I’ve lived in Margaret River since 1979 - I can’t claim that I’m born and bred (I was 3 months old when Mum and Dad made the move south), but I think I can claim local status after nearly 40 years. I’m a product of Margaret River Kindy, Margaret River Primary School and Margaret River High School (although I did spend the last 2 years of high school in Perth, chasing a dream of playing cricket for Australia...until I realized that I just wasn’t that good!) My point is, Margaret River is my home in every sense of the word, and Harrie and I feel very lucky to be able to raise our kids down here. Although kids, if you’re reading this, you weren’t born in Margaret River either (you’ll have to talk to Mum about that one!!!)
However, I feel like I’ve only recently come to fully appreciate my home town and how deeply ingrained it is in my soul (and, yes, I know that sounds like I’m channeling Oprah or Taylor Swift, but fuck it). For years I’ve looked over the fence at other regions, other wine styles, other lives and thought that the grass was greener. Sometimes you spend so much time in a place that you develop an ambivalence and simply can’t see the forest for the trees. If I'm honest, I also had a chip on my shoulder as I watched friends, colleagues and family living lives that just seemed cooler. Today's heavily curated, social-media saturated world only seemed to fuel my misgivings.
I have no idea what eventually broke the cycle - an impending 40th birthday, our kids growing up before my eyes or the fact that I've realised a dream of becoming a (sort of) farmer. Either way, I had to give myself a kick up the arse and call bullshit because, through some sheer cosmic fluke, I've been born and raised in one of the most amazing places on the planet. I don't say that for dramatic effect (although Harrie will tell you I'm prone, more than most, to a little hyperbole), it's just a statement of fact - I just had to wake up to it.
I still want to travel and make wine in other parts of the world, and I'm confident that will come in time. But, more than ever before, I'm driven to farm here, and to make wines that reflect the sights, smells, textures and flavours of my home - that's what I want Heretic Wines to ultimately become. I think that’s a pretty compelling and worthwhile project to take on, and I’m content knowing that the journey is really the best part of the adventure anyway. I have no idea where the destination is - I suspect it’s a bloody long way over the horizon, somewhere alongside that little green flash that appears each night just as the sun sets behind the Indian Ocean. I guess we'll see......