When I (like others) review wine, I look at criteria such as clarity and depth of colour, purity and intensity of fruit, complexity, power, elegance, texture, drive, tannin structure, balance, finish. But when I look at 'alternative' winemakers, I realize this is not the way they think. They have strong ethical convictions which come first. The wines are a consequence of these convictions, and for them the classical criteria are less important - not irrelevant, but less important. I will still rate the wines along the classical criteria in order to use the same benchmarks, but I will point out the ethical convictions as the cornerstone. The two wineries I visited have two different approaches.
The first is Unico Zelo. I meet with Chief Thinker Brendan Carter. The title sounds overbearing, but during the discussion I started to find it appropriate. His two convictions are sustainability and sharing the spoils. Part of the business is a cooperative, where profits are shared with growers. He identified that in the Riverland, while traditional varieties need a lot of irrigation, Fiano does not. So this is one of his key varieties next to Nero d'Avola. Terroir plays an important role. My tasting consists of three Fianos from different regions, and three Nero d'Avolas.