Growing up on the winery property is filled with memories from my earliest years at Upper Swan Primary School and walking home to the amazing smells coming from Mum’s kitchen; for afternoon tea – scones were my favourites.
I could pick up the odour half way down Hyem Road. My three sisters and I were a part of this wonderful routine of school, sport and friends– topped up with and surrounded by vines and wine.
All our neighbours became our lifelong friends, constantly dropping off fruit and veggies, which was accompanied by a compulsory tea or coffee.
As a young guy I loved football– but it was basketball that I turned to as my main sport. With the opportunity of a scholarship to Los Angeles for four years, my future was in front of me, but suddenly a technical hitch saw me remain in Perth and there was an opening working with my father at the family winery. A change was sweeping through the wine industry in the late 70’s and quality table wines were the go.
We had to make changes and so introduced Verdelho and Shiraz, but retained our fortifieds while most wineries were pushing them aside. We learned quickly by refining and channelling our knowledge of fortified wine to produce fine table wine, after a decade of sleepless nights we made it through.
My mother and I would rotate each weekend to serve at the cellar door. We never lost focus of what wine actually meant to us and doing your best was par for the course.
My father always made sure we celebrated our successes and then worked on achieving more the following year in terms of quality and style of our wines.
I look back with the fondest of memories knowing how tough it’s been, but I’ve learnt so much and will continue to do so.
Fine wine is about the process and understanding that the end result is a direct reflection of the process. To live and work in the Swan Valley that offers so much is a pleasure and must remain something we all respect.
Knowing that our finest wines are held in the highest regard by the wine writers and judges internationally is so satisfying and confirmation of our past and the present commitment to what we love.
Long may it continue.