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A heart of liquid gold


A bottle of wine can tell a thousand stories and for Valerie Miranda, it’s a tale of faith and family.

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Valerie and her husband Lou own Lou Miranda Estate, a winery, cellar door and restaurant in the Barossa Valley town of Rowland Flat.

The winery has a long history of producing fortified wine. The first fortified produced on the site was in 1919 and Valerie, Lou and their daughters feel privileged to continue that tradition.

Another tradition Valerie is devoted to is supplying sacramental wine to Our Lady of the Rosary Church and St Laurence’s Church at her beloved North Adelaide/Prospect parish.

“We’ve provided it for around 10 years now,” Valerie says.

“We don’t make special labels for it but the priests are just happy to have it. It’s nice to contribute something to your faith and to your community. When they look to you for help, I think that’s really special.”

Valerie Miranda with the sacramental wine at Our Lady of the Rosary Church.

Valerie Miranda with the sacramental wine at Our Lady of the Rosary Church.

In addition to providing Leone Aged Tawny to Lou Miranda, Valerie regularly reads at Mass and keeps Our Lady of the Rosary and St Laurence’s churches looking beautiful.

“Church has always been a big part of my life,” she says as she prepares the altar for Mass at Prospect.

“I just enjoy doing it. It’s my church and I’m proud of it. You want people to walk in and like what they see. The energy here is amazing.”

These days, the couple enjoys retirement and their daughters Victoria, Lisa and Angela (Lou Miranda Estate’s winemaker) run the wine business. They have plenty of family history from which to draw inspiration.

The siblings’ Nonno, Francesco Miranda, arrived in Australia from Southern Italy (via Griffith in New South Wales) in 1938. Francesco wanted to give his family a better life and did so through tenacity, foresight, and hard work.

He founded the winery in 1939 and used to say he could only make great wine with great fruit.

It is a belief to which the family holds dear. The focus is now on premium quality wines released under the Leone, Fierce III and Lou Miranda Estate brands and the vineyards are the heart of the business. Of their four centenarian old vine blocks in southern Barossa Valley, the oldest dates back to 1897.

The wines can be tasted at the cellar door which was built in 1999 and features Mediterranean architectural features like a bluestone tower, cathedral windows, and a mushroom rendered concrete exterior.

Valerie and her husband Lou own Lou Miranda Estate.

Valerie and her husband Lou own Lou Miranda Estate.

There, you can find Lou Miranda Estate’s range of fortified wines, including the Leone Aged Tawny and the Lou Miranda Estate 20-year-old Aged Cobweb (named after the cobwebs that gather around the barrels). Each one is hand bottled, and hand labelled in small batches of 10 dozen at a time.

Family means everything to Valerie and Lou. She is reminded of Italy every time she attends the Feast Day of St Josephine Bakhita, who became a Canossian Sister after being taken into slavery in Sudan.

“I just love St Bakhita because she lived up the road from where our family comes from in Italy,” Valerie says.

“The town is called Schio and there’s a church there in her honour. It’s a beautiful church – you walk in there you feel the presence of God, much like you do here at Our Lady of the Rosary and St Laurence’s.”


A special variety

Anyone with an interest in history might be tempted to try the Lou Miranda Estate Fierce III Sagrantino. It is a beautiful, spicy drop.

Lou Miranda Estate Fierce III Sagrantino

Lou Miranda Estate Fierce III Sagrantino.

The red grape variety was originally used as the sacramental wine in Italy. As the legend goes, the grape was brought from the Middle East to Italy after the Crusades, planted near church monasteries and used to make a sweet red passito wine for Mass.

“Sagra means, ‘A sacred feast’,” Valerie says.

Lou Miranda Estate was one of the first vignerons to plant Sagrantino in Australia. The cuttings were purchased through Chalmers Nursery, who first imported the vines in 1998.

Why Sagrantino? Lou fell in love with the spicy red when the family visited the small town of Montefalco in Umbria, Italy, during the early 2000s.

“Lou tasted the wine there and really liked it,” Valerie says.

“He decided to get some of the rootstock and start growing and making it here in Australia.”

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