Home' National Liquor News : NLN March 2017 Contents 28 | MARCH 2017 NATIONAL LIQUOR NEWS
Q TELL US ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY FROM
AUSTRALIA TO THE US AND BACK AGAIN:
I was born and raised in Western Australia, and
I first became interested in wine when I was
working as an aviator in the Navy. It started as
a social thing for me, tasting different wines at
dinner parties, but it very quickly became an
obsession. Wine was more than just a beverage
like beer or spirits; it was this dynamic, living thing
that evolved over time. I had this strong sense that
as a consumer, I could be part of wine’s journey,
so I enrolled in a wine science degree at Charles
During my studies, I worked in the wine
industry and I did just about every job imaginable,
from working the grape crusher pad at Miranda
Wines in Griffith, to pruning and clearing land for
a new vineyard development in McLaren Vale. I
worked as a cellar hand and lab tech at Norman’s
in Clarendon and learned a very traditional
approach to winemaking at D’Arenberg. Most of
these jobs paid less than $10 an hour but I was
learning every aspect of the business.
In the late 1990s, Professor Terry Lee, the
former director of the Australian Wine Research
Institute, asked me to join him as a research
winemaker at E & J Gallo in California, where we
conducted rigorous scientific trials with thousands
of wines. This gave me a huge snapshot of
different wine varietals and taught me how to
create wines for different consumer palates.
Following this, I became a winemaker at Gallo’s
premium facility, and then I took a job at another
large US wine company, The Wine Group, where
I helped launch a division that created wine from
some of the world’s most famous wine regions.
Q WHAT DREW YOU TO THE GRAMPIANS?
Returning to my roots in Australia, growing my
own grapes, and crafting my own A.T. Richardson
Wines is the culmination of a lifelong dream for me.
I spent a lot of time looking for the perfect place
to buy some land and develop a vineyard, and the
Grampians really stood out in a number of ways.
Even though it’s not the most famous Australian
wine region, it’s one of our most historic regions,
with some of the country’s oldest vines. And
because it’s a smaller region, people here take a
very innovative approach and like to collaborate.
It’s refreshing to be part of a creative community
of winemakers. It’s also a cool climate region,
and my passion is to craft cool climate wines
of distinction. Wines with an elegant structure,
layered flavours, and the ability to age and
develop both in the glass and in the bottle.
Q WHAT’S YOUR VISION FOR THE A.T.
It’s always been my greatest dream to create wines
that will outlast me so that my family and friends
will have wines that I made long into the future.
To that end, I focus on creating wines that last,
and that evolve and age gracefully over time.
My approach is minimal intervention, I aim for
elegant, structured wines that are vibrant and
focused and have layers of flavour rather than one
point of impact.
That said, wines are supposed to be enjoyable
and fun, so even though I want my wines to have
a long life, I also want them to be tasty no matter
when you open the bottle. I think that approach
helps to set my style apart.
Q WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHLIGHTS SINCE
YOU BEGAN RELEASING WINES UNDER THE
A.T. RICHARDSON LABEL?
The biggest highlight was moving back to
Australia with my family to run my vineyard and
wine brand full time, which we did in July 2016.
It’s one thing to work for a company and manage
a team to create a wine for someone else’s brand.
It’s an entirely different thing to do this for myself.
I can honestly say that I am doing all of this
with my own hands. I have grown all the grapes,
pruned the vines, harvested the grapes, pressed
the wine, and pumped the wine myself. I talk about
my wines as if I were talking about my children
because I am so intimate with them. That’s the
excitement for me: to keep my wines at a scale that
allows me to do everything, and involve my kids if
they want to help me make wine. It’s also cool to
create a new set of wines every year.
Q HOW CAN WINEMAKERS WORK WITH
RETAILERS TO ACHIEVE THE BEST RESULTS
FOR BOTH BUSINESSES?
After 20 years in winemaking and representing wines
in the market place, I’ve come to understand that
this industry is really about one thing, people. That
includes everyone from those who tend the vines, to
those who sell the wines, and those who drink the
wines. I place a big emphasis on partnership and
community in my brand, which is why I make it a
point to go out and meet retailers and customers.
When it comes to winemakers working with
wine retailers, I think it’s important to understand
the shared goal, which is to match the wines to
the consumer. As a winemaker, I can help you
understand my passion and my winemaking
style, and as a retailer, you can help me find the
right customers who will appreciate my wines.
Then everything comes full circle. The wines
continue their journey and share their magic
with the consumer. Who knows, maybe one of
those consumers will be inspired to become a
winemaker, just like I was back in the 1980s.
A.T. RICHARDSON WINES
ADAM RICHARDSON HAS HAD QUITE A JOURNEY IN THE DISCOVERY OF HIS PASSION FOR WINE.
NATIONAL LIQUOR NEWS CAUGHT UP WITH HIM TO FIND OUT ABOUT HIS JOURNEY
TO CREATE A.T. RICHARDSON WINES.
children in the vineyard.
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