Four Pillars releases 2019 Bloody Shiraz Gin »

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Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin - on the rocks

Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin - on the rocks [©Benito Martin]

Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin Spritz
Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin
Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin Sour


It’s that time of year, when the team at Four Pillars combine Yarra Valley shiraz grapes with their signature Rare Dry Gin to create the new vintage of their revered, sought-after, cult favourite Bloody Shiraz Gin.

Australia’s only yearly release spirit, edition 2019 is finally back on shelves and back bars around Australia .

According to Distiller Cam Mackenzie, 2019 was a terrific season for Victorian cool climate shiraz, which has given the team another belter of a Bloody Shiraz Gin vintage.

“The season was set up nicely courtesy of good spring rain, then January and February saw some very dry conditions with the odd bloody hot day that combined to bring vintage forward by a week.

“While the majority of our grapes were again sourced from the same three vineyards in our home in the Yarra Valley, this is the first year we also took some grapes from other cool Southern Victorian regions. We sourced a small percentage from the Yea Valley just over the Black Spur to our north and also a parcel from Southern Bendigo to our west, which is cooler still than the Yarra itself.

“The fruit quality was sensational across the board (thanks growers). We followed the same principles as 2018, harvesting some shiraz early, looking for spice and red berry characters, and a second parcel later in the season to build colour, sweetness and darker fruit flavours.

“The resulting colour remains a deep, rich, reddish purple. And the aromas and flavours? Well, straight up there are pine forest juniper notes followed by white pepper, dark berries and spices. The palate is beautifully balanced with both sweetness and gin in spades, and some nice tannins on the finish.”

The history of this much-loved gin dates back to World Gin Day (arguably the second best day of the year) in 2015 when after ‘appropriating’ 250kg of shiraz from landlord at the time, Rob Dolan, Cam and the team steeped the whole berries with high-proof Rare Dry Gin for eight weeks before releasing it in an unlabelled bottle.

All of the strange, delicious purple liquid sold out in a matter of days. People were clamouring for more, so in 2016 the Bloody Shiraz Gin got its own proper label and a proper name, and in 2017 it was sent out into world, with a small amount exported to key markets in Asia, the USA and Europe.

It’s now a universal phenomenon.

To keep up with the ever-increasing demand, this year the team sought a small amount of grapes from other cool Southern Victorian regions, along with their traditional parcels of Yarra Valley shiraz from nearby Boat O’Craigo, Punt Road and Fergusson. These grapes are then steeped in Rare Dry Gin for eight weeks. The fruit is de-stemmed but kept mainly as whole berries, and the tanks kept cold and stirred daily.

After eight weeks the fruit is pressed before being blended with more Rare Dry Gin to achieve an alcohol level of 37.8%.

And if you’re wondering if Bloody Shiraz Gin is an Aussie riff on the traditional sloe gins of Europe, this is partly true, but with a couple of notable differences.

Firstly, Bloody Shiraz Gin is much stronger than the average sloe which sits around 25% alc/vol. This is so you can taste more of the gin and get a proper flavour hit in a cocktail. There is also no artificial colour or added sugar in the Bloody Shiraz – everything is natural – the sugar level is around 60-70% LESS than normally in a sloe gin – so while it has natural grape sweetness from the shiraz fruit, it is never cloying as so many sloe gins can be.

Bloody Shiraz Gin is also unfiltered and unfined so what you see and taste is what you get and it will develop interesting secondary characters in the bottle as it ages. Its recommended to drink it within two years of release date.


Here are some of Four Pillars' favourite ways to drink Bloody Shiraz Gin:

Simple: You can’t go wrong with a Lemon & Bloody – add 45ml Bloody Shiraz Gin and 100ml bitter lemon tonic in a rocks glass over ice, then garnish with ruby grapefruit.

Slightly more complicated: Try a Bloody Spritz – add 30ml Bloody Shiraz Gin and 30ml fresh ruby grapefruit juice to a Champagne flute, then top with sparkling wine.

If you’re feeling adventurous: Who Shot Tom Collins? Mix 30ml Rare Dry Gin and 100ml fresh lemonade in a highball over ice, squeeze in two wedges of lemon then float 15ml Bloody Shiraz Gin on top.

Fina a whole range of cocktail ideas on the website

2019 Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin 700mL, RRP A$85.00, is available at all good retailers and most great bars Australia-wide.


  • Yarra Valley (Wine) (VIC)

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June 19th, 2019
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