- Hi Mac! Please can you tell us where you live in Australia and more specifically where your vines are located?
Hi there. I live 1 hour outside Melbourne in the Yarra Valley. A remarkable area with soils dating back 440 million years and a cultural heritage dating back 60,000 years. It makes for an amazing place to appreciate our place in the world.
- How many different grape varieties do you grow, and can you tell us what they are?
This is an interesting question. As many people know, we are constantly considering the future and our place in it. However, for all the varieties we are planting, I think the most important aspect is understanding the DNA of the region and how best to share this expression. Experience with different varieties surprisingly brings us more back to place as variety begins to take backstage when we see the common threads. Great sites seem to be great sites capable of accommodating more than 1-2 varieties.
- Please tell us more about your “Experimental Batch” wines and what your aim is with them?
For all the producers I have admired over my journey, the one constant is that questions are constantly being asked; so, EB came about initially on a subconscious level due to setting up trials. Then we had to work out a way to embrace and constantly share these trials (and tribulations), hence the birth of the EB range.
- What makes your vineyards unique?
Isn’t this the million-dollar question. Give me a winemaker who tells you that their sites aren’t unique and I’ll but you a drink. So, the honest answer is who bloody knows?! We have so much data and now history at our disposal. While grapes are relatively new here in Australia, we do have experience on the land we can draw from. So, I guess what makes our vineyards unique is that combination of unique landscapes, soils, climate and fortunately people. It’s a great time to be Australian and growing grapes.
- How does your typical day evolve with the seasons?
Every day is new. I still feel like a kid. It’s a bit ridiculous.
- Which season is the busiest for you?
This one (Autumn).
- From a viticultural perspective, which is your favourite season?
That’s a tough call. Possibly summer to see if all the work is paying off (or not).
- What are the biggest challenges you face in the vineyard?
Conventional thinking that crowds in around our objectives.
- Are you experiencing the effects of global warming in your region? And what are you doing to counter these issues?
Future proofing in Agriculture is 100% the biggest thing for us. It’s not just warming but shifting climate, conditions and through that respecting the biggest asset… the land.
- What is special about your winery?
What a team committed to doing it the right way even if it is the long way. Always with a smile. We finally stand the chance to build something for the future due to the commitment the whole team makes.
- What is your biggest challenge as a winemaker?
To stop with the ego and thinking we can do everything.
- How do you determine when your wine is ready to drink / be bottled?
I guess it’s taste and experience. Or just when it tastes good!
- What part of the winemaking process do you enjoy the most?
- Amongst your wines, can you recommend an interesting food/wine pairing?
Riesling with Riesling?
- Were you inspired by any other winemakers when you began?
Not really. I never had a wine epiphany moment, be it a good bottle or person. The industry appealed for the same reason I love it now… People, cultures, ideas, land and learnings.
- In winemaking, what do you think is more important: tradition or innovation?
Yes… So long as it’s accompanied by lots of questions.
- How has your job changed over the last 10 years?
I swear more.
- What is the best wine you’ve ever drunk?
- If you could change one thing about the wine world in Australia, what would it be?
I wish we had more opportunity to learn about land care from the elders in the face of changing climate. They have seen and done all this a few times over 60,000 years. It’s reassuring and powerful. It’s us that need to change and adapt, not the world
- Outside the world of wine, how do you like to spend your time?
What? Do people have lives outside? Shit, why didn’t you tell me earlier?!