The ‘who’ and the ‘what’ are relatively straight forward and to be honest, in my opinion, effectively the same question. Heretic Wines is, as our daughter Abigail often reminds us, our 'family wine'. Farming ventures, wine included, are almost uniquely family affairs. In our case I'm the one driving the tractor, pruning the vines and fermenting the grapes. But, and this is a really bloody BIG but, this is a family business - there is just no way it would be possible or worthwhile without Harrie, Abigail, Theo and Addy.
The ‘where’ is slightly more convoluted. We currently make a Heretic White and a Heretic Red, both out of Margaret River. Margs is where I was raised, where I went to school and where my family has lived since the late 1970's. More importantly, it's where Harrie and I have chosen to raise our family and where we plan to grow old. From 2018 we are also making a Yarra Valley Pinot Noir, sourced off the Syme property on the banks of the Yarra River, also known as 1,000 Candles. The Yarra is sentimental for 2 reasons - I cut my winemaking teeth in the Yarra, chasing the unicorn that is Pinot, and it's where Harrie and I met.
The ‘why’ is more difficult and, to be honest, I still haven't entirely figured it out. With current estimates suggesting there are somewhere between 2,500 and 5 billion wine labels in Australia, why the bloody hell do we need another one!!!? That's simple, we don't. There are more glamorous and lucrative ways to make a buck, so......why? Because it turns out I love farming! When I was growing up in Margs, I was jealous of the kids from farms. I grew up on a 7 acre bush block 5 minutes from the beach, and it was awesome. But I couldn't shake the romantic notion of early mornings, tractors and dirt under my fingernails. I now get all of that, and more, and I can assure you they can also be very bloody unromantic!
Just as importantly, I wanted to better understand how farming translates into a finished product, be it fruit, vegetables or, in this case, wine. I wanted to challenge the paradigms I built for myself surrounding wine - how it's grown, how it's made, how it's distributed and consumed. I'm comfortable with the fact that I may not get the answers I want, or that I may not get the answers at all. The wines themselves are an end point, I'm much more interested in how we get there.
So, that's it......the who, what, where and why. All that's left now is to start the story, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!