Two Hands, One Vision: Unveiling Excellence in Australian Winemaking

Two Hands, One Vision: Unveiling Excellence in Australian Winemaking.

Located in the heart of Australia’s wine country, Two Hands Winery stands as a beacon of quality, tradition, and innovation in the viticulture world. Founded on the principles of producing high-quality wines that reflect the essence of their terroir, Two Hands has carved a niche for itself among wine aficionados and casual drinkers alike. 

Recently, Dutch importer VinVin Wines hosted us for an exclusive luncheon with Pierre-Henri Morel, the visionary owner and operator of Two Hands Winery. The event took place at Restaurant Lutum, which excelled in both culinary expertise and wine pairing.

During the meal, we engaged in deep discussions with Pierre-Henri about the philosophy, practices, and passion that fuel this exceptional winery. Naturally, we also had the opportunity to taste and review a selection of their distinguished wines.

The Visionary Founders

The inception of Two Hands Winery is a tale of passion, vision, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. In September 1999, Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz, the visionary founders, decided to embark on a journey to make their own wine and share it with the world. Their mission was clear: to create the best possible Shiraz-based wines from esteemed vineyards across Australia, breaking the habit of multi-region labels and showcasing the diversity of Australian shiraz by highlighting the terroir and vineyard characteristics.

In 2014, Pierre-Henri Morel joined the Two Hands story as the Sales and Marketing Director, bringing with him a fresh perspective and a deep passion for wine. His impact was immediate and profound, leading to his eventual role as General Manager and co-owner. 

Morel’s vision and leadership, developed at Rhône powerhouse M. Chapoutier, have been instrumental in propelling Two Hands into new markets and heights, all while maintaining the winery’s core values of quality, innovation, and respect for the terroir.

The Two Hands Winery Estate in Barossa Valley.

A Journey of Growth and Dedication

The story of Two Hands begins in 1999, with their 2000 vintage, deriving from McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek. Soon after Two Hands established itself in the Barossa Valley, Marananga, in 2003. Here they acquired a vineyard and a heritage building dating back to 1889. 

This building, once the village bakery, was transformed into a cellar door, marking the start of a journey that would see Two Hands grow into a winery revered for its commitment to quality and natural winemaking. 

As Morel recounts, “We have been fortunate to be successful quickly and all profits were reinjected in the business to improve as quickly as we could”.

Despite rapid growth, Two Hands made a conscious decision in 2006 to cap production to ensure that quality was never compromised. This decision underscores a philosophy that prioritizes attention to detail and a hands-on approach to winemaking. “We still visit every block, every day, make picking decisions. We don’t rely on growers. We test every barrel ourselves,” Morel explains, highlighting the meticulous care that goes into every bottle of Two Hands wine.

The Estate’s Old Bakehouse.

Embracing the Land

With 42 hectares of vines spread across the Western Ranges and another 6 hectares in Eden Valley, Two Hands has a profound connection to the land. This connection is evident in their approach to vineyard management, which emphasizes natural and sustainable practices. From using dried native weeds and grass as mulch, to protect moisture in the soil, to the innovative use of kaolin clay as a natural sunscreen for vines, Two Hands is at the forefront of environmentally friendly viticulture.

The Holy Grail Vineyard.

One of the most groundbreaking practices adopted by Two Hands is the use of sap flow systems to monitor vine stress and optimize irrigation. This technology, which Morel describes as “quite expensive but the benefits…are so great that you don’t think about the price,” has allowed Two Hands to reduce soil irrigation by 50%. This not only conserves water but also ensures that vines are resilient and produce grapes of the highest quality.

The Yacca Block Vineyard.

The Wine Selection

During a fantastic lunch at Restaurant Luttum, Wijk bij Duurstede, we enjoyed a selection of nine different wines by Two Hands. 

The selection consisted of wines in the following Two Hands categories: Picture Series, Garden Series, Single Vineyard Series and Flagship Series. Below our reviews and ratings for this impressive representation of some of Australia’s premier wine regions.

Picture Series

The Boy | Brave Faces | Angel’s Share | Sexy Beast

Two Hands’ Picture Series embodies a playful fusion of high-quality winemaking and popular culture. Each wine features distinctive polaroid imagery by Don Brice and quirky back label descriptions, designed to make wine more approachable and fun. Although whimsical in presentation, these wines are serious in quality, using the same meticulous techniques as the higher tiers of Two Hands’ portfolio. The series showcases a diverse array of varietals and regions, with each new release offering a creative twist, thanks to Michael, the “ideas man,” who crafts memorable names and stories for each wine. This blend of top-notch winemaking and engaging storytelling makes the Picture Series a vibrant introduction to the Two Hands brand.

Two Hands Picture Series and our Ratings.

2023 The Boy Riesling
Picture Series | Riesling | Eden Valley

The Boy Riesling captures the youthful exuberance of Eden Valley. This wine, sourced from vines between 80-100 years old surprisingly maintains a vibrant, youthful demeanor, characterized by piercing acidity and an electric mineral streak. The palate is alive with crisp green apple and zesty lime flavors, underscored by a stony minerality that lends a clean, sharp finish. The wine’s intense acidity is beautifully balanced by a taut structure, making it a standout expression of Riesling’s potential in Australian soil.

We reward this wine with a 90-point DWA score.

2022 Brave Faces

Picture Series | Grenache, Mourvèdre and Shiraz | Barossa Valley

Brave Faces is a robust expression of old-vine Grenache, accented by Mourvèdre and a whisper of Shiraz. This wine is a celebration of survival, with each sip showcasing the depth and resilience of its vines. The Grenache leads with bold, luscious red fruit flavors—think sun-ripened strawberries and juicy raspberries—while Mourvèdre adds complexity with subtle earthy undertones and a hint of leather. The minimal addition of Shiraz seasons the blend with spice, enhancing the vibrant fruit with a delicate peppery edge.

We reward this wine with a 91-point DWA score.

2022 Angel’s Share

Picture Series | Shiraz | McLaren Vale

Angel’s Share is an inviting Shiraz that embodies the terroir of McLaren Vale with its plush, approachable profile. This wine is a smooth interplay of ripe blueberries and black cherries, layered with vanilla and soft, smoky oak. Its texture is velvety, with a richness that envelopes the palate, yet it retains a freshness that speaks to its coastal origins. The maritime climate of McLaren Vale imparts a subtle coolness to the wine, ensuring that it remains balanced and poised.

We reward this wine with a 92-point DWA score.

2022 Sexy Beast

Picture Series | Cabernet Sauvignon | McLaren Vale

Sexy Beast is a vivacious Cabernet Sauvignon, marked by its immediate drinkability and charming character. It bursts with aromas of black currant and fresh mint, leading into a palate full of ripe plums and a hint of eucalyptus. The tannins are remarkably smooth for such a young Cabernet, making it unusually approachable. The finish is clean and refreshing, with a lively acidity that invites another sip. The name reflects its bold yet seductive nature, making it a modern take on McLaren Vale Cabernet.

We reward this wine with a 90-point DWA score.

Two Hands’ Garden, Single Vineyard and Flagship Series and our Ratings.

Garden Series

Bella’s Garden | Lily’s Garden

Two Hands’ Garden Series is a distinguished collection of wines that celebrate the diversity and complexity of Shiraz across six unique Australian regions. Each wine in the series is meticulously crafted from premium fruit sourced from the finest Shiraz-growing areas, illustrating the concept of terroir by highlighting the distinctive characteristics of each region.

Driven by Michael Twelftree’s passion for showcasing regional nuances within Australian Shiraz, the Garden Series serves as a masterclass in regionality. Each wine is treated identically in terms of vinification and maturation at the Two Hands’ estate, ensuring that the differences in flavor and texture are purely expressions of their respective environments. This approach allows each wine to reflect its specific soil, climate, and regional attributes, providing a pure and educational tasting experience.

The Garden Series not only demonstrates Two Hands’ commitment to quality and expression of place but also offers wine enthusiasts a deep dive into the varied profiles of Australian Shiraz. This series is a testament to the rich tapestry of Australian winemaking and the unique stories each region has to tell.

2020 Bella’s Garden

Garden Series | Shiraz | Barossa Valley

Bella’s Garden is a quintessential Barossa Shiraz, offering a symphony of dark, brooding fruits mingled with spicy undertones and a hint of mocha. The wine’s deep garnet color preludes its complexity, presenting layers of blackberry, licorice, and dark chocolate, seamlessly integrated with fine-grained tannins and a robust structure. It’s a powerful yet balanced Shiraz, with each element finely tuned to create a harmonious whole that promises great aging potential.

We reward this wine with a 94+ point DWA score.

2021 Lily’s Garden

Garden Series | Shiraz | McLaren Vale

Lily’s Garden from McLaren Vale offers a softer, more nuanced take on Shiraz. This wine is all about elegance and finesse, featuring a bouquet of violets and fresh red berries. The palate is a delicate balance of fruit purity and subtle spice, with softer tannins that glide smoothly across the tongue. The finish is long and perfumed, reflecting the unique microclimate and soil of its vineyard. It’s a reflective, almost poetic expression of Shiraz.

We reward this wine with a 93+ point DWA score.

Single Vineyard Series

Holy Grail | Yacca Block

Two Hands’ Single Vineyard Series exemplifies the pinnacle of varietal expression and the profound influence of terroir. This series advances the concept of regionality explored in the Garden Series by offering a more intimate and detailed look at how specific vineyard sites influence the character of Shiraz.

Each wine in the Single Vineyard Series is named after the vineyard block, the road, and the township from which the grapes are sourced, grounding each bottle in its geographic origin. This naming convention, along with detailed notes on elevation, soil type, and aspect provided by Two Hands, invites wine enthusiasts to explore and understand the unique conditions of each vineyard.

The series represents a commitment to showcasing the distinctiveness of each site, emphasizing that the personality and style of Shiraz can vary dramatically even within the same region. These wines are not just expressions of Shiraz but are narratives of their unique landscapes, offered with the possibility of experiencing them firsthand through the Vineyard Experience. This approach allows each vineyard’s unique characteristics to shine, making the Single Vineyard Series a true exploration of place and variety.

2021 Holy Grail

Single Vineyard Series | Shiraz | Barossa Valley

Holy Grail is an exemplary single vineyard Shiraz that captures the essence of its Seppeltsfield origins in Barossa. This wine is crafted from the choicest parcels, where the vines produce small, concentrated berries. The result is a profound depth of flavor, presenting dense layers of black fruits, allspice, and a touch of savory umami. The texture is sumptuous, with velvety tannins that envelop the palate, leading to a finish that lingers with echoes of espresso and dark chocolate. It’s a wine that commands attention, embodying the power and prestige of Barossa Shiraz.

We reward this wine with a 95-point DWA score.

2020 Yacca Block

Single Vineyard Series | Shiraz | Eden Valley

Yacca Block is a distinctive Shiraz from Eden Valley, showcasing the cooler, more mineral-driven side of this varietal. The wine exudes aromas of crushed rocks and iron, alongside a cooler spectrum of fruit—crisp plums and blueberries. On the palate, it’s tightly wound with a firm tannic backbone and a vibrant acidity that carries the mineral and fruit flavors to a lengthy, austere finish. It’s a complex, thought-provoking wine that stands apart for its unique soil expression and altitude influence.

We reward this wine with a 96-point DWA score.

Flagship Series


Two Hands’ Flagship Series stands as the zenith of their winemaking efforts, showcasing the very finest varietal selections from each vintage. Embodying the philosophy of “quality without compromise,” this series involves a rigorous classification process where only the top-performing barrels are selected to bear the Flagship label. Chief Winemaker Richard Langford plays a pivotal role in this process, meticulously assessing barrels six months post-vintage to identify those that exhibit exceptional quality and potential.

The selection criteria are so stringent that only barrels graded A+ are included in the Flagship Series. This ensures that even in challenging vintages, the integrity and quality of the wines are maintained, though quantities may be smaller. As a result, each wine in this series is not just a representation of its vintage but a benchmark of ultra-premium quality.

Named after the mighty Greek gods, with Ares leading the pack, the wines in the Flagship Series are designed for remarkable aging potential and structural complexity. These wines are not just crafted to be enjoyed in their youth but are poised to evolve and mature, promising enhanced depth and character as they age in the cellar. This series is truly a showcase of the best that Two Hands Wines has to offer, combining meticulous selection with legendary inspiration.

2018 Ares
Flagship Series | Shiraz | Barossa Valley

Ares represents the pinnacle of Two Hands’ craft, a flagship Barossa Valley Shiraz that is selected from the finest barrels each vintage. This wine is a powerful and stately expression, showcasing concentrated flavors of black cherry, anise, and warm spices. The palate is layered and opulent, with a silky texture that wraps around robust tannins, culminating in a profound finish that echoes with notes of vanilla and toasted cedar. Ares is a testament to the art of blending, where each component is meticulously chosen to contribute to an exquisite whole, reflecting both the character of its vintage and the high art of winemaking.

We reward this wine with a 95-point DWA score.

Winemaking: A Balance of Tradition and Innovation

At Two Hands, winemaking is an art form that balances tradition with innovation. The winery employs traditional techniques, such as hand-picking grapes and minimal intervention in the winemaking process, alongside modern practices to enhance the quality of their wines. For instance, fermentation is finished in oak to impart complexity and depth, while the use of French oak barrels ensures that the fruit’s purity is preserved.

Morel is particularly proud of the winery’s approach to skin contact, which varies from 15 to 65 days depending on the wine, far exceeding the Australian average. This extended maceration period allows for the extraction of rich flavors and tannins, resulting in wines that are balanced, fresh, and fruit-driven.

Vineyard Work in the ‘The Clos’ Vineyard.

A Legacy of Excellence

Two Hands Winery’s dedication to excellence is evident in every aspect of its operation, from vineyard management to winemaking. By embracing both tradition and innovation, Two Hands has established itself as a leader in the Australian wine industry, producing wines that are not only reflective of their terroir but also of the passion and dedication of the people behind them.

As we conclude our interview, Morel reflects on the future, “The strategy is the same. Own your best vineyard. Don’t own all of your vineyards. We still have access to amazing grapes.” This philosophy, coupled with a commitment to sustainable practices and quality winemaking, ensures that Two Hands Winery will continue to captivate and delight wine lovers for generations to come.

This article was written by our own Niels Aarts. Two Hands wines is imported in the Netherlands by VinVin Wines, and available through direct sale or selected retail and hospitality partners. 

We would like to thank Pierre-Henri Morel of Two Hands for his time and the great wines provided, VinVin for the introduction to these wines and Restaurant Lutum for the excellent lunch. Picture credits: Two Hands Winery and Dutch Wine Apprentice.