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Winemaker Focus on Nigel Westblade

Winemaker Focus
Nigel Westblade
Chief Winemaker, Peter Lehmann Wines 

Nigel grew up in rural Victoria. After boarding school he studied Chemistry and Microbiology at Melbourne University. In the last year of his degree, he had a chance encounter with Michael Schreurs, a winemaker from Great Western Victoria. After a long discussion Nigel jumped at the opportunity to work a vintage at Delatite Wines, a winery specialising in cool climate wines with vineyards at the base of Mt Buller in north-east Victoria. It was here that Nigel fell in love with everything about winemaking and knew it was the path he was destined to follow.

Who is the greatest influence in your winemaking life?
I have worked with so many great people, I find it really interesting to observe my peers in action and to try and determine what traits or skills make them exceptional winemakers. One thing I have noticed, they all seem to have coolness under pressure, when others around them are falling apart they can see the path forward with calmness and clarity, people like Kendall Mix and Ros Ritchie are great examples.

What is your approach to winemaking?
I like to understand what is happening with a wine and gently guide in the direction that will produce the best result for each individual parcel.

What winemaking philosophy do you live by?
Keep it simple and focus on doing the important things well. 

What is your favourite part of the winemaking process? 

The whole controlled chaos that is vintage! 

If you could invite one person to share a bottle of your wine with, who would it be?
For me personally wine is best enjoyed with family and friends – so I’d have to say my wife.

When you are not making wine, what do you enjoy doing?
Spending time with family and friends, and dropping in a fishing line.

What’s your favourite wine region in the world – other than your own?
The Napa Valley, there is so much going on there in terms of varying winemaking styles, it makes for a really interesting tasting.

If you weren’t making wine for a living, what would you be doing?
I would be back on the family farm, still enjoying the rural lifestyle.

What do you love most about the Barossa?
The pride in which the community takes in producing the best Shiraz in the world.