A story about a cow, an alleged thief & an excommunication.

Natasha Mooney has launched a new range of wines comprising two Barossa Valley reds; the 2016 The Thief? Grenache Shiraz Mataro ($22) and 2015 The Thief? Shiraz ($22)

The story of ‘The Thief?’ harks back to Natasha’s forebears, John ‘Walter’ Mooney, who was an early settler, surveyor and poundkeeper in the Flinders Ranges’ oldest town, Melrose, in the mid 1800s.

In 1867 Mr Mooney, along with his stockman and local butcher, was charged with stealing the neighbour’s cow and slaughtering it with a mob of his own.

Being a good Catholic and man of ‘excellent character’, Mooney refuted this accusation and offered to show the presiding Judge his pound-book, proving the number of cattle he had received into his pound and thus, his innocence. ‘You should have brought it with you,’ said His Honour. ‘I did not know that it would be required,’ poor Mooney explained prior to receiving four years hard labour*.

Upon his death 50 years later, Mooney was essentially excommunicated and disallowed a Catholic burial. This slight from the church set the tone for the Mooney family religious persuasions.

In honour of Walter, the damned cow and a stolen religion, Natasha launched The Thief?.

The 20165 The Thief? Shiraz is made from grapes grown on Natasha’s vineyard in Greenock, a winegrowing sub region situated on the north-west edge of South Australia’s Barossa Valley.

“I wanted to purchase a vineyard in the region for a number of years,” said Natasha. “I’ve been making wine from this 25 year old vineyard for ten years and when it came up for sale I couldn’t pass it up.”

The vineyard sits on red soil with ironstone over limestone. “We manage the vineyard sustainably using a range of water saving practices, companion planting for better biological control and minimal inputs.

“I made the wine in a style that reflects the vineyard, with an early harvest for balance, minimal intervention and maturation in large format, seasoned oak for 18 months.”

Over the fence, her neighbour’s vineyard comprises well-manicured bush vine Grenache and Mataro, a combination Barossan’s do so well. “We decided they would be good partners for my Shiraz; the grapes were vinified separately and blended prior to maturation. It’s all about well-weighted fruit with subtle spice oak.

“It’s a great collaboration with our neighbour,” commented Natasha. “Something we believe firmly in, even if the constabulary of old didn’t.”

Distribution and Pricing: ‘The Thief?’ wines are available nationally at select retailers and restaurants and via the website labisewines.com.au or from La Bise Cellar Door at 38a Murray Street Tanunda in South Australia.

Natasha Mooney
Natasha Mooney, Winegrower

2015 The Thief? Shiraz (Barossa Valley) $22.00
2016 The Thief? Grenache Shiraz Mataro (Barossa Valley) $22.00

For further information, images or samples please contact:

David Cumming, Define Wine Marketing & Communications on 0414 736 342 or david@definewine.com.au
Natasha Mooney, owner and winemaker on 0439 823 251 or tash@ winearchitect.com.au

Natasha Mooney has been making wine in the Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills for the majority of her career. Since making wine at the acclaimed Barossa Valley Estate and Fox Gordon, Natasha launched La Bise Wines, focusing on the Adelaide Hills, and The Thief?. The Thief? uses grapes from her and her neighbour’s vineyards at Greenock. The wines honour Natasha’s Great Great Grandfather and that damned cow. *The South Australian Weekly Chronicle June 1, 1867