In keeping with many of the traditions of Main Ridge Estate, welcome to the next era of ‘Notes from a Small Vineyard’.  This newsletter provides an insight into the operational life in a single vineyard estate, plus the thoughts and ideas of its vigneron.

10 years ago I began my professional career in the Sydney restaurant industry, clumsily dropping cutlery and spilling sauces, at the then 3-hatted Est. restaurant.  Skill set aside, what seemed to hold my position there was a drive to succeed in the industry, and what has been said to be an astute palate for tasting wine. I was spotted by Master Sommelier Franck Moreau, and offered an apprentice position in his wine team. This opportunity snowballed to where I am now. For this Franck, I am eternally grateful.

Over the ensuing years as a sommelier I had the opportunity to taste many of the great (and sometimes obscure) wines of the world – Main Ridge Estate included! The idea I would one day be custodian of this special vineyard would have seemed inconceivable 10 years ago, but life works in funny ways.

When tasting Nat’s wines, I have always found them to be the work of a perfectionist, a wonderfully annoying trait that certain human beings hold. I believe years of working in fine dining restaurants have also placed this ethos within me.

I’m not convinced you can ever achieve total perfection, but in wine making I believe single vineyard sites are the best means to come close. Main Ridge Estate’s high altitude, it’s surrounding clos of pine trees, perfect orientation and exacting viticulture has provided the winery with some of the best fruit on the peninsula; a handy thing to work with in the winery.

Post-vintage I have been making regular visits to Main Ridge Estate, working alongside our assistant wine maker Linda, preparing the vineyard. A good amount of rainfall in October, followed by a warm-dry November has caused great amount of vigour in the vines. The resulting hard work will hopefully lead to a bountiful year for grapes.

I am looking forward to once again being mentored by one of the greats of the industry.  Supported by my studies at Charles Sturt University, I aspire to continue to provide you with the wonderful Main Ridge Estate wines I have also enjoyed over the years.

– James 

(The Master’s Apprentice)