This feature has been produced in partnership with St Hugo
Car making and making fine wines are two worlds that rarely intersect. It’s only around the fine nuances of craftsmanship and design that these realms collide to showcase their winning creations on the same stage. A rare synergy of art and design is what it takes to be the best, and two names know this better than anyone else.
St Hugo’s newly appointed Chief Winemaker Peter Munro has one goal: to immerse himself in the name’s rich history to carry on the legacy of producing exceptional wines that embody power and elegance. It’s an ambitious challenge that Munro hopes will set the benchmark for the future of one of Australia’s most awarded wines.
David Brabham meanwhile is a racer at heart. The Australian has seen the front row of Formula One and knows what it takes to get there. Extreme fitness, calculated risks and pushing yourself and the team to the limit is just the start. His biggest secret to reaching the podium is believing that you can win when no one else will. As the Managing Director of super car maker Brabham Automotive, Brabham continues to carry this principle in creating breathtaking cars like the BT62 that push the limits of speed.
Today St Hugo and Brabham have come together to reveal their secrets to success and victory.
Two Dedicated Crafts, One Common Goal – Winning Gold
Winning gold in wine making or taking a podium in racing demands more than just luck.
The flagship St Hugo Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon has won a gold medal for every vintage from 1980 to 2016. It also boasts over 1,000 awards including 32 trophies and 170 Gold Medals alongside outstanding ratings from key wine authorities.
“Wine making is an extensive process requiring numerous inputs. Each year St Hugo wines are crafted with a synergy of the climate, the soil and technical expertise of our winemakers.” explains Munro.
It’s this fastidious approach to a constantly changing environment that draws a unique connection between the progressive world of Formula One. Teams create winning cars by optimising all aspects of its performance and St Hugo goes into ‘vintage’ with a clear plan to create the best wine. The winemaker’s secret is to maximise the flavour in the grapes through careful management of vineyards, harvest decisions and fine tuning their fermentation methods. This is all meticulously undertaken whilst balancing the power of the intense fruit with elegance and structure.
As the son of three-time Formula One world champion Sir Jack Brabham, David Brabham paved his own legacy in the illustrious pages of motorsport through this process of refinement.
“I was not a mechanic or engineer like my father, but I was always interested in knowing how I could make the car go faster,” says Brabham.
“I would watch and learn from the people around me and apply this to my craft. Not being afraid of failure, being prepared to try something different based off the data available. The more I drove the more I understood how to improve. Data is a key element, but so is gut feeling and common sense – three areas I really rely on.”
Brabham would eventually become one of the most successful and experienced figures in motor racing with wins at the iconic Le Mans 24 Hours.
My father’s support came once I proved I could drive and was serious about it.
Success Fostered From The Bond Between Father & Son
St Hugo pays tribute to its namesake Hugo Gramp, through its outstanding wines and elegant Barossa brand home. For the Australian winemaker, every bottle that leaves their winery was created to honour the close bond between a father and a son.
Louis “Hugo” Gramp – born 19 September 1895 – was the youngest son to Gustav Gramp and grandson to Johann Gramp, who founded one of the Barossa’s oldest wineries when he planted his first vines at Rowland Flat in 1847. Hugo succeeded his father as the head of Gramp & Sons winery in 1920 at the age of 25. As Managing Director, his visionary leadership and unwavering pursuit of quality set the company on a path of extraordinary growth.
Tragically on 25 October 1938, Hugo Gramp passed away with two fellow leaders of the Australian wine industry when their plane ‘Kyeema’ crashed in the Dandenong Ranges. St Hugo was launched in 1983 to honour the legacy of Hugo Gramp, and the home of St Hugo is located in the Barossa Valley where he lived and worked his entire life. He was a visionary leader whose greatest legacy was the path that he set for others. Like his father Gustav before him, Hugo inspired his own son Colin Gramp who went on to revolutionise the Australian wine industry.
St Hugo’s internationally award-winning fine wines from Australia’s premier wine regions pay homage to Hugo’s pursuit of excellence in winemaking and love of his family. David Brabham’s pathway into the pinnacle of motorsport meanwhile was accidental but inevitable.
“One of the advantages of growing up on a 4,500-acre farm was that there are no rules. Driving a car, bike or tractor flat out and on the edge was my way of finding my happy place. I didn’t know at the time I was training myself for a long racing career, but I was fine tuning my feel for grip, balance and confidence being on the limit.”
His father Jack had other plans. His wishes were for David to takeover the family farm, worlds away from the bright lights and sounds of Formula One. But fate had other ideas. After spectating his brother racing in the U.S, Brabham was hooked. He went home and bought a cheap go-kart to go racing with.
“I went back to the farm with a real desire to try it myself, but when I spoke to my father he was not impressed and he wasn’t that helpful to begin with. My father’s support came once I proved I could drive and was serious about it. He started to pass on his wisdom to me which helped a lot. Seven years later I became a Formula One driver.”
Persistence Makes Perfection
Winning gold only comes to those who persist. It’s a standard recognised in motor racing and at the home of St Hugo. As the creator of some of Australia’s most distinctive fine wines which honour the love between a father and a son, striving for gold has always been at the forefront of their craft, a bold statement which began with their 1980 vintage in the flagship Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon.
For over 40 years St Hugo has consistently created wines of excellence and today this is optimised in its award winning Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon. Perfection is an ever-evolving process though so those keen to sample the current 2015 vintage will need move now before St Hugo’s new 2016 vintage arrives later this year.