Robert Mondavi Winery and Rosemount have appointed winemaker Ian Shepherd to the California-Australia partnership.
Shepherd, who was previously with California’s Seven Peaks winery, will work with Rosemount’s Philip Shaw and Tim Mondavi to ‘nurture the new lines and focus on the details’.
A deal between Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa, California, and the Australian conglomerate Southcorp saw Mondavi and Rosemount come together in July 2001 with a view to making high quality wines from both continents. Rosemount is owned by Southcorp.
Shepherd began his career 20 years ago at Australia’s Tatachilla Winery, based in South Australia’s McLaren Vale appellation. He later worked in both Burgundy and South Africa before arriving in California six years ago.
His new appointment will see him travelling between both countries and perfecting the Australian tradition of blending grapes from several different regions. Cooler climate regions such as Australia’s Victoria and California’s Santa Barbara County are to be particular targets.
The first Mondavi/Rosemount wines to go on sale will be varietals in the super-premium, $13-15 (£8-10) price range, with a top-range California Reserve Syrah following in September 2003. Priced at about $60 (£35) a bottle, the Syrah uses vine stock from the Grange vineyards in South Australia and fruit from Santa Maria and Santa Barbara in California.
The Australian side of the enterprise will kick off early in 2003 with a super-premium range of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. A Victoria Shiraz at $80 (£50) per bottle is expected several months later.
Limited distribution to UK and mainland Europe will begin next spring, with the Australian wine list. The California range is not expected to arrive until 2004.
Seven Peaks winery has yet to announce a replacement.
Written by Liz Hughes31 October 2002