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  4.  | Issue 12 Meet The Winemaker – Anthony Murphy
Trentham Estate

Anthony Murphy


“The thing I love most is the busy pace of vintage, with the aromatic white ferments and the vibrant red colours in the cellar.”

Trentham Estate

When did you realise you wanted tobecome a winemaker?

I first knew that I wanted to be a winemaker during high school, when I would have been about seventeen years old. My father, Jack, suggested I look at doing winemaking because at the time I was doing fitting-and-turning at Mildura Technical College which I didn’t really enjoy, and was making wine as a hobby – which I loved. I started making wine at home; the first lot of wine was made from shiraz grapes grown on the family property.

Please tell us about your career so far.

In 1974, I worked a full year at Mildara Wines Merbein in all facets of the winery, including the laboratory, distillery, winery and the bottling plant as part of a prerequisite to Roseworthy College. This [experience] gave me a great grounding in all aspects of winemaking. I graduated from Roseworthy College in 1978 with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Oenology. While at Roseworthy, I did vintage experience with three different wineries – Hungerford Hill in Hunter Valley, Mildara Wines Coonawarra and Rouge Homme also in Coonawarra. After graduating, I went back to Mildara Wines in Merbein where my winemaking career officially launched. In 1979, I was appointed winemaker at Hamilton’s Ewell Vineyards in Eden Valley where I frequently travelled to while still at Merbein. From there in 1983, while working with famous winemaker Jack Schultz, we won a Jimmy Watson Trophy with a Coonawarra Cabernet Eden Valley Shiraz blend. Fast forward a few years to 1988, my brother Patrick and I established Trentham Estate Winery at our family property on the banks of the Murry River at Trentham Cliffs.

What do you love most about being a winemaker?

The thing I love most is the busy pace of vintage, with the aromatic white ferments and the vibrant red colours in the cellar. I really enjoy seeing the whole process from the grapes through to the bottled product. A typical day during vintage is an early morning start supervising grape crush and pressing and checking on ferments.

What is your favourite wine, and what food do you typically pair it with?

My favourite wine would have to be our Trentham Estate Chardonnay, which pairs perfectly with fresh Murray perch. A close second would be our Trentham Estate Pinot Noir, coupled with our duck dish.

Is there a specific process you follow when developing a new wine?

Usually a new wine comes from a new variety, so we would investigate the best styles that the variety can make and from there aim to emulate those wine styles that we like. This usually involves benchmarking other wines with blind tastings and discussing possible style types.

Is there any vintage you’re particularly proud of creating? Why?

We have just started our thirty-sixth vintage and each one has had some superb wines. I am proud of each vintage and the hard work and passion that each member of our team puts into producing amazing wines with great character. There are always stand-out wines from each vintage; generally whites will be better than reds or vice versa

depending on the season. In 2019 we enjoyed great success with ninety-one medals across our wines for that vintage.

How does the local climate/soil affect the wine you make?

The local climate provides consistent quality from year to year, making the Murray Darling a remarkable wine region. Our seasons are very consistent, being warm and dry, therefore we experience very little pressure from pests and diseases. We grow over fifty different grape varieties on the property, as the sandy red loam soil is ideal for many grape varieties.

Which of your own varieties do you typically indulge in?

I like to mix it up with traditional varietals like chardonnay and shiraz, but also exciting new styles like vermentino and Nero d’Avola.

Where do you see yourself in five years? How do you think your winemaking will evolve during this time?

In five years, I can see myself stepping away from the day-to-day role at Trentham Estate, looking towards retirement, but still being involved with the making of some wines.

From Wineries of Victoria – Issue 12, edited by Bethany Hayes.