The long road to winemaker
THE sandy loam soil west of Heywood has been responsible for much of the reputation the Henty wine region has earned as a premium Australian cool climate (and it is the coldest) wine region, but it hasn’t just been nature taking its course.
Much of the reputation can be put down to the hard work of local grape growers.
Alistair Taylor has been among the forefront, and like a good wine, there’s a good story in how he came to be there, a long way from where he started.
It all began in the far south of the South Island of New Zealand, where Mr Taylor was born in the doctor’s car on the way to hospital.
“I was always in a hurry,” he said.
He grew up on a mixed farm, the main product being prime lambs, but back then enjoyed growing things such as prize-winning vegetables.
After leaving school at 15, he worked on the farm for about a year but “that didn’t really work out” and he moved to the nearest large town, Invercargill, where he got a job at the meatworks.
That lasted three days.
“I didn’t like that so I went to work in a woolstore for three months.”
Then he got offered a job at a drilling company working on bridge construction.
From there he progressed in the late 1970s to running rotary drilling rigs doing water bores, site investigations and mineral exploration.
Mr Taylor then decided to come to Australia, initially planning to do so for a few months, working in the Royal Artillery Hotel on the corner of Elizabeth and Queensberry Sts in Melbourne.