Mike Press Wines are a small family owned vineyard and winery based in the picturesque Adelaide Hills, South Australia. We are proud to have set the benchmark for producing quality wine at an outstanding price.
“I’ve decided to give this winery/maker proprietary five stars because there is no other producer offering estate-grown and made wines at prices to compete with these.”
James Halliday – Halliday Wine Companion
What started out as an idyllic retirement plan for Mike and Judy Press, has turned into a thriving business offering amazingly affordable wines to the world.
After working in the South Australian wine industry for over 40 years – from Penfolds under Max Schubert, to Seppelt, and finally to Mildara Blass as chief winemaker – Mike and Judy purchased their property in Kenton Valley, near Lobethal in the Adelaide Hills, in 1998. Planting 30 acres that year and a further 30 the following year, the plan was to sell their fruit to his industry contacts. Unfortunately, their timing wasn’t great as by the time the vines were producing, Australia was struggling with one of its biggest ‘grape-gluts’.
After a couple tough years, they soon realised that their best option was to turn their fruit into wine, so in 2003 Mike dusted off his winemaking boots and produced cleanskins for sale to the local market. Mike and Judy walked the streets of suburbs all over Adelaide and through the hills dropping flyers in peoples letter boxes and the cleanskins quickly gained a cult following, continually selling out.
“If you’ve not tried them – beg, borrow or steal to get your hands on some. You won’t be disappointed & I challenge you to find a better way to spend $14.”
The New Wine Guy
In a move almost unheard of, the 2005 Shiraz and Cabernet cleanskins were named runner up for the most eagerly sought-after wine award in Australia, the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy – what a shakeup of the industry that was!
“Mike Press, who sells quality Adelaide Hills wines at $15 a bottle, must cause some embarrassment in a region which is producing more and more expensive wines.”
Huon Hooke – The Real Review
Then in 2006 things quickly began to change. They entered the Adelaide Hills Wine Show and were pleasantly surprised to receive three Top in Class Gold Medals and the Best in Show Trophy for the 2005 Shiraz, Cabernet and Merlot. The next day they not only needed a label on their wines (for the winners’ lunch), they also got a call from Tyson Stelzer who had heard about this remarkable achievement from his friend and International Guest Judge Matthew Jukes. Tyson was in town for the day and wanted to meet the couple behind these wines straight away. He was an instant convert and has since purchased more with from Mike Press than any other single wine brand in the last 14 years!
“It’s not just that these are the best value wine in the country, bar none, but they are an honest expression of a beautiful family vineyard.”
Tyson Stelzer – Tyson Stelzer’s Top 50 Wine Estates
A story by Campbell Mattinson on The Wine Front followed and Mike and Judy sold 1,000 cases of wine in two days – all from their kitchen table! The accolades kept flowing – they received a five-star winery rating from James Halliday and were featured for nine years straight in his annual Top 100 Wines for The Australian. They won countless medals in shows across the country. The sale kept coming in and despite the increase in demand, Mike and Judy kept their prices low, forever remembering their mantra to continue to deliver quality wine at an affordable price, so it can be enjoyed by everyone, any time.
“Few producers put a tick in the value box as often as Mike Press Wines.”
Campbell Mattinson – The Wine Front
Over the years their family has got involved in the business. Son James runs the vineyard, daughter Sarah pounded the pavement selling their wine in SA and daughter-in-law Rachel now looks after their customers. Slowly they expanded outside of SA, appointing distributors in the eastern states and eventually in SA too, choosing Empire Liquor to represent their brand at home.
Then in 2016 they met Bob and Yuko Harris. A fellow wine industry couple who are as passionate about wine and South Australia as Mike and Judy are – they connected immediately – and in 2017 Bob and Yuko purchased Mike Press Wines as a great addition to their other wine businesses. From the get-go they wanted this to be a strong working partnership with Mike and Judy staying on to be part of it all, the fact that it was to continue as a family run business was very important to both parties. The whole Press Family were thrilled to accept this offer. Not only does this give Mike and Judy the opportunity to be involved in the next chapter for Mike Press Wines including branching into export, but it is also giving them the opportunity to continue doing what they love, with the added freedom to enjoy their retirement – which was the whole point of this business anyway!
Bob and Yuko have a chateau and wine business in France, with the Phoenix Wine Club in Burgundy and a winery with vineyards in Beaujolais, as well as Schubert’s Vineyard on a neighbouring block to our Kenton Valley vineyard.
Bob is a South Australian returning to Adelaide after a prestigious international career and his wife Yuko has for the last 20 years translated and published the Harry Potter series in Japan, while also running several publishing companies around the world.
“Mike has a lifetime of experience as a winemaker and won prestigious awards and consistent high-rating reviews. The vineyard is rated at the very top among the state’s vineyards. His pinot noir and chardonnay compare with the ones we know in Burgundy. And then there is the cabernet, shiraz, merlot and sauvignon blanc – all from a single vineyard! It is important for us that Mike Press Wines is a family business. We want to keep it that way.”
Mike and Judy are still actively involved in the business, they live onsite at their Kenton Valley vineyard, son James is managing the vineyard and Mike is making all the wine. They remain a dedicated family company with an unchanged aim to produce quality wine at an affordable price, so it can be enjoyed by everyone, any time.