“Growing up in the Barossa surrounded by vineyards and wine, it didn’t take me long to join the dots between studying science, my favourite subject at school, and the potential for practical application by becoming a winemaker.
My first hands on role mirrored that of so many Barossa born kids graduating high school – working vintage at a local winery (Penfolds) and earning more money than I’d ever seen in my life. I subsequently invested my new found wealth ‘wisely’ by travelling the world and doing all the good things a young Australian should be doing at that age – I recall beer being a consistent theme no matter where I found myself.
I returned to Australia, and to Penfolds for 6 more vintages. Further overseas vintages in New Zealand (Otago), USA (Sonoma) and Germany (Mosel) expanded my world wine view, and I completed my masters in Oenology in 2012. Equipped with a good mix of learned theory and hands on experience, I started my winemaking career at Two Hands which led to my current position as winemaker with the WD Wines Group.
Based in Barossa keeps me close to our vineyards and affords the opportunity each vintage to make small parcels of wine for Lienert Vineyards from what my brother John and I reckon to be some of the best blocks on the estate.
My approach to winemaking is based on a desire to preserve the character of our estate expressed through wines that show purity of fruit, elegance, delicacy, with finely structured tannins and flavours. Working in partnership with John in the vineyard, my aim in the winery is to retain all the more delicate flavours through varying winemaking techniques and subtle use of oak. ‘Less is more’ is a simple mantra, but to us it captures how we believe we’re best able to unlock the amazing potential of the fruit we grow.”
– James Lienert