Wine Spotlight: Bullets Before Cannonballs

Ricca Terra Farm’s Bullets Before Cannonballs is a red blend of five grape varieties: Tempranillo, Lagrein, Aglianico, Nero d’Avola and Durif. But what's the story behind the name?

Mythology has it that inexperienced sailors were defeated by enemy ships after firing cannonballs that missed their targets. These defeats could have been avoided if the trajectory of the cannonball was calculated prior to being fired. Experienced sailors did this by firing bullets first, allowing them to work out precisely where the cannonball should be shot for maximum impact. That’s exactly how Ricca Terra Farms viticulturist Ashley Ratcliffe said he feels when it comes to planting new grape varieties.

“Rather than mass planting a new grape variety and then learning how it behaves as a vine and a wine, our approach has been to plant small plots of a new grape variety; then watch, wait and learn,” Ratcliffe said. “When the right bullet is identified, the cannonball is loaded and fired…meaning the grape variety is introduced into Ricca Terra Farms’ grape variety portfolio.”

Ratcliffe’s philosophy seems to be working, with all three vintages of Bullets Before Cannonballs being awarded gold medals at the three Australian Alternative Variety Wine Shows they have entered.

Ricca Terra has established a reputation for favouring alternative grape varieties originating from Portugal, Spain, and Italy many of which are virtually unknown in Australia and therefore offering consumers something new and interesting. Hand-pruned and picked, Ricca Terra wines are also vegan friendly.

Why not try one and wow your friends at your next dinner party ?

View our full selection of Ricca Terra wines on sale, including Bullets Before Cannonballs.


Katrina ArcherKatrina Archer is a writer from the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. When she’s not busy blogging about food and wine, Katrina’s passionate about writing stories for children. To see some of her work click here



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