Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Chris had a passion for wine from a very young age, cultivating neighbour's vines to make his first wines. After a few years working as a cellar hand locally, Chris travelled to South Australia where he studied oenology at the famed Roseworthy campus. On completion of his studies, Chris returned to New Zealand where he finished his citation on wine phenolics and protein fining agents.
After periods of working in California and Europe, Chris found his way back to South Australia and in the late eighties took a position with Robert O'Callaghan at Rockford wines in the Barossa. It was here Chris developed his unique style and produced his now world famous Shiraz, under his own name (formerly Three Rivers Shiraz). After 15 years at Rockford, Chris travelled back to Europe and developed a number of projects with local producers in Spain and Italy. More recently, Chris has developed Nebbiolo and Carignan projects ‘Solita’ and since 2006 has developed a Northern Barossa Shiraz project with renowned Ebenezer vigneron Adrian Hoffmann.
The mist, the solitude, the forbidden allure: I almost felt like a spy. I was there to taste some of Australia’s most astonishing red wines, yet I hardly dared tell anyone I was going. When I owned up later, and shyly admitted how much I liked them, I was met with near-incredulity. At least once, I was asked to confirm what I’d just said. These are the great wines you aren’t, in right-thinking circles, meant to like: too rich, too much alcohol, too many “Parker points”. They swim like bandit trout against Australia’s current tide of early-picking righteousness and buttoned-down restraint. But, sorry folks, great they are.
Andrew Jefford. Decanter Magazine on-line November 26th 2012