, and it’s where we see the results of the growing season reflected in every parcel that comes into our winery. Every parcel is an opportunity to create something exciting and unique. It also gives us an opportunity to look at the grapes, to taste the grapes and then to decide if we’re going to take a parcel of fruit and really emphasise regional characters, or if we’re going to take that fruit and let creativity dominate and go outside the box.

VNTNR: What are you drinking at the moment?

AL: I taste a lot of ferments at work. So I’m not really that interested in having a glass of wine that often when I get home. However, I love drinking Champagne. I love the occasion of opening a bottle of Champagne, and having a glass and I love the taste and the history that goes along with the Champagne region. So, on the occasion that I get to open a bottle of champagne I love to do so.

VNTNR: In balancing the traditional craft of winemaking with forging a future of experimentation, how do you ensure that each approach complements the other in your winemaking process?

AL: Winemaking is definitely somewhere we take inspiration from the past. What changes is how we shape these wines. Improved technology has been a really good tool to help with some of that. We can make wine in a more efficient way, reducing our waste. And we also can understand a little bit more about how flavours come about, and how the little levers that we can pull as winemakers can make a big difference in the flavour profiles of the wines.

VNTNR: The ways in which people drink wine and enjoy wine is always shifting, as is the popularity of certain varietals and styles. Do you pay attention to this or just keep your head down and focus on your direction?

AL: The wine industry is continually evolving. It is very trend driven and fashion driven even though we might not know it. Fashion and trends come into winemaking a lot. Twenty years ago, people wanted really big, buttery Chardonnays, whereas now people want something a little bit more linear or stylish. So contemporary winemaking is definitely something that we need to follow, and trends guide us to what consumers want to drink. A lot of consumers are looking for lighter-style wines; something which is a little easier to drink. As winemakers we have to strike this balance between making what our consumers are asking for – and there’s a very big spectrum of what people want to drink – with wine that we are excited to make (lots of craft or little niche parcels). Making wine lets me mix these interests together, and the idea of creating something that people can enjoy is also really appealing and was exciting for me to start this career.

Orlando Lyndale Chardonnay 2021

VNTNR: What are some other ways the wine industry has evolved to become more modern, more progressive?

AL: The wine industry has changed a lot regarding gender diversity since I first started working in it. We have so many fantastic women winemakers leading brands and showing that new talent can do it too. For me, I hope that we get to a point where we can just talk about winemakers and possibly not talk so much about female winemakers. I hope that it’s not so much of an unusual thing when we have women in positions in the wine industry. And I hope that I can be a part of that change. Outside of gender, I’d love to see broader diversity throughout the wine sector. Bringing in diversity and being inclusive will bring in new points of view and ultimately make better wine. Lots of ideas can make a great change to our industry.

next up
Allira's picks