Wine­maker of the Year

JULIAN LANG­WOR­THY, Deep Woods Es­tate, Mar­garet River, Western Aus­tralia

Halliday - - Halliday Wine Companion Awards 2019 -

Born in WA’s Mar­garet River, Julian Lang­wor­thy has al­ways had a round­about con­nec­tion to wine. His dad worked for the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture study­ing grapevines, so he spent time in vine­yards grow­ing up, but he still didn’t march into his ca­reer with ab­so­lute con­vic­tion. “I had a bit of a dal­liance with marine bi­ol­ogy, which I didn’t do very well in,” he says.

“It sort of seemed fairer on the fishes if I jumped ship, so I moved to South Aus­tralia and stud­ied wine­mak­ing in­stead.” Pop­u­lar among his peers and with a tro­phy cabi­net over­flow­ing with awards, Julian clearly made the right choice, hav­ing now been crowned Wine­maker of the Year.

“The most in­flu­en­tial pe­riod for me was when I moved to Coon­awarra at about 22 – it wasn’t re­ally the place to live as a young, sin­gle bloke, but I got to work at Jamiesons Run un­der An­drew Hales and at Wynns with Sue Hod­der. They’re both im­mensely awe­some wine­mak­ers and they taught me a lot,” he says.

Julian cred­its his time in Coon­awarra with ex­pand­ing his skill-set and in­ten­si­fy­ing his in­ter­est in caber­net, but his fond­ness for the va­ri­ety was ce­mented long be­fore. “My dad loves wine and bought a lot of it when I was grow­ing up, so I knew that Pen­folds Grange was one of the best wines in Aus­tralia, but I’d al­ways as­sumed it was a caber­net… I re­mem­ber find­ing out when I was nine or 10 that it was a shi­raz and think­ing they must’ve got­ten it wrong. Even then, I had an affin­ity with the va­ri­ety!” Another favourite wine style for Julian is rosé. “It’s my Achilles heel,” he says. “We spend an in­or­di­nate amount of time on it at Deep Woods, but the Har­mony Rosé is now our best-selling wine, which is amaz­ing con­sid­er­ing six or seven years ago we made hardly any. We’re lucky to be at the fore­front of Aus­tralia wak­ing up to how good these dry styles of rosé can be.”

While Deep Woods, in Mar­garet River’s Yallingup sub­re­gion, is Julian’s main fo­cus, he also works across the Fog­a­rty Wine Group’s port­fo­lio, con­sult­ing to a team of 12 wine­mak­ers. “My hope is that I can add more per­spec­tive into our wine­mak­ing team, help­ing them to make nu­anced wines they can stand be­hind and be proud of,” he says.

And even with a busy sched­ule, Julian still finds in­spi­ra­tion all around, par­tic­u­larly judg­ing at wine shows. He also points to Mar­garet River as a muse, calling it an “un­spoilt wine­mak­ing nir­vana”. “Mar­garet River caber­net and chardon­nay are as good as from any­where else in the world and I think if we keep work­ing hard, they’ll be recog­nised in the way they de­serve.”

Julian Lang­wor­thy.

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