When did you realise you wanted tobecome a winemaker?
I fell into it, really! As a kid growing up and working in the family vineyard it was the last thing that I wanted to do, but now I am filled with the passion that I saw in my father and I love [being a winemaker].
Please tell us about your career so far.
Growing up through the ranks in our family business, I went from working in the vineyard and then progressed into the winery, working alongside my father Ian Summerfield. I gained three vintages of winery experience at Cassegrain Winery working under the guidance of John Cassegrain and Drew Noon, which was of great advantage to me. I have no formal education as such, with my knowledge gained through hands-on experience and driven by a passion for winemaking.
What do you love most about being a winemaker?
The most enjoyable thing for me about winemaking is taking a grape and letting it express itself to its fullest potential. Not trying to make it something that it isn’t, just letting it express itself to the full potential of that unique season.
What is your favourite wine, and what food do you typically pair it with?
Cabernet would be my favourite wine, paired with our Australian Suffolk loin of lamb cooked on an open fire.
Is there a specific process you follow when developing a new wine?
Every wine at Summerfield is treated on its own merits. While there are particular procedures that we follow, every wine is treated individually for many different reasons.
Is there any vintage you’re particularly proud of creating? Why?
2018 was a wonderful vintage; a wonderful season where the wines pretty much made themselves!
How does the local climate/soil affect the wine you make?
Being 50-kilometres north of the Great Dividing Range provides our region with warm days and cool nights, helping our fruit to ripen easily while also retaining wonderful varietal characters. Combining this with the alluvial loam soils, you have a recipe for great wines.
Which of your own varieties do you typically indulge in?
Shiraz and cabernet!
Where do you see yourself in five years? How do you think your winemaking will evolve during this time?
[It’s] always slow steps when we talk about change in winemaking as we have a very strong member base who love our wines. Summerfield is always a winery first, but with a lot of passion, hard work and with a great team, we have been able to create a destination. A destination surrounded by wonderful gardens, boasting a restaurant, accommodation and bakery, where hundreds of people come to relax and enjoy our fine produce every week. If we can maintain consistency and continue to improve, I will be more than happy.
From Wineries of Victoria – Issue 12, edited by Bethany Hayes.