Like any good wine story they don’t always begin how you might think and mine is no different. Growing up in the Barossa it’s hard not to be involved somehow with the local wine industry. I had just finished Year 12 and was debating what the future held, whether it be travelling or trying to pick a university degree I wasn’t really interested in. I had recently applied for a few casual vintage positions throughout the Barossa and received the fateful call on the 2nd tee at the Barossa Golf Course. I was asked to come in for an interview in 30 minutes by the Cellar Manager at Yalumba, but naturally I declined with 3 hours of golf in front of me and coming off a first hole par it could have been the round of my life. After much debate I ended up phoning back to confirm my interview and secured the last of 40 cellar positions that year. So began my wine journey.
The 2004 Vintage was my first but at just 17 years of age I was unable to collect a wine allowance. Based in Mexican Vale (barrel shed), I worked midnight to midday 13 day fortnights for 14 weeks. I didn’t really have a life, when I wasn’t working or at the pub, I was sleeping. In between vintages I worked when I could in the cellar but also spent 5 months at Yalumba Nursery, grafting and propagating rootstock. The 2005 vintage rolled around soon enough and I was based at the brand new Moppa site which crushed all the bulk wine. We would regularly crush more in a 12 hour shift than we do at Torbreck in an entire year.