The SHERRAH Story (thus far…)
About Alex - Chief Swirler and Sniffer
Following a misspent youth I completed a BSc in Organic Chemistry and Pharmacology and took off to travel the world, returning broke and in need of a job, I snagged a vintage at Tatachilla in McLaren Vale. Working with the most talented ratbags of the Vale, I developed a love of the winemaking lifestyle (or what I thought it was)… work hard and party hard.
The Science degree came in handy and I was able to complete a Graduate Diploma in Oenology at the Waite University while working Fridays at Tatachilla, earning the moniker ‘Boy Friday’ - turning up each Friday in time to do some work and then enjoy the weekly BBQ. Two vintages at Tatachilla was followed by a jaunt in the Napa, where I was lucky enough to work at Kendall Jackson’s crown jewel, Cardinale Estate, making ultra-premium Bordeaux based varieties.
Before returning home I secured a job at Knappstein in the Clare Valley, where I worked for two years before moving to O’Leary Walker Wines (also Clare) and stayed there for 6 years. While at O’Leary Walker I was able to complete vintages in Burgundy and Austria.
At the end of 2011 I moved to McLaren Vale and Coriole, where I became Senior Winemaker in 2012 and remained until late 2017. Involved in this right from my Tatachilla days, my girlfriend became my wife, and two kids ensued.
Winemaking for me is very hands on and gut instinct, the piece of paper gets you the job, but the skill is learnt doing the job. In a very traditional sense, I believe wine is made in the vineyard, but intelligent and considered handling of fruit in the winery is crucial. The purpose of SHERRAH is to showcase the varieties I believe are best suited to the amazing region of McLaren Vale, truly one of the finest places to grow grapes in the world.
Wine to me is not about tasting blackcurrant and cigar box but how the wine ‘feels’ to drink. Flavour is obviously a big part of this, but how does the wine flow from front to back palate? It should transition effortlessly from first smell and sip to swallow, aftertaste and lingering influence of tannin and acid. I believe in balance, a great wine should have no sharp edges, it should have beautiful smooth curves from front to back.
Working with excellent sites farmed by first rate growers – many who I have worked with for numerous years – allows me to access small parcels of quality fruit. SHERRAH is 100% McLaren Vale. I live, work and play in this amazing region.