Ten Miles East

Fine wines from the Adelaide Hills

Using estate-grown fruit, owners and winemakers James and Taiita Champniss handcraft very limited batches of unique and incredibly fine wine.

our Wines

We make the kinds of wines we love to drink, handmade in the European style with loads of texture. We consider ourselves artisanal and experimental but also maintain a strong respect for the science of winemaking.  

Our wines are made gently, without rushing. We use wild ferments, a slower, less aggressive process that better preserves each grape’s flavour, and steer away from mountains of additives, popping in just enough sulfur for stability. We then allow our wines to collect themselves with time on lees and, when suitable, extended skin contact.

And we produce very limited amounts, often not more than a barrel or two of each variety. The result is tiny, handmade batches of unique and incredibly fine wine.


the whites

Clones CVT15 and CVT19

This delicate white grape variety hails from Piedmont in northern Italy. You could say it’s the pretty little sister in a summer dress to the brutish Nebbiolo red grape also grown in the area, which is made into Italy’s famed Barolo and Barbaresco wines.

Arneis literally means “little rascal” in the Piemontese dialect, a nod to just how tricky the variety is to grow. We fell in love with the variety back in 2003 while travelling around Europe for six weeks. Planted at Ten Miles East in 2006, our Arneis is finally starting to flourish and produce exciting wine.

Arneis is a low-yielding variety, which requires careful viticulture to help retain it’s natural acidity. Nonetheless, we’re increasing the size of our plantings due to its amazing popularity. Ours is  crisp and delicate with apricot and pear notes and an elusive almond character. We can’t wait to see how the variety develops with time.


Sauvignon Blanc
Clone F4V6

We’ve always loved Savvies from France’s Loire Valley. They have more texture and fewer in-your-face fruit characters than their Southern Hemisphere compatriots. Which is exactly what we’re aiming for with our Sauvignon Blanc – the ripe, fragrant nose of Touraine with the deep, layered complexity of a Pouilly Fumé on the palate, and a lovely steely backbone to bring it all elegantly together.  

We ferment Sauv Blanc on solids and leave it on lees for five months, which really bulks up the palate. It gives the wine a chance to settle down and build layers of flavour and complexity.

The result is crisp yet not too delicate.


Clones SAVI01 SAVI05 and SAVI10

Our Riesling was planted in 2005, as it’s Taiita’s father John’s favourite variety and he couldn’t bear a vineyard without it. Plus, it didn’t seem natural to have a South Australian vineyard without Riesling.

As with all our whites, we whole bunch press and then ferment our Riesling on solids in a stainless steel tank. Once finished, it’s left for five months on fluffy lees to add greater depth of flavour and character.


The reds

Pinot Noir
Clones D5, 777, MV6, 115, 114, Martini M13, Martini M18 with a sprinkling of Pinot Meunier.

It’s often said that Pinot Noir requires a full decade in the ground before it really begins to come into its own. Which is why we’re feeling rather excited – most of our Pinot Noir was planted back in 2005 so we’re now expecting to see these vines truly come of age. And there’s every chance we’re onto a real beauty here, considering Pinot Noir is a smashing variety across the Adelaide Hills.

As with all our reds, the Pinot Noir is wild fermented in open vats. We seal them up with lavender picked from the Ten Miles East gardens, which acts as a natural insecticide to protect from vinegar flies before, during and after fermenting. The wine is then aged in two- to three-year-old barrels for nine months to let the fruit and tannins shine.

Our Pinot Noir is made in small batches – only a single barrel in 2014, for example – though we are starting to get more volume as our new plantings reach maturity and come on board. We make our Pinot Noir from seven clones co-fermented in several separate batches as the grapes ripen to maximise the beautiful fruit and acid balance and add complexity.


Clones BVRC 30, 1125 and 1654

Our Syrah vines were planted in 2005 and 2006 on incredibly hard and inhospitable soil, which is 80 per cent stony quartz. That means they’re forced to struggle like the Syrah vines of France’s Northern Rhône wine region.

We’ve also been slowly winding back irrigation, forcing the roots to dig deep into the water table so the vines can better tolerate South Australia’s hot summer days. Our Syrah vines are now so low yielding that if we were to make a decision based on economics alone, we’d probably rip them out. We make only one or two barrels a year, that’s it.

But the resulting wine? Wow. This is not your traditionally big and bold Barossa-style Shiraz. Instead, our Syrah is more feminine and delicate, less boozy – more like the Syrah wines of Saint-Joseph, which Taiita’s been enjoying a lot of lately.

We wild ferment in open vats after a cold start, then finish it in a careful mix of new and older barrels to let the fruit sing.


Clone I11 V10 planted in 2005 and 2010.

This little red sucker hails from Georgia – that’s the former USSR, not the American state – famous for its peaches. Although Saperavi is actually far from little: it’s bunches are huge, like cows’ udders, but there are only ever two to three per vine so the wine is super concentrated.

The brilliance of Saperavi is that it truly satisfies our sustainability dreams. Each bunch is loosely formed with thick skins and tough, gnarly-looking leaves so it’s much harder for disease to settle in. And the variety handles the heat well, ripening slowly with less chance of ‘raisining’.

Saperavi also has naturally high tannins that we soften up and allow to grow more complex through extended skin contact. It’s part of only a handful of grape varieties that are Teinturier, have red flesh as well as red skin, creating a concentrated wine with an inky purple-red colour that really has to be seen to be believed. (Saperavi literally means "paint” or “dye" in Georgian because of this intense dark red colour.)

Our Saperavi is a generously medium bodied and truly elegant food-orientated wine

© 2019 Ten Miles East
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