Barossa & McLaren meet on Chesser

By Lauren Ferrone

Vines from Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale will creep its way to Chesser Street with help from Adelaide business owner, Max Mason.

Max, owner of Chesser Street restaurant The Henry Austin, is planting ornamental glory vines from the two South Australian wine regions to, not only encourage city businesses to ‘go green’, but support partnerships between businesses and brands in the State.

Chesser Street’s original vines, which provided a green canopy for some 50 years, were pronounced dead last year.

“I’ve always been struck by the prospect of Chesser Street being the meeting point between the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale; where the two wine regions meet,” Max says.

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Max Mason, owner of Henry Austin, plants ornamental glory vines, from two South Australian wineries, along Chesser Street

Six of the vines are donated by Coriole Vineyards in McLaren Vale, and the remaining six from Barossa Valley’s Dell’uva Wines.

Max describes the vine project as just part of his “green agenda”.

“It’s my move to ask businesses within the CBD to invest and investigate as much as they can about the planting of green spaces,” Max says.

He’s no stranger to running a business based on sustainability. Max was the first in the UK to be awarded a three-star sustainability award for his first restaurant which he opened 12 years ago.

“It was a business based on sustainability, supporting local and recycling to make sure its carbon footprint was tiny. It has always been foremost in my mind and consideration for what a business should look for the future.”

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The Henry Austin’s Max Mason, Tess Footner and Minister Bignell before planting the vines on Chesser Street

The Henry Austin is just another example of Max’s mission to – not only run a sustainable business – but support local where ever possible.

“From the bottom up, Henry Austin supports local. The bottle shop downstairs is all South Australian wine and we’re fortunate it’s not only local, but also some of the best wine in the world,” he says.

“When it comes up to the main restaurant, the chefs are encouraged to always to pull in seasonal local produce… and we don’t write a menu so what they do is ensure they pull in the very best produce they can get locally by working very closely with local suppliers and producers to get the best flavour on the menu.”

And the resurrection of vines from the two wine regions is another way he’s showing support for the State.

Max is now a strong supporter of Brand South Australia’s new campaign I Choose SA, which encourages people to choose South Australian businesses, products and produce.

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Max’s vine project has the support of Minister Bignell and other Chesser Street businesses

But, as a “new arrival” to South Australia, Max jokingly admits he may be an “unusual candidate” to encourage people to choose local.

“I’m a Pom who has run a ridiculously successful business in the northern hemisphere, but I came to South Australia because I think it’s unparalleled in terms of produce, what the city can offer, its proximity to not only the coast, but vines, and the hills,” he says.

“I don’t think there’s anywhere better, and more undiscovered, in the world than here in South Australia… and I love and am all for shouting about that.”

South Australia’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Leon Bignell, joins Max in planting the vines on Chesser Street, just outside The Henry Austin today (Wednesday, September 14).

Max eventually hopes to also see a selection of McLaren Vale and Barossa Valley wineries line Chesser Street to complement the newly planted vines.

All images by Brand South Australia