McLaren Vale

Brash Higgins

Chicago native Brad Hickey thrived in the heat of the American restaurant scene as a somm in NYC for a decade. But like so many before him, he was looking for a change: a change of pace and a change of place. The forces that be brought him to South Australia where he found himself amid a blossoming wine renaissance.

As we know, Australians like to give their own names to pretty much everything, and Brad was no exception. Brad quickly became Brash, ostensibly for his New Yorker reputation. Though sitting with him, it’s hard to believe that anyone would consider this soft-spoken Midwesterner (without a hint of Bronx twang) to be brash, at least by any North American standards. As to how Hickey became Higgins? He just shrugs his shoulders and says: “It just did.”

Brad’s goal in winemaking, like so many of his nouveau-Australian peers, is to find exceptional vineyard sites and capture their expression in a bottle. Albeit in this case, really cool bottles. Field blends and uncommon grape varieties don’t slow him down. If he likes the site, he’ll find the owner and make them an offer on the fruit.

The Omensetter vineyard he and his partner (Nicole Thorpe) own and farm have been completely converted to organic agriculture and they prefer to work with organic and biodynamic growers.

Brad and Nicole’s wines consequently, are filled with varietal character and have a freshness and minerality unseen in the wines of his predecessors. Brash Higgins wines make us believe we have only seen the beginning of what Australian wine is capable of achieving in the 21st century.

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In McLaren Vale, the BEKKERS story is born of a rare connection with nature and a world of experience. ...more>