Muscat Interview: Next Generation In Wine

22 November 2021

Our winemaker Nick Brown sat down with Wine Companion's Deputy Editor, Tom Carr, recently for the latest episode of By the Glass. Chatting all things Muscat and the future of winemaking in the Rutherglen region, Tom asked Nick about how Muscats change over time.

Thomas: How do the Muscats change over time?

Nick: Muscats can age in barrels for hundreds of years if they're taken care of; the oldest we have is 120 years.

These wines change over time by water evaporating from the cask, which we can the 'angels share'. That makes the resulting wine richer and more viscous. It's an accountant worse nightmare, having to write off the reduction in such a beautiful wine. It disappears into the ether, but these wines wouldn't be what they are without that happening.

Our Museum Muscat at All Saints Estate has average material of 100 years, and there's only a handful of other wineries in the region with material that old – I haven't seen the other wineries bottle it, but we put ours into a beautiful bottle with a gold label. Having one barrel does make me a little nervous, and I don't tell anyone where it is! (Laughs). I should probably split it into a couple of casks.

Thomas: How important is generational winemaking in a region like Rutherglen?

Nick: All of Rutherglen's wineries are family-owned, and the multi-generational winemaking families feel proud and fortunate for the opportunity to continue this into the future.

We have amazing old vineyards and wines that have been nurtured for decades and, in some cases, for over a century.

Thomas: Do you feel the weight of your family name (if applicable) or those who came before you?

Nick: There is certainly a sense of responsibility; however, my aim is to build upon what has been created in the past and pass it onto future generations.

Thomas: What pulled you into the industry?

Nick: During my younger years, I learned a lot through osmosis – spending a lot of time in and around the vineyards and winery. We have a family rule where we must have four years working for another business before getting a full-time job at home. This encouraged me to work in other industries to pursue other interests.

It probably wasn't until my mid-twenties, whilst spending time working in France, that I realised that winemaking and the wine industry as a whole were so attractive. There are so many facets to wine, from nurturing vines and growing grapes to the science and creativity of winemaking, sales, travel, and each business component from end-to-end.

Nick: What does the future look like for Rutherglen?

Rutherglen is well-primed to welcome not only our existing customers but also new customers. In addition to the regions beautiful wines, we offer fantastic restaurants, great and varied accommodation and hospitable locals.

Also, being close to regional centres, between Melbourne and Canberra and a short flight from Sydney (to Albury), we are excited by regional tourism resuming so we host visitors again.

Listen to thefull interview here.