Hey! You're new.

Fancy a drink?

Press Enter to submit
Packs About
Get Involved
Press Enter to submit

20Q: Brendon Keys, BK Wines

Since landing in the Adelaide Hills’ Basket Range a little under a decade ago, Kiwi native Brendon Keys has made some serious waves.

As part of the crew continuing to redefine what we understand as ‘modern’ Australian wine, Keys is a low-fi enthusiast with a keen desire for experimentation, but only in the pursuit of making delicious wines.

A three-time finalist in the Young Gun of Wine Awards (winning the coveted ‘Winemakers Choice Award’ in 2014), and listed as one of the ‘Top 10 Dark Horses’ to watch in James Halliday’s Wine Companion, it’s a pursuit that has so far won Keys – and wife Kirsty – many fans.

We caught up with Brendon moments before he took off to show his wines at the ‘Artisans of Australia’ tasting being held in London today…


1. Who are you?

A Kiwi kid, living and loving, making wine with a young family in Australia.

2. What do you do?

I act as a middleman, getting grapes from the vineyard to the bottle.

3. How did BK Wines come to be?

After coming back from making wine in Argentina I took a job in the Adelaide Hills, and during that harvest I made two barrels of Pinot Noir, and then needed to sell them. That was 2007, and it was the start of BK Wines.

4. Why the Adelaide Hills?

When I worked in McLaren Vale, we took fruit from the Adelaide Hills, and I always liked the cool-climate varietals from there. I saw some amazing fruit and loved that there were no preconceived ideas about winemaking or style. A clean slate!

5. The Adelaide Hills has never made better – or a more diverse range of – wine. What’s going on up there?

People are beginning to understand the Adelaide Hills vineyards are starting to get some maturity, and, like I said before, no preconceived ideas, so anybody can go for it.

6. Whose wines should we be checking out?

There’s an explosion of new producers here, and all are making cool wines.

7. What do you do when you’re not making wine?

Skate, cook, hang out with my family and friends, and open as many bottles of wine as possible!

8. Who are you fascinated by?

Kevin Kowalski.

9. When are you happiest?

I only try to do things that make me happy. I don’t want to sound cheesy, but I’m doing the best to eliminate the shit that doesn’t make me happy.

10. Is there a wine you are most proud of?

I love them all at certain times, and I end up going off on tangents. That’s probably why we have 16 wines in our range, including five different Pinots and five different Chardonnays.

11. What do you wish you knew about winemaking before you started?

The hardest part of the job is getting paid.

12. You’ve got one album to get you through vintage, what is it?

I’m always changing music, but this harvest it was Dillinger’s ‘CB 200’ (1976).

13. The biggest myth surrounding wine is…

If you don’t use cultured yeast your wine will be spoiled or bad.

14. What’s your knock-off drink of choice?

Beer to cleanse the palate before wine.

15. Whisky or gin?

Gin with Campari and vermouth.

16. Night or day?

Skateboarding or DJ’ing.

17. Childhood or adulthood?

I think you need to experience childhood to appreciate adulthood.

18. Favourite ice-cream flavour?

Black sesame seed.

19. Perfect Sunday lunch?

Slow-roasted meats, good friends, lots of wines and frontside grinds if the ramp is dry!

20. Johnny Ramone or Johnny Rotten?

Johnny Rotten.