Welcome to another in the series of winemaker interviews.
Mitchell Taylor is the managing director and chief winemaker at Taylors Wines - Clare Valley, Australia. Following in the footsteps of his father, Bill Taylor, and grandfather, Bill Snr, Mitchell oversees the running of the Taylors business, while still playing a key role in crafting their quality wines.
Having worked in the family winery since 1988 - when twelve years later, in 2000, Mitchell was appointed Managing Director. Mitchell’s passion for winemaking has seen him work across all facets of the business - everything from export sales, finance and of course winemaking. Mitchell Taylor is well aware of his family's winemaking heritage and is passionate about upholding the family tradition of producing world-class wines.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Oenology from Charles Sturt University in 1995 - he completed vintages as chief winemaker from 1989 - 1997. Under Mitchell's guidance and steadfast vision the Taylors winemaking team seeks to craft the best Australian wines for every occasion.
Mitchell understands the importance of protecting, preserving and enhancing the quality of the fruit from their vineyards. Their aim is to achieve balance, elegance and finesse in every wine and somewhat uniquely when it comes to the style of the wines, they strive to make wines that are both powerful and elegant. The Taylors philosophy rests on the principle that the finest wines are those made with the greatest dedication and care.
Mitchell is a proud advocate of not only his family’s wine but of the Australian wine industry as a whole. Mitchell is the current Chairman of 'Australia’s First Families of Wine', a Director of the Winemakers Federation of Australia and Liquor Merchants Association of Australia Ltd, as well as the Chairman of the National Wine Foundation. Mitchell strives to ensure Australia’s wine industry continues to build on its already impressive reputation.
Having met Mitchell a couple of times now over the past few years - it is clear to see his energy and focus on quality coming through in every range of wines crafted by the talented and dedicated team at Taylors. From the general release and over achieving ‘Estate' range of wines, to the winemakers expression ‘Jaraman’ range and the ‘terroir’ small parcel, signature ‘St Andrews’ range.
What first attracted you to the wine industry and as a winemaker?
The family’s passion for the business first inspired me, followed by my first trip to Europe where I visited Champagne and Bordeaux.
Where and when did you study winemaking?
Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, Australia. I studied there from 1989 to 1995.
Which person has influenced you the most as a winemaker and why?
John Vickery is someone I look up to. His attention to detail is phenomenal and he also has a love for a great Riesling.
What is your favourite grape variety(s) to work with and why?
That would be Cabernet Sauvignon. The structure and intensity of both the flavour and tannins.
Which grape variety would you most like to work with in the future and why?
Tempranillo is fantastic. It is a great Spanish variety and should do very well in the Australian dry climate.
With each new vintage what do you most look forward to?
The smell of the ferments and the tasting of the fruit in the vineyard with the winemakers.
To date what has been you most interesting/challenging vintage and why?
2011 - It threw all the challenges of mother-nature at us in the one year. We still however, managed to make some very special wine, including our very first ‘Botrytis’ Riesling which is just superb.
Which person ‘current’ or ‘past’ would you most like to have met or meet and why?
Jesus Christ - as he could turn water into wine - a great winemaker!
If you were stranded on a desert island and you could take one bottle of wine with you - what would it be and why?
An aged Cabernet Sauvignon from my birth year 1964. Taylors ‘St Andrews’ would fit that bill.
If you could make wine anywhere else in the world - where would it be and why?
Sonoma Valley - I like northern California and find the surrounding countryside beautiful.
What advice would you give a young person starting out as a winemaker?
Always experiment and push yourself to try new techniques. Winemaking is a craft that entails continuous learning.
When you are ‘not’ making wine - what is one of your favourite things to do to relax?
Food & wine with friends & family, travel, tennis and swimming.
In the future, what exciting changes can you see, or would like to see for your wines, wine styles, vineyard or winery?
The understanding globally that Australia makes the best wines in the world. That is why AFFW was formed; to assist in communicating this message.
Taylors Wines are available in New Zealand and around the world from quality wine retailers and restaurants.
Or visit the website: Taylors Wines
Or visit the website: Taylors Wines