The Téssera Wines Story - How we got started and where are we now?

The Téssera Wines Story - How we got started and where are we now?

By Jen Venardos, Founder and Wholesale Manager

Visualise a stinking hot day in country South Australia on the picturesque Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia and a vineyard absolutely bursting with grapes ready for picking. 2015 was the year that my brother couldn’t find a buyer for his grapes.  It was so hot and with an existing contract not renewed at the last moment we were starting to panic over what to do with a crop that had been handled with kid gloves all year - the plight of the farmer, one of the hardest jobs on earth and one of the most forsaken.

Whilst we scurried about trying to find a buyer, sending emails, making calls and contacting every winemaker in the region to see if they needed some extra fruit, we decided not to let this opportunity go to waste. After 10 years, we were going to pick a tonne of the Shiraz and then find a winemaker, sounds easy right? So very wrong as any winemaker in his right mind wouldn’t be taking on a group of newbies right smack bank in the middle of Vintage. How fortunate we were to have found someone with the patience of a saint and the winemaking skills of a pro, Phil Christiansen, aka The Silver Fox of McLaren Vale. Fortune was definitely on our side as not only had we procured someone crazy and patient enough to take us on, but also one of the best and a master of open ferment technique to boot!

Fast forward to today and here we are, now rebranded to Téssera Wines after the sale of the Sandergrove Vineyard. Téssera is the number Four in Greek and the original Jen and Pete Venardos are joined by friends Jane and James Beck to make up the quartet. And of course, we can't forget our talented and wonderful, Marketing and Brand Manager, Daughter of James and Jane, Alicia Mackie. Now sourcing grapes from the best vineyards in Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale, although still affiliated with existing winemaker Phil, we have been lucky enough to enlist the experience and flair of ASVO winemaker of the year 2020, Peter Leske. From Pete’s winery in the Adelaide Hills, he crafts our whites and Rosé for us.

With humble beginnings and our very first tonne of Shiraz, we have now expanded the Téssera portfolio to nine varietals. From incredible open fermented and basket pressed Shiraz and Cabernets to deliciously delicate Adelaide Hills Riesling and Chardonnay, not to forget out Charmat method party goer, Peggy Sue Sparkling Pinot Noir!  Check out our full range here!

We pride ourselves on having the best winemakers who truly care about bottling a product that really honours the true essence of the grape. All our wines, except the reds blend are single vineyard, hand picked fruit and with minimal sulphites used it’s the closest thing you will find to a natural wine but with decent longevity for cellaring.

What makes us really unique as a wine producer is that although our wines are produced out of South Australia, our team is based in Brisbane. We like to think that we bring the best of country South Australia’s wine regions to Brisbane for all to enjoy and drink for themselves the true essence of these regions that are well renowned for consistently producing quality wine.

Téssera is now well known and regarded for our creative and unique wine events throughout Brisbane. Each year we host our major event, the Not The Winemakers event where you judge wines from the best vineyards and wineries in McLaren Vale.  There’s always something scheduled in from larger events to smaller private wine tastings. We look forward to seeing you at one of our events soon where you always get to meet either one or all of the producers.

Oh, and for those wondering. My brother did eventually end up selling his fruit to one of McLaren Vales most prestigious wineries as the quality was second to none! 


Jen Venardos
Founder & Wholesale Manager

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