When did you realise you wanted tobecome a winemaker?
It was 2011 [when I realised I wanted to become a winemaker].
Please tell us about your career so far.
When my mother and father left to travel overseas in 2005, I made my first solo vintage on our 1-acre family shiraz vineyard. [My parents] told me to get some friends to help pick it, and have a go! I started work at OZPAK in 2009 as a lab technician, performing analyses for wine bottling. The CEO encouraged me to enrol in the Charles Sturt University wine science degree, which I completed in 2015. After moving to Victoria’s surf coast, I did my first two vintages at Brown Magpie in 2011 and 2012 before getting a job at Scotchmans Hill. [Following this] I started at Terindah Estate in late 2013 as the vineyard manager and assistant winemaker. I was promoted to winemaker in 2015, and have been in this role since.
What do you love most about being a winemaker?
The dynamic nature of the work and the seasonal variability. I love being hands-on with both the grape-growing and the processing work. [There are] no typical days in my role, as the tasks are many and varied. This is one thing that keeps me interested and excited.
What is your favourite wine, and what food do you typically pair it with?
Pinot noir paired with pizza – this is my answer because it is what I had last night! My wine choices change regularly.
Is there a specific process you follow when developing a new wine?
I try to make wines that follow the development of the fruit for each season. I like the wine to represent [the season of which it was created].
Is there any vintage you’re particularly proud of creating? Why?
The first vintage as a winemaker is always a memorable one, but I think the best fruit and subsequent wines came from 2017. However, watch out for 2021 because this is the best-looking fruit I have seen since starting at Terindah.
How does the local climate/soil affect the wine you make?
We have a maritime climate here and there is no denying the impact that this has [on our wine]. With varied soil types across the site it has taken years to understand the nuances of the vineyard. I will pick numerous times across the one variety, even taking half rows at a time to ensure the best flavour and juice composition as possible. Acidity can drop away very quickly here, so I like to make sure that I have some of every lean fruit in the winery to ensure [there are] good natural acidity levels in the final blends.
Which of your own varieties do you typically indulge in?
The zinfandel is a solid hitter and is a treat to have access to at times.
Where do you see yourself in five years? How do you think your winemaking will evolve during this time?
I would hope to still be working with Terindah Estate, and continuing to understand and develop my winemaking with the fruit from these vineyards. I have been pursuing organic practices in the vineyard over the past three years and would eventually like to transfer this to the complete winemaking process. It would be great to be involved in getting the first certified organic vineyard on the Bellarine Peninsula. [In terms of winemaking evolvement], anyone in the Geelong region who isn’t experimenting and playing with pinot gris or pinot grigio is missing an opportunity. Most growers have at least some of this variety, and its versatility and public desirability needs to be embraced.
From Wineries of Victoria – Issue 12, edited by Bethany Hayes.