Brand & Sons Jim Brand Silent Partner Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 75cl


Tasting Note

Very sexy icon-like wine. Very silky, sexy, refined, dark with a long blackberry, blackcurrant and sweet pipe tobacco finish.


The Brand family might well be considered Coonawarra royalty.

When David Wynn purchased what is now Wynns Coonawarra Estate in 1951, he was beaten to entering the district by one year, after Eric Brand and his wife, Nancy Redman (sister of Owen) acquired what was to become known as Brands Laira (Laira being named after a boat). The couple became custodians of two hectares of Shiraz vines originally planted in 1893 by Captain Henry Stentiford, one of John Riddoch’s original tenant settlers.

From 1950 through to 1965, Eric (originally a baker from the Riverland, until he fell in love with the Redman girl and relocated), developed the 24-hectare estate, working as a ‘blocker’, the name given to Coonawarra landholders who sold off their grapes to other wineries within the region.

Then, in 1966, armed with an antique basket press, must pump and four concrete fermenters and blessed with the best weather conditions of the decade, Eric set about producing his first ever vintage under the Brands Laira name.

The winery existed under the ownership of the Brand’s until, like many family-owned businesses feeling the pinch at the back end of the 1980s, elected to sell off the property to McWilliams who, at that time were also family owned and considered to be an ideal partner. That was in 1995, although the family did retain several of the existing vineyards.

McWilliams extended their holding in the area from around 35 to 258ha, although very little of that additional production ended up under the Brands Laira label. Under some financial pressure themselves, McWilliams off-loaded the business as a going concern to Castella (home of ‘Yellowtail’) in late 2015.

Going back to Eric and Nancy. The couple had two sons: Jim and Bill, who after the sale to McWilliams set about establishing new vineyards. Combined, the two families own around 200 hectares, making them one of the most significant ‘blockers’ in the region, selling off grapes to the likes of Treasury Wine Estates, proprietors of Wynns, Penfolds, Seppelt and Wolf Blass (to name but a few).

After the 1995 sale, the link with McWilliams remained, since Jim took a position as head winemaker at Brands Laira, whilst Bill became the viticulturist. Bill was succeeded by his son, Trent, who became vineyard manager on Bill’s retirement.

Sadly, Jim Brand, died after a long battle with cancer in 2005. He was 52 years old.

Jim and his wife, Jo (who still lives in downtown Coonawarra) had one son named Sam. Born in 1977, Sam studied wine marketing at Roseworthy College before also enjoying a career with McWilliams, working for them as sales manager covering both South Australia and Northern Territory until 2012.

Sam has since devoted himself to re-establishing the Brand name as a formidable force in the Coonawarra wine scene, officially launching Brand and Sons in 2012. It was the first time in over two decades that the family had commercially put their own name to a label.

The project is very much a tribute not only to his own father but to the legacy of the Brand family within the region with each new release telling its own story.

Country: Australia | Region: Coonawarra | Alcohol: 14.5% | Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon | Family Producer