McWilliam’s Wines Group has announced a new era for winemaking at the iconic Mount Pleasant winery as Adrian Sparks moves into the role of chief winemaker.
Only the fifth chief winemaker in the 98-year history of the winery, Adrian sits among some of Australia’s most celebrated winemaking alumni including the late great Maurice O’Shea and, most recently, the highly celebrated Jim Chatto.
The company said: “Adrian has proved his skill and passion for the Hunter Valley not only to the McWilliam’s Wines Group but to the wider industry making him a natural choice for the role.
“Having worked across the Mount Pleasant portfolio for over four years and a further 16 with the group, Adrian has a great respect and love for both the Hunter Valley and the heritage of the brand he now heads up.”
Adrian said, “It is an absolute honour and privilege to be given this opportunity. Mount Pleasant is home to some of the country’s best wines and vineyard sites. It’s part of Australia’s winemaking history and has a really authentic story to tell.
“Working with fruit from vines planted by arguably Australia’s greatest winemaker is certainly something to treasure and upholding that outstanding quality is something I’ll never become complacent with. The future is exciting.”
Adrian is a regular judge at wine shows including the Halliday Chardonnay Challenge, Australian National Wine Show and Royal Brisbane Wine Show among others. He also most recently represented McWilliam’s Wines Group at the Len Evans Tutorial in 2017.
Jim Chatto will continue to be part of McWilliam’s Wines Group as group winemaker – McWilliam’s Wines Group. He has seen Adrian develop during his four-year tenure at the helm of Mount Pleasant and believes that Adrian will uphold the integrity of the Mount Pleasant name, continuing the tradition of crafting benchmark Hunter Valley wines.
“Since joining Mount Pleasant in 2014, Adrian has fully embraced the unique sites and legacy of Maurice O’Shea. Adrian is a highly skilled and intuitive winemaker, with soft yet sure hands. He will undoubtedly carve his own path while being true to the vision of our country’s most celebrated winemaker,” Jim said.
“I look forward to working closely with Adrian on the next chapter of the great Australian wine story that is Mount Pleasant.”
Adrian will oversee all winemaking and viticultural efforts that take place on the Mount Pleasant site while Jim will oversee the entire McWilliam’s Wines Group winemaking efforts offering himself to blending and style direction and mentoring teams to finesse their brands and craft.