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The Heart of Winemaking with Rohan Smith


Q&A with Rohan Smith from Medhurst Wines: A Journey into the Heart of Winemaking

Welcome to our blog series, where we sit down with some of the most passionate and respected figures in the wine industry. Today, we chat with Rohan Smith, the Chief Winemaker at Medhurst Wines. With a deep love for soil and vines, Rohan's philosophy focuses on crafting wines that reflect the unique characteristics of their origin. He also emphasises the importance of sustainability, believing that as farmers, we are custodians of the land for future generations. Join us as we delve into his insights on winemaking, sustainability, and his upcoming showcase at the 2024 International Cool Climate Wine Show.


Q: Rohan, thank you for joining us today. Can you tell us about your journey into the world of winemaking?

My journey into winemaking started with a profound respect for the land and a fascination with how different soils and climates can influence the character of wine. I’ve always believed that the most beautiful wines are those that express the unique qualities of their vineyard sites. This passion led me to Medhurst Wines in the Yarra Valley, where we focus on producing wines that are true to their origins – wines of purity, structure, and balance.


Q: You’re committed to sustainability. Can you elaborate on this philosophy and how it influences your winemaking?

During my career as a viticulturalist and winemaker, I have always believed that it is our responsibility to respect and care for the land that we farm. This requires practices that are geared towards sustainability, ensuring that we are both producing great wines today but also preserving the environment and land for future generations. This includes careful soil management, thoughtful intervention in the vineyard, and reducing our carbon footprint. Our goal is to have a thriving vineyard ecosystem that continues to produce exceptional fruit year after year.


Q: You've mentioned that picking perfect fruit is essential for producing wines with purity, structure, and balance. How do you achieve this?

It all starts with the vineyard. We pay meticulous attention to every aspect of vine care, from pruning to harvesting. By understanding the specific needs of each block, we can ensure that the fruit reaches its full potential. This involves monitoring soil health, vine nutrition, and canopy management to protect the fruit from excessive sun or rain whilst ensuring we manage the risks of disease. The timing of picking is the most important decision you will make as a winemaker to ensure fruit of beautiful flavour and balance comes into the winery, capturing the essence of the site in every parcel.

Q: You are also the Chair of Judges at the 2024 International Cool Climate Wine Show. How has your experience judging wine influenced your winemaking?

Judging at wine shows is a fantastic collaborative and educational experience, bringing great wine minds and incredible palates together under one roof to hunt for the most beautiful wines. It exposes you to a wide range of wine styles and production techniques, broadening one’s understanding of what makes a great wine all of which helps to refine your palate and providing insights into emerging trends and innovations in winemaking and viticulture.

Q: You’re presenting a masterclass at our Cool Wine Showcase on the 27th July. What can attendees expect from this event?

I’ll be presenting a selection of the medal winning wines, recognised for their style and quality. These wines are a testament to the unique characteristics of their respective regions and the skill of the viticulturalists and winemakers. It’s an exciting opportunity for attendees to taste some truly exceptional wines and learn more about the influence of cool climates on winemaking.

Q: Finally, what do you hope people take away from their experience at the Cool Wine Showcase?

I hope that people leave with a deeper appreciation for the complexity and beauty of wine. I believe wines should tell a story – the story of our land, our vines, and our commitment to quality, sustainability and ultimately excellence. Events such as the International Cool Climate Wine Show provide a platform to share these stories and celebrate the artistry of cool climate winemaking and viticulture. I want everyone to enjoy the wines and gain some insight into the work that has been done to create them.

Thank you Rohan, for sharing your insights and passion with us. We look forward to tasting the exceptional wines you have curated from the 2024 International Cool Climate Wine Show. Cheers!

Secure your spot in Rowan’s Wine Experience by clicking here

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