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-6-Jeffrey Grossetʼs dedication in the vineyard and winery are renowned, having won him a long string of awards and recognition including the first recipient of Australian Winemaker of the Year from Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine in 1998, International Riesling Winemaker of the Year in 1998, and one of only three Australian white wines rated Exceptional by Langton Classification of Australian Wine VI. Rather than exploring the changes over the 30 years such as climate change, the focus here is on the wider impact Jeffrey Grosset has had on the world of wine. A strongly recurring theme that comes up in Jeffreyʼs life is that at every Y junction he arrived at, when offered the choice of Why or Why Not, he chose the more intriguing and untraveled of the two. Just like his acclaimed wines which develop beautifully with age, you could say it just took the rest of us time to truly appreciate his greater contribution to the world of wine enjoyment. How did you get a start in wine?Jeffrey ―― I remember I was only 15 and my family were living in Adelaide, and dad bought home this bottle of wine. It must have been a table wine and not too strong like a sherry, because I was allowed a little and I was fascinated. I thought I would love to do this, though as a 15 year old I wasnʼt too discerning. On my 16th birthday I enrolled in Roseworthy College and the standard canʼt have been too high, as I got in straight away. I studied agriculture focusing on viticulture for three years and then oenology which is winemaking for two. So at 21 years old, I had finished five years of tertiary education, and went and worked for Seppelt at Great Western (in Victoria), which was just the perfect place to go as they were taking fruit not just from Great Western but Drumborg and Padthaway. So I got to see all those things, then I took off and worked in Germany for a vintage.When I came back I worked at Lindemanʼs Karadoc winery near Mildura. At age 26 I was made chief winemaker, a position that would normally fall to somebody twice my age – the growth was that fast, and I was simply in the right place at the right time (wine consumption in Australia grew 56% between 1976 and 1986). My team of 5 winemakers were all younger than me. It was a fantastic experience for us, running 1000 tons a day with all new equipment was just mind-bending, and we learnt so much. We were running 2-3% of Australiaʼs wine production making all kinds of wines – cask white (Riesling, White Burgundy, Chablis) cheaper bottled wine, red and white through to Ben Ean (Moselle, a semi-sweet white that was Australiaʼs largest selling wine in the 1970s) and Bin 65 Chardonnay. How did you come to be in Clare Valley?In 1981 I thought I just wanted to give my best shot at making seriously high quality wine. So I left Lindemanʼs and decided on the Clare Valley because the region had already showed itself capable of producing some fairly serious Rieslings, and also impressive Cabernets and a little Shiraz. At the time I thought Riesling was a great variety with great potential, but it wasnʼt getting the attention those other classic varietals were. There was this old milk depot, with a little butter and ice factory made of old stone out the front. It was turned in at auction for $20,000 because no one wanted it. So I had a chance for a home and a start, so I bought that and fitted it out as a winery with what suited my limited budget at the time. When I looked around for some fruit, everyone said I should go to Watervale, where the best Rieslings were. So I went to a well-known vineyard, where I talked to the owner and told him my story and he said ʻI can let you have fruit from this part here,ʼ and it ended up that for over 20 years we just got the same rows from the same site. At the same time there were a couple of vineyards planted out at Polish Hill River. I was told to steer clear of the area because it was too unreliable – you might get stunning fruit one year but not three years running. But an academic friend with a cottage in the area with a two and a half acre vineyard behind it, said if you want to fix it up you can have it. It was on poor silty soil over shale and slate, and I remember thinking from my viticultural training that this was the site you would never choose – it was all wrong. So I thought I would give it a go, pruned the vines right back and retrellised them, and it wouldnʼt have cost me much if didnʼt work out.Terroir: Making wine rst, then explaining it afterwardsInitially, I was just thinking to make Clare Valley Riesling, but in the first year when I saw how different the first two wines were, I thought people have to see this, thinking the Watervale was the more classic and generous of the two, while the Polish Hill was not so upfront fruit, but really long and lingering on the palate. I was looking to blend the two, but they just didnʼt go together. Polish Hill at the beginning was a novelty,

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