2013 Australian Craft Awards

Terroir Clay Wine Vessels

Image Credit : Photo by John Ullinger



This product is for the winemaker seeking to individualise and differentiate their wine from their competitors. By using site specific soil additions and a choice of porosities each batch of vessels is unique to the vineyard for which it is created.
Stored and treated carefully these vessels will last indefinitely.


John Ullinger


I have been collaborating with the people at Yangarra Wines, Mclarenvale South Australia for nearly a year


In recent years there has been an explosion of interest in the use of clay and other vessels for wine making as modern winemakers look to break away from monocultural practices. I am an experienced potter and an avowed ceramic history and technology nerd and put quite simply, I could not resist getting involved.

In Ancient times, clay amphorae were used extensively for wine making and the transport of wine. The ancient vessels were very porous and so the wine did not keep well, this means that the ageing of wine as we now know it apparently did not exist. The ceramic technology of the time did not allow the potters to create non and/or low porosity vessels and the millennia old practiceof winemaking in clay vessels was largely superceded by oaken barrels. Oak barrels were spread throughout the ancient world by the Romans and became the dominant wine making vessel to this day.

Design Challenge

I have engaged in an extensive testing program of clay porosity and the additions of site specific subsoil from the vineyard to the clay body. As far as I can tell, I am the first to use site specific subsoils ever… In this way the local soil profile is used to assist the winemaker in communicating the “terroir” of the wine in a unique and real way.
These are handmade items that echo the classical forms and processes of antiquity however with a contemporary and minimalist approach to design. The small hole in the top and the absence of handles are at the specific request of winemakers in order to fit into a modern winemaking environment

This award celebrates creative and innovative craftsmanship for homewares. Consideration given to materials, concept, originality, function and aesthetic.

More Details