I remember somewhat vividly when I first articulated aloud my desire to make wine, though it was through a beery and lustful haze. It was to a girl on a beach when I was 23 years of age. It seemed to me then to be a romantic and desirable pursuit, and I hoped that she would think so too. She didn’t. I was undeterred, but being a suburban boy from Brisbane, a beer loving big pub town far from any enlightened wine making or drinking region, meant opportunities were few and far between. After more than a decade working casually in wine retail, with attempts at many other careers: from Rock singer to United Nations Development Programme Officer; Jazz club proprietor to Advocate for Homeless and Boarding House residents; the pull to pursue a life in wine could no longer be ignored.
So I enrolled in wine studies and moved to Melbourne to explore it’s numerous nearby wine regions. From there I undertook vintages in Mont Sant/Priorat, Spain; Hawkes Bay and Martinborough, New Zealand; St. Estèphe, Bordeaux, France; and finally ended up back in the Yarra Valley, Victoria.
Having mostly worked in larger scale wineries, it was a visit to the Loire Valley and specifically to Domaine La Grange Tiphaine in 2010 that provided inspiration for another way. Small scale, sensitive, refreshing, less about fruit more about soil, less about oak more about finesse, less industrial product more artisan expression of grape and place.
And so a path became clear, and after a couple of experiments, in 2014 I released a sparkling Pinot Noir Rosé in the style of La Grange Tiphaine’s Nouveau Nez, a pétillant naturel wine.