I went to kindergarten in Tanunda and then my folks moved out of the Barossa for a few years before returning. I guess going through high school in the mid-1980s when the government was paying to pull vines out meant I didn’t want to get a job in a vineyard or winery, and that’s why I moved away from the Barossa after I finished school. I got an apprenticeship as a mechanic with Telstra — Telecom at the time — and I worked a couple of years across the Nullarbor with the optic fibre project, which was interesting. Eventually I moved back to the Barossa and in 1992 I started an apprenticeship at Orlando Wines. I progressed through a couple of TAFE courses, then worked for a bottling company for a year. The passion slowly grew, and I began making wine in my back shed. I ended up taking a bottle of ‘Shed Red’, as I called it, up to Margaret and Peter Lehmann’s [the legendary late winemaker, who was pivotal in shaping the Barossa’s wine industry into a global player] for dinner one night. Peter said: “If you can make wine like this every year you’ll be doing well.” So that was encouraging! In 1996 at Langmeil I pursued the hands-on aspect of winemaking. I started a winemaking degree by correspondence, but the residential school was in the middle of vintage so I ended up not completing it. I was good at chemistry, though, and talking to other winemakers helped put it all into place. From 1999 on I was looking after all the Langmeil wine. The Freedom Shiraz is one of the easier wines to make, but you’re in trouble if you stuff it up. The pressure’s there; it’s expected to be a mid- to high-nineties score wine. I’ve got an old house in Langmeil Road where I live with my wife Natalie and our girls, Mackenzie, who is nine, and Bridget, seven. Our family business works well. James and I have always gotten along okay — or more than okay: we stopped fighting each other years ago! We played football together and, athough we were pretty competitive, we usually played on the same team so it wasn’t too bad. Like every family we have our moments, but it’s usually pretty smooth. People like Robert O’callaghan, Bob Mclean and Peter Lehmann really brought the Barossa back and the importance of the old vineyards forward. Settlers planted a lot of the old vineyards and they really have something extra about them. The old vines need a lot of work, but they are worthwhile in the end.