“I knew as a lad that I wanted to work outside in touch with the earth. To that end I studied Agriculture at Adelaide University and graduated in 1970.
My winemaking history began in 1972 working in the cellar at Orlando. From there I went to Roseworthy College to study Oenology and graduated in 1973. My first winemaking position was with Orlando in 1974 (a very difficult vintage as I recall) and following that at Hardys in 1976. At Hardys I was responsible for white wines from 1976 until 1987 and was chief winemaker for the Hardy Group from 1988 to the end of 1992. Hardys was wonderful and allowed my extra curricular forays into the market with my own wines alongside my main role with them. My own wines were first produced from purchased grapes with the aim of generating sufficient funds to enable a land puchase for our venture.
My thought was (and is) that the flavour frontiers lay in the vineyard and the path to fine wine begins there.
At Lenswood we had an opportunity to grow grapes with flavours that had hitherto not been available in Australia and were more closely aligned to the classic vineyards of France than our traditional Australian vineyards.
Our aim was to closely match variety to site and grow grapes with low crops of richly flavoured grapes avoiding the dilution of flavour caused by overcropping.
Judy and I purchased land at Lenswood high in the Adelaide Hills in February 1982 and our major plantings of Riesling and Chardonnay were made by 1983. Sauvignon Blanc plantings followed in 1987. So, whilst I was engaged at Hardys I spent any free time at Lenswood with my father building our future in the vineyard.
It was only in 1992 that my own wine project became of such significance that I really had to make a choice between the security of emploment with Hardys and the adventure of our own business. I look back with no regrets.”