Sandy Bay - Hobart, Tasmania
Frieda Henskens and David Rankin both had a fascination with winemaking from an early age: Frieda bottling stomped grape juice on a New Zealand dairy farm and David making plum wine just outside of Melbourne at eleven years-old.
They went on to between them have careers in sustainable agriculture, natural resource management, and statistics, but came back to wine in 2010 with the founding of their eponymous label Henskens Rankin. They had just two tons of elite Pinot Noir and Chardonnay fruit in the beginning, crafting a vintage brut that was only released in 2018. In their ten years as a winery, they have only released four wines: adding a Brut Rosé, a Blanc de Blancs, and a 2011 vintage to the stable. To say their business is defined by small production and a long, detailed process is an understatement.
They have said of their process: “We believe that to realize the true potential of Tasmanian fruit you have to break a few rules. We deliberately choose small-scale, innovative, labor intensive but hands-off approaches to our winemaking, revisiting ancient techniques, always seeking to maximize quality. Doing crazy things carefully.”
Henskens Rankin is unashamedly in the business of making luxury products (“I have no interest in making $35 to $40 sparkling wine,” Frieda has said. “There are already plenty of people doing a good job of that in Tasmania…The world doesn’t need another one of those”). But for them, luxury is ethical, and involves choosing the best materials, partners, and supply chain that they can.
Since coming on the market in 2018, Henskens Rankin has made serious waves in the Australian wine community, winning several top prizes for sparkling wine across the country. They are staying to their course, small and focused:
“It’s a journey in progress.”
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What Jane & Jon Have to Say...
“Henskens Rankin is not making some of the best sparkling wine in Australia…they are making some of the best sparkling wine in the world. Their dedication to sourcing and tending the best, sustainably grown grapes, nurturing them for extra-long élevages, and using only the most ethical supply chains is unparalleled in Australia (and the world, really). We’d put them up against any Champagne at the same price point!”
“What the world does need, though, is more small batches of really special, unashamedly top-shelf sparkling wines like those of Henskens Rankin. Outstanding…Delicious…Wonderful.”