The variety and seasonality of viticulture is ever inspiring. Reflecting on my time living in Melbourne, the four seasons felt the same every year. Farming and working closely with growers has opened my eyes to the incredible variety of each season, as well as the diversity of each year - no two years are the same and I feel as though I have begun to understand the nature of life a little better. A winemaker may never be bored.
Each vintage brings a new dynamic, my heart skips a beat post-Christmas/New Year as the vintage ahead starts to describe itself to us all. It is this time that I feel truly privileged to be a négociant producer – the anticipation of what I know is coming, and the anticipation and slight apprehension of the unknown.
My regional wines give me space to create and play. Most years opportunities present to work with parcels of fruit from Central and Western Victorian growers. These parcels are the result of the natural ebb and flow of vintage and fruit supply and give me the occasion to work with different varieties, different regions and different winemaking techniques to create intriguing and inspiring wines that speak of Place, People and Play. These wines may be a little more “nouveau”, although not always the case.
I like to work with the fruit as it comes, sometimes we get an opportunity to pick early and make a fun sparkling, one of my favourite styles, sometimes I get an opportunity to work with different growers and different varietals. By categorising these wines separately from my core wines, I hope to provide a point of difference within my portfolio so it’s not just a long list of wines lacking definition.
The playful, explorative nature of my regional wines may inform subtle changes to the winemaking of my core wines, another step on the never-ending journey to perfection. Most recently, I have been working with Terracotta Amphorae, which has helped me carry freshness through my wines, as these vessels are closer to inert than oak, and I look forward to continuing to develop these techniques.
My hope with my regional wines is that having fallen in love with my core wines, my customers may find intrigue and excitement in coming on a different journey with me, uncovering new and different expressions of much-loved varieties and styles, as well as sharing in more traditional expressions of renowned vineyards and varieties that don’t currently form a part of my core wines.