Friday 14 December 2018

Get ready for Ox Hardy Wines as legend moves on from Petaluma

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Andrew Hardy, one of Australia’s most successful and respected winemakers, is leaving Petaluma in the Adelaide Hills where he has been chief winemaker since 2004.

He will join South Australian family business WD Wines where they will jointly develop Ox Hardy Wines from the Hardy family’s Upper Tintara Vineyard in McLaren Vale. The WD Wines portfolio includes St John’s Road, Hesketh Wines, Parker Coonawarra Estate and Vickery Wines.

“We will update you with more information about these wines in due course, but Ox Hardy Wines will represent the McLaren Vale component of our portfolio with the inaugural wines expected to be released in the new year,” WD Wines managing director Jonathon Hesketh said.

Phil Lehmann is stepping down as chief winemaker of WD Wines. “Although we didn’t anticipate it when deciding to develop Ox Hardy Wines together, Phil Lehmann’s decision to step back has created the opportunity for Andrew to play a broader oversight role across the WD winemaking and viticulture team. As a result, he will also assume duties as director of winemaking for the wider group.”

Andrew has more than 36 years of winemaking experience in the Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra and the Clare Valley. “Which is an ideal fit for our winemaking requirements,” Jonathon said.

“Having grown up with Andrew, I also know that he is a perfect cultural fit for our team, and we are very much looking forward to developing Ox Hardy Wines with him over the coming years.

“Phil is stepping back with our thanks and best wishes to spend more time with his family and to focus on his family label (Max & Me) and other small projects. He will remain with us on a consulting basis to our winemaking team and he will also remain an integral part of the Vickery Wines team.

“I’d like to thank Phil for the wonderful wines he’s made during his time with us, and am pleased that he’ll remain part of our winemaking team going forward, albeit in a reduced capacity.”

Andrew started his winemaking career at Petaluma in 1982, working with founder Brian Croser before going on to work vintages in Oregon and Bordeaux. He settled at Knappstein for almost a decade where he was pivotal in the industry’s adoption of the screwcap closure. During his time in Clare he also won the Warren Winiarski Trophy for Best Cabernet in the World and the Trophy for the Best Australian Red Wine for his Enterprise Cabernet Wine.

Meanwhile Keeda Zilm has joined WD Wines from O’Leary Walker in the Clare Valley, where she has been winemaking for 16 years after completing her Oenology degree at the University of Adelaide.

Keeda has winemaking experience from vintage roles for Domaine Dubois (Burgundy) and Elk Cove (Oregon), as well as professional development via the AWRI Advanced Wine Assessment Course, regional Clare Wine Show chief steward, the Clare Valley Education Committee and the Clare Valley Tasting Group.

“In addition to maintaining and executing the blend portfolio for OLW and contract customers (including Vickery), she has also been a grower liaison, harvest logistics person, director of operations of the red ferments and oak and equipment procurer for the company and clients,” Jonathon said.

“We are really pleased to welcome Keeda to the team, and are already seeing the benefits of her experience and presence at our Barossa winemaking operations.”

The roles of James Lienert (winemaker), Brett Williams (Coonawarra viticulture) and Warwick Murray (Barossa viticulture) remain unaffected by the changes.

Mike Mudge will be taking over from Andrew Hardy at Petaluma. He has been at the winery for 27 years.

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