The Swift family is a force to be reckoned with, moving to the Central West in the 70s and establishing their first vineyard in 1996. Jim and Ruth Swift founded Printhie, and since 2002, their sons Ed and Dave have worked hard to build up the Printhie wine brand. In 2004, the winery and cellar door were built and now the winery has a 750 tonne capacity with barrel store and warehouse at the original property. In 2020, the team behind Swift Sparkling celebrated their 10th Anniversary and the elegant range that have been handcrafted by world class winemaker Drew Tuckwell have all picked up significant awards at the NSW wine awards. I was lucky enough to secure a ticket to this pinnacle event celebration and it is a pleasure to share what I have learned about this fabulous range from Ed and Dave Swift.
How do you all balance your work and family life?
To be honest at the moment we are lacking in balance! We’re running the winery and working in the cellar door 7 days a week. After the Covid shutdown we decided to move the cellar door to our new site at 208 Nancarrow Lane, Nashdale and it’s been non-stop since then. We will eventually build a new cellar door with a restaurant on the site but for now we’re running out of a beautiful old fruit packing shed built in the 1910’s.
When did you first have the thought and inspiration for producing sparkling and why?
It’s been a passion of the team for a long time now to create a premium methodé traditionelle sparkling. Which basically means we’re making champagne but of course we can’t call it that. This means secondary fermentation happens in the bottle and the yeast eating the sugar creates CO2 which produces the bubbles. Most sparklings produced in Australia are simply carbonated wine. A lot more skill, time, effort and patience goes into a methodé traditionnelle sparkling. Discussions started in 2008 and 2010 was our first vintage of creating a methodé traditionnelle sparkling wine. Our youngest Swift Sparklings are aged at least 5 years before we release them and our Blanc de Blancs is now 10 years old
Where is your sparkling made?
The base wine is made and stored in our winery. When it is time for disgorgement (after several years) we send it away (where the neck is frozen and yeast solids removed) as this is a very specialised piece of equipment.
You created that beautiful brand art piece for Swift in front of the Opera House; tell me more about that story?
We wanted to recreate the old Hollywood feeling of glamour but with an Australian perspective which captures the fun of drinking sparkling.
Our event Mumfest Central West event chose the serve the beautiful rose just prior to wining the Best Sparkling at the NSW Wine Awards again this year which was so exciting! How is your rose made?
The Sparkling Rosé uses the same wine base as the Swift Cuvée (named in the 2021 top 10 best Sparklings in Australia by James Halliday) with the addition of Pinot Noir at the dosage stage. Whilst only a small amount of Pinot Noir is added it changes the profile of the sparkling completely and produces a beautiful complexity to it.
How challenging is it for you and your business to have sparkling wines laying in the cellar developing over 8 years ready to release for consumption?
We’ve actually got some that have been there for 10 years. It’s a huge investment to have stock sitting there for a decade before you bring it to market. It’s certainly not an easy decision to make but our aim is to be considered one of Australia’s best sparkling producers and the awards we’ve received in the last few years are testament to that.
The French have set the benchmark with their champagne; how do you position your sparkling against their product?
Australia’s Tyson Stelzer, considered an expert on both French champagne and Australian Sparkling, has used the same scoring system on our sparklings as he does on French champagne and our sparklings are on par with French champagne houses such as Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot, Pommery and Perrier-Jouet.
Tell us about the exciting new release Swift 2016 Blanc de Noirs?
A very individual wine for Swift Sparkling, given that all other Swift wines are chardonnay dominant. This wine has been inspired by some of Champagne’s notable grower producers, where we have attempted to produce an interesting, high quality wine first that just happens to be sparkling as well. Ripe red fruit flavours, some savouriness from barrel fermentation, cloudy juice for depth and texture. It is a little left of field, intentionally so. Viva la difference.
For a bit of fun, share with us your favourite food pairings with each sparkling in the collection?
Cuvée – freshly shucked oysters
Rosé – something slightly Persian with feta, greens & pomegranate seeds
Vintage 2012 – Something a creamier such as mushroom risotto
Blanc de Noirs – Go for salmon, trout, duck pancake, sashimi
Blanc de Blanc – Also goes well with salmon/sashimi
“Our sparklings are not just aperitifs – they are complex enough to go beautifully with main meals.”
Why is this 10 year celebration significant for Swift Sparkling? Tell us about the evening’s event?
We’ve come a long way in 10 years since starting the Swift Sparkling range and we wanted to take a moment to celebrate the journey. We are only releasing the 10 year old Blanc de Blanc now so it’s been a long time coming and something worth celebrating especially since it has been received so well. The evening is all about enjoying sparkling.
Check out Swift Sparkling here: