Wayne’s Story

“In 2006, my boss, the head winemaker pulled me aside and asked me if I was willing to go to the wine college and go through some tests to see what I had learnt working in the Cellar. It was a bit scary but it looked like I might earn more.

“I had alrady been out of school for 9 years. Back then, my Dad said that the family needed money and I would have to get a job. First, I was put in the vineyard with a spade. Then they moved me to the Cellar, sweeping and other little jobs. The winemakers would often talk about their work and why things were done in a certain way.

“At the wine college, a bunch of guys like me listened to talks about winemaking and then the tests started. I must have done alright, because after 2 days I was told I could return.

“In the third year, it got very serious. This was nine years after leaving school and here I was going to have hours of math tests.  I was very stressed but I passed. Then they told us we would have to answer some questions about wines. I though this would be easier, but when the bottles were brought in they were wrapped so that you couldn’t see the labels. 

“They asked all kinds of questions. What variety was used to make this wine? What kind of soil were the vines grown in? How long has this wine been in the bottle? Did the wine spend time in barrels?  

“I had to take days off work to do these tests. The winery had paid for me to be there and if I failed, I knew that I would have to pay them back. I took the chance”.

Wayne passed all tests with high marks. He has subsequently worked as winemaker in several wineries. He is now head winemaker at The Township Winery where he handles everything from harvesting decisions to chemical analysis and the precise points of barrel maturation and the bottling process.

Other Articles