When did you first start making wines? What made you want to?
My first vintage was when I was 17, an experience I undertook to earn some dosh for my overseas trip. I then became obsessed with winemaking so started my university degree the following year and started making wine full-time in 2012 at Seppelt in Great Western. The things I loved during my first vintage still remain, but my love for my job is a lot more diverse now.
What has your career looked like so far? What’s been your greatest achievement?
Short! Having only made wine since 2012 I think there’s still a lot for me to do and achieve. I am proud of the wines we made at Seppelt, and of being awarded the 2015 Gourmet Traveller Young Winemaker of the Year. But my greatest achievement has been slowly getting my head around our little vineyard at Sutton Grange – the intricacies of farming and creating wine from a single vineyard. We’ve got our challenges, big and small, but overcoming each one is so satisfying.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned?
Do your own thang. Don’t listen to the douchebags or follow what other people think is “cool” or “trendy”. Be true to yourself, your land and your winery.
Who or what has been your greatest inspiration?
I am inspired by a couple of great friends who make great wine in Australia but who are also, most importantly, great people. Friends and mentors like Tom Carson and Jim Chatto. And I’m inspired by wines that are not just interesting and delicious but that are real and true pictures of their farm, community and vintage. Pierre and Jean Gonon’s St Joseph, Ghislaine Barthod and her expressions of Chambolle, and, closer to home, the wines from Deep Woods (Margaret River) and Clonakilla (ACT).
What was your earliest wine experience?
Growing up in the industry, wine has been with me all my life. My earliest wine memories are sharing wines around the dinner table with the family. As kids we were always encouraged to taste and talk about the wine – it gave us an appreciation for the culture of wine that I still value. Sharing, food, family and wine.
What’s your favourite wine ever?
EVER??? EVER??? A couple of memorable bottles include a 2007 DRC Romanée St Vivant or a 1954 Seppelt Great Western Mixed Red Blend. The former shared with a special person, the latter shared 100 metres from where it was grown, made and aged for 61 years.
What do you drink when no one is watching?
Rum and ginger. Wine-wise, cheap Aussie light/medium-bodied reds and South Australian Rieslings. Such good value. So smashable.