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Man of the year: Brian Croser

Australian winemaker Brian Croser has been awarded ‘Man of the year’ by Decanter magazine, recognising his massive contribution to the wine world.

His founding of the Petaluma winery in South Australia in 1976 was a milestone. One of the first in Australia to recognise the importance of terroir, he caused a small revolution by matching grape to climate.

Before joining Hardy’s as chief winemaker in 1970, he studied Oenology at the University of California. Two years after establishing Petaluma, he set up his own technical wine consultancy company Oenotec Pty Ltd.

Croser was also president of the Winemaker’s Federation of Australia from 1991-93 and again from 1997-99. He was awarded Officer of the Order of Australia in 2000 for services to the Australian wine industry.

‘Brian Croser has been the most influential figure in the development of the modern Australian wine industry,’ said Ian Sutton, chief executive of the Winemakers’ federation of Australia.

Although Croser has provoked some criticism, especially for his anaerobic, clean approach to making his wines, his appraoch has had a positive effect on Australian wines.

‘You have to understand, there was a lot of bad winemaking and a great deal of ignorance,’ said Croser, underlining that once the basics, such as clean handling, were in place, more adventurous approaches to winemaking could be attempted.

Croser, Bollinger and Jean-Michel Cazes – of Lynch-Bages and last year’s ‘Decanter Man of the year’ – recently announced a joint venture, Tapanappa Wines, to produce premium wines in South Australia.

Read the full interview with Brian Croser here

Written by Oliver Styles

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