When did you realise you wanted tobecome a winemaker?
In 1996 I had an around-the-world ticket, and found myself in the South West of France, working a vintage. I was eighteen, and as they say… the rest is history!
Please tell us about your career so far.
1996, working in the South West of France was my very first vintage. [I spent] the subsequent years helping in the vineyards of South Australia and Margaret River. Between 2001-2005 I completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Science, majoring in Oenology at Adelaide University. I have since worked at Shaw and Smith, Hardys Tintara, Shadowfax, Bests Great Western, Brokenwood and at Medhurst Wines [where I have been] for the past six years. In total, I have contributed to around twenty-five vintages now. [These include] several in Burgundy, France as well as several in the Spanish regions of Rioja, Rueda and Ribera del Duero.
What do you love most about being a winemaker?
It’s a really great connection to the natural environment; the weather, the land, the
vines and the people that are around you. Typically I wear a few ‘hats’ – helping in all the day-to-day tasks and longer term decision making, the running of the winery, the cellar door and the national distribution of the wines.
What is your favourite wine, and what food do you typically pair it with?
The 2014 Grand Cru White Burgundies, from great producers [would be my favourite wine], paired with line-caught King George whiting.
Is there a specific process you follow when developing a new wine?
Not really, we don’t develop new styles that often.
Is there any vintage you’re particularly proud of creating? Why?
[There are many vintages that I’m proud of], but 2014 was remarkable for some powerful reds, and the 2017 wines were so electric from the very first moment they were created. [These particular vintages] are memorable because they are also my son and daughter’s birth years too.
How does the local climate/soil affect the wine you make?
[The local climate and soil] creates the entire character of the wine. The quality is dictated in the winery, but the climate and soil are the character.
Which of your own varieties do you typically indulge in?
Chardonnay, pinot noir, rosé and cabernet sauvignon.
Where do you see yourself in five years? How do you think your winemaking will evolve during this time?
[Like it is today] the focus will always be on flavour, complexity and balance. With those three elements lined up, the rest falls into place.
From Wineries of Victoria – Issue 12, edited by Bethany Hayes.