Main & Cherry is a story of friendships; of families forging their own paths, getting their hands dirty and creating wines that they love. Award-winning winemaker Michael Sexton produces small batches of distinctive wines, favouring Indian Runner ducks over pesticides, and working gently by hand, shovel and a small basket-press instead of high-tech machines.
The original Main & Cherry vineyard was planted in 1996, at Main Road in Cherry Gardens, nestled amidst the rolling foothills of Adelaide. Michael grew up tending the family vineyard and went on to graduate from Oenology at Adelaide University in 2003, before working many vintages, both locally and abroad.
Now, Michael owns and lives on another vineyard above the Clarendon township in the McLaren Vale wine region. His kids, Audrey and Tom, ride on the tractors and ‘help’ with picking and plunging, often with a flock of ducks, sheep, nieces and nephews in tow.
The family grow their own fruit, as well as sourcing grapes from other independent vineyards throughout the Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale: an honest, down to earth community built on handshake agreements and a commitment to quality. This gives Michael a rich palette of sites and soil profiles to play with at the blending table. In 2020, Michael was announced as a Top 50 winemaker finalist in Australia's Young Gun of Wine.
The majority of Main & Cherry wines are fermented with “wild” indigenous yeast, and tended to with hand plunging and then gently pressed off skins using a small basket-press after fermentation is complete. The wines are then transferred to French barrels, which are predominately 3-4 years old. Once in barrel, the reds are typically racked off lees only once, when they are racked into a settling tank before bottling. This is the only time the wine is exposed to air, and even then, it is minimal in order to protect the aromatics. These old-fashioned techniques are aimed at preserving the the personality of the variety, the character of the vintage, and the quality of the wine.
Michael makes wines that are vibrant and bright, with plenty of personality. They match our Mediterranean climate and rugged landscapes and pair beautifully with the local produce of the region. With this light-touch approach he is aiming for a different type of perfection: where nothing is hidden and the naturally occurring characters of the wine are celebrated, to enjoy and share with friends and family.