We have had the guys at Trentham Estate as part of our July wine club, we had a chat to winemaker Anthony Murphy about all things wine…
Q: How early on did you know you wanted to be a winemaker?
It was during high school, I would have been about 17 years old. I started making wine at home; the first lot of wine was made from Shiraz grapes grown on our family property.
Q: How long have you been a winemaker?
I’ve been a qualified winemaker since 1977, so 41 years this year!
Q: Where did your journey start?
After the home brew business, my journey technically began at Mildara Wines in Merbein. I worked in the many different areas of their winery, including the laboratory, cellar, distillery and even on the bottling-line.
Q: Is there a style of wine you really love to make? Why is it special to you?
There are two styles I love to make. The first, wooded Chardonnay as there’s so many possible style variations. The other is Shiraz, I really enjoy making Shiraz with the fantastic fruit we have available here on the property.
Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the winemaker today?
The biggest challenge is trying to keep things simple. One example being; the amount of additives on the market continues to grow and it’s important not to get caught up in all that and don’t do too much with the wines.
Q: How has the role of the winemaker changed since you began your career?
The winemaking role hasn’t changed greatly over the many years, it’s still very hands on. For me personally, it’s changed a lot as I’m involved in running our family business which has grown over the years and with that comes lots of changes.
Q: What is special about winemaking in your region? What challenges and opportunities does the region present?
The consistency of quality from year to year makes this region remarkable. Also the many different varieties which can be grown, for example we have over 30 different varieties on the property! The challenges are that the fruit can ripen quite quickly.
Q: If money and time were no issue, is there a particular wine you would love to make?
Good question, I think Sherry styles would be right up my alley.
Q: What or who, inspires you?
What inspires me is achieving great quality wines with those wines being recognised at some of the leading wine shows around the world.
Q: Have you had a particular role model or mentor that has shaped the direction of your career?
Yes, two people have greatly affected my career over the years; Maurice Dean and the late Jack Schultz from Mildara Wines. Maurice for his management skills and Jack for his winemaking skills.
Q: Where do you see the Australian and your region wine industries heading?
The potential for Australian wine is huge; however the unknown factor is the amount of grapes which will be available to make wine. This depends very much on plantings which can be a challenging path to take.
Q: Fast forward ten years. Where are you?
I’d love to be retired but still involved in making some wines.
Q: If you could drink one wine for the rest of your life, what would it be?
It would have to be our Estate Grown Chardonnay
Q: How was Vintage 2018?
An excellent 2018 Vintage – crops down, quality up so I’m looking forward to pouring the first of the 2018 wines.
Q: Best Value on the market right now?
Our 2015 Reserve Heathcote Shiraz – it should be twice the price! We just picked up two Silver medals at the 2018 International Wine Challenge and 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards.