Meet the Maker – Sam Wigan from Running with Bulls
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Meet the Maker – Sam Wigan from Running with Bulls

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Vintage Cellars
February 16, 2017
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The Running with Bulls winemaker uncovers how he got started in wine and what makes his process unique.

Do you have a certain philosophy or style to your craft?

Sam: My style involves letting the varietal characteristics of the grapes I’m fermenting shine through. I encourage this by using natural/wild fermentation and MLF, I make minimal additions and no finings.

How did you get started in your career as a winemaker?

Sam: Once I finished School I started out by working a vintage with my Father at Peter Lehmann wines before heading to California to do another vintage at Geyser Peak in the Sonoma Valley. After 5 months in America I returned to Australia with the winemaking bug and promptly enrolled in the Oenology degree at Charles Sturt University.

What is the inspiration behind what you make?

Sam: My inspiration stems from a love of food, wine and crafting something to be enjoyed.

Who or what has influenced the drinks you make?

Sam: Too many to name, I guess I draw inspiration from every winemaker I have contact with.

Is there anything unique or unusual about your process?

Sam: In a few words; natural ferments, minimal additions, vegan and vegetarian friendly wines, Hungarian oak in the Tempranillo, no oak in the Garnacha and no finings.

In your opinion, what do you think makes a good wine?

Sam: Whether it is wine, beer or food, I think if it is crafted by someone who is passionate and cares about what they are doing you will end up with something unique and delicious.

How do you feel your role or work impacts the final product?

Sam: Hopefully my work has a large impact on the final product; from deciding when to pick the grapes to fermentation techniques, time on skins to oak handling and even pH management.

How does your personality show through in what you produce?

Sam: The wines are fun, drinkable and best enjoyed with food and good company.

What are the most enjoyable parts of what you do?

Sam: The harvest period and fermenting the wine would have to be my favourite part and then of course seeing the final product when it is bottled after all the hard work that has gone into it.

What are the most difficult parts of what you do?

Sam: The harvest period, long hours and a very busy time.

Where do you see yourself and your industry headed in the next few years? Is there something you’re looking to achieve in the future that you haven’t already?

Sam: Mediterranean varieties are pretty hot right now, so hopefully the profile of Tempranillo keeps increasing in popularity.

Can you divulge any of your secrets as a winemaker?

Sam: Using my dogs as tasters out in the vineyards to help me to decide when the grapes are ready to be picked!