The 6 Characters of Australian Wine You Should Know About

The 6 Characters of Australian Wine You Should Know About

Written by
Vintage Cellars
May 22, 2018
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Australian wine is certainly worth celebrating – but what about the characters behind the bottles. We’re celebrating the innovators, artists and thinkers behind some of our favourite wines.

Vanya Cullen, Cullen Wines

Vanya Cullen is notable for a number of reasons. For one, since being appointed Chief Winemaker of her family’s winery in 1989, she transformed the business from one of Margaret River’s best wineries to one of Australia’s premium boutique wineries. She has also been a trailblazer in the local industry through forging a certified biodynamic, carbon neutral and naturally-powered estate.

Due to her work with Cullen Wines, Vanya was awarded The Wine Magazine Winemaker of the year in 2000 (the first Western Australian and the first female recipient of the award). In 2011, she was nominated for the Green Personality of the Year Award, thanks to her commitment to her environmentally-friendly approach to winemaking, and in 2015 was inducted into the Australian Business Women’s Hall of Fame.

If you’re interested in trying a Cullen Wine, we would recommend the Cullen Moon Opposite Saturn Harvest Sauvignon Blanc or the Cullen Cabernet Merlot (both from the Margaret River).

Kevin Glastonbury, Yalumba

Kevin Glastonbury thinks that if he wasn’t a winemaker, he’d be a surfing marine biologist. Luckily for us, the avid surfer has been making fine wine at Yalumba Estate since 1999. Kevin grew up in the Barossa region and has now been working in the industry for over 30 years.

As Senior Red Winemaker, Kevin is charged with making Barossa’s famous shiraz and grenache wines (a favourite of his, he calls himself an advocate for the “grenache renaissance”) into world-renowned wine. He also sources the oak for the crafting of the barrels, the on-site cooperage being a proud tradition at Yalumba. For his contribution to Australian wine, Kevin was awarded Winestate Winemaker of the Year in 2015.

Try a bottle of Yalumba’s Signature Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz or Viognier from Barossa today.

Craig Stansborough, Grant Burge

When reflecting on the characters of the Australian wine industry, it's impossible to overlook the influence of the Burge family. Emigrating from Wiltshire, England, the Burge clan began making wine in the Barossa in 1855. The patriarch, John Burge, worked at the Hillside winery and passed on his love of the craft to his son, Measch. Measch’s son Percival established the Wilsford winery and his grandson, Grant, created one of Australia’s most well-respected wine businesses in 1988.

Grant Burge is the uniquely Australian story of five generations of winemakers. Today it’s steered by Head Winemaker Craig Stansborough, whose special regard for the Barossa led him to Grant Burge in 1993. Starting off as Cellar Manager, he eventually ascended to Chief Winemaker in 2006,winning Winemaker of the Year at the Barons of the Barossa in 2014. Beginning his career in the cellar means that Craig still has a hands-on approach to winemaking, keeping the rich history of the enterprising Burges alive.

We’d recommend a bottle of Grant Burge Miamba Shiraz or Filsell Shiraz from Barossa.

Natalie Fryar, Kreglinger

Natalie Fryar’s love of winemaking had an unconventional beginning. Growing up in the South Australian wine town of Reynella, Natalie first became fascinated with the industry when she was a child, staying for a weekend at a friend’s house. Her friend’s father was a winemaker and she made her decision then and there. Years later, she would help change the landscape of Australian sparkling wine.

Inspired by champagne, Natalie sought to find a similar climate and moved to Tasmania in 2001. There she was instrumental in turning Jansz Tasmania into the brand it Is today and cemented herself as one of the leading sparkling wine specialists in the country. Once again motivated by interesting climate, Natalie moved to Kreglinger in 2016. She favours the Pipers River region’s coolness and maritime influences, remaining a passionate advocate for Tasmanian wines (and gin – she likes to keep busy).

We’d recommend a bottle of Sheerwater NV Sparkling Rosé, Piper's River.

Larry Cherubino, LC by Larry Cherubino

Larry Cherubino is a bit of an eccentric – by his own admission. His obsessive dedication to excellent vineyards and produce have meant that his wines are painstakingly crafted for excellence. So how did his passion begin? Winning a grape eating contest in the Swan Valley at seven-years-old, naturally.

Larry’s wife, Edwina, is a fourth generation Australian whose family planted the first vines on the bank of Western Australia’s Frankland River in 1875. Now not only have they been called Winery of the Year by critics like James Halliday and Matt Skinner, but they’ve been able to carry on the legacy of Edwina’s pioneering family.

Try a bottle of Larry Cherubino’s LC Chardonnay or LC Cabernet Sauvignon from Margaret River.

Scott McCarthy, Soumah Estate

Scott McCarthy has two strong passions: fishing and winemaking. Unfortunately, the two passions don’t intersect too often. But given that Scott grew up on a family vineyard in Mildura, there seemed to be no escaping the lure of the Australian wine industry.

Starting his career at Yalumba in 1989, Scott went on to work in some of the most notable regions in the world – namely, Napa Valley, Loire Valley and Marlborough. In 2005, Scott designed a new winery in which he could make wine in the style of Northern Italy, but using the excellent produce of the Yarra Valley. As Chief Winemaker, his attention to detail and love of local vineyards has made Soumah an unmissable label.

We’d recommend a delicious bottle of Soumah Hexham Chardonnay or Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley with your next meal.

There’s always a wide range of Australian wine in-store, so visit your local Vintage Cellars for a specific recommendation from one of our team members.