About us


The Pawn Wine Co. had its beginning in 2002 out of necessity when 2 mates – winemaker Tom Keelan and vigneron David Blows had their fruit deemed ‘not good enough’ by a particular nameless, soulless wine monolith. They had now become mere Pawns in the global wine game, doomed to be played and moved around, and ultimately sacrificed.

So the 2 rolled up their sleeves and decided to show the corporate colossals what can be made from fruit grown in their neck of the hills. They set out to make small hand selected parcels of wine from alternative varieties grown in the Adelaide Hills. They had seen that alternative grape varieties were being used as blending tools by the bigger corporate wine companies and that the potential of “old world” wine styles was not being allowed to shine.

Like Pawns, these varieties were ignored or sacrificed by the dominating wine corporates and not being used as stand alone artisinal Adelaide Hills wines of provenance.

This first vintage of The Pawn received so many accolades, that it only seemed fair to start the crusade and take on the global wine giants, stand up for the little guy and  rebel against the corporate players of the wine industry.

Tom has set out to identify other idyllic viticultural sites and hand selected parcels of fruit within the Adelaide Hills to produce wines that are not only a bit unconventional, but enjoyable to drink, incredibly food friendly, and made in a style that reflects their true origins – the ultimate in hand crafted, Adelaide Hills, Artisinal wine.


With the ever increasing centralisation of the wine industry, I, like you, could be forgiven for thinking we were all just pawns in the big wine company game. The release of the Pawn is a manifestation of my resolve to amend this situation by releasing wines hand crafted from small parcels of premium fruit from the Adelaide Hills.

With this philosophy as my goal, I have embarked on a crusade to produce Artisinal, hand crafted wines from varieties such as Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Fiano, Gruner Veltliner, Pinot Grigio, Shiraz, Montepuciano and Sauvignon Blanc.

Wines created to be consumed young and fresh and with food as their ultimate cohort.


The Pawn Wine Co.
Vintage 2018

Despite extremes in weather during the V2018 growing season, the final stages of both flavour development and sugar ripening combined to result in wines that will reflect the advantages of growing grapes in the Adelaide Hills.

Dry conditions in June 2017 threatened depleted soil moisture levels, not seen since the drought conditions experienced in the late 2000’s. However, welcome rains in July corrected this deficit which was fortunate as the growing season rainfall was only 69.1% of the Long-Term Average.

Bud-burst was late for the V2018 season, almost as late as recorded in the wet and cold conditions in the unusually late V2017. However, soil temperatures rose steadily resulting in an even bud-burst, although shoot growth was significantly slower than usual. For the second consecutive season, the fruit zone was compact and shaded, and it was not until the second week of November that the rate of shoot growth returned to normal. Fortunately, from a disease viewpoint, rainfall was below average and most vineyards reported minimal disease pressure.

Fruit set throughout the region was average to above average. Canopies developed to be as large as V2016 with full capacity to ripen crop loads.  January, February (equal to V2013 and V2015) and April were the warmest recorded in the last eight seasons. Fortunately, a cooler than average March enabled ideal night temperatures for colour and flavour development. A long slow ripening, particularly for red varieties, resulted in wines that will be remembered for their depth of flavour and colour.

Our Vintage 2018 will be remembered for a few things, beautiful elegant grape and wine quality, lots of rain in Spring, no super heatwaves in Summer and a slow tempered ripening period over 3 months.