Jacob’s Creek appoints new winemaker / Jacob’s Creek Chief Winemaker Ben Bryant today announced the appointment of Trina Smith to the position of Group White & Sparkling Winemaker, based out of the brand’s home in the Barossa Valley.
With over 20 years of winemaking experience and completion of international vintages in California, Italy and South Africa, Trina’s vision for Jacob’s Creek will be driven by her diverse background and specialist winemaking expertise.
“Jacob’s Creek is a proudly Australian brand of world-class standards, with a strong heritage of some of the finest winemakers in the country, who continually inject their passion and knowledge into building the brand into what it is today. I am thrilled to now be a part of this team and look forward to sharing my experiences to help continue to
take Jacob’s Creek to wine drinkers around the world,” said Smith of her appointment.
In her new role at Jacob’s Creek, Trina will be responsible for ensuring the white, rosé and sparkling wines are produced to the highest standards that Jacob’s Creek consumers have come to know and love. Trina will also provide guidance to the operational winemaking team and continue to drive advances and innovation across all aspects of the brand’s Australian operations and wine portfolio.
Trina joins the Jacob’s Creek family from Treasury Wine Estates where she recently held the position of Senior Sparkling Winemaker since 2008. In this role, Trina worked across their entire Australian sparkling portfolio.
Ben Bryant, Chief Winemaker for Jacob’s Creek said: “We’re thrilled to have Trina join our family and look forward to tapping into her wealth of experience and knowledge to ensure that we continue to produce wines of a world-class standard.”
Jacob's Creek Chief Winemaker Bernard Hickin ponders which vintage to pour as he begins his retirement
AFTER 40 YEARS of wizardry at Australia's Jacob's Creek, chief winemaker Bernard Hickin is passing the baton at the end of this month to Ben Bryant to carry on the brand's world-renowned legacy.
Hickin's departure has meanwhile inspired Bryant to create an exceptional tipple, the 2010 Limited Edition Shiraz Cabernet, to honour Hickin's four decades of dedication in maintaining the trusted quality and style that has earmarked Jacob's Creek wines since 1976. A mere 250 bottles have been made available around the world of this plush and complex blend of Shiraz from Barossa and Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawara.
HOW DID YOU FIRST START MAKING WINE?
I was inspired to become a winemaker after visiting a winery in Adelaide as a young adult. I was totally captivated by the aromas of the fermenting grapes and the comforting smell of oak barrels, and to see how the humble grapes were converted into this delicious, complex drink. Pretty soon afterwards I enrolled in an oenology degree course at Roseworthy College in South Australia, and I haven't looked back since.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY WAS YOUR FINEST MOMENT IN 40 YEARS AT JACOB'S CREEK?
I suppose one of my biggest achievements was our sparkling wine, which was first released in 1990. Until then Jacob's Creek had really only been famous for its table wines, but I felt there was a great opportunity to release a sparkling wine that had the same great balance, varietal expression and easy drinking style.
I was right - our sparkling wines achieved great success and still do, and Jacob's Creek remains one of the only brands that are successful with both still and sparkling wine.
HOW DID WINEMAKING ART AND SCIENCE CHANGE DURING YOUR CAREER?
The interaction of art and science in winemaking is a wonderful thing, and it hasn't changed much. Science has long been the backbone of modern Australian winemaking - ensuring the vineyards are managed properly and that the fermentation conditions are optimised - but art remains at the heart of winemaking.
For some winemakers their art is to express their own personality through the wine they make. At Jacob's Creek our art is to express the personality of the grape itself - the true character of the grape variety, as well as the place where the grapes were grown. So the art is seeing the grapes in the vineyard and imagining how that can be captured in the wine, and then coaxing the grapes through the winemaking process to achieve that vision.
WHAT'S THE MOST CHALLENGING THING ABOUT THE JOB?
The way each vintage is unique. We are at the mercy of the seasons, and each year we wonder what the next vintage will bring. Grape quality depends on the conditions in the growing season, including the rain, the wind, the sun and the temperature. We have little control over how the vintage will be until we receive the grapes into the winery. It's as terrifying each year as it is invigorating!
WHAT'S YOUR MOST MEMORABLE VINTAGE?
The 2012 was our best during my decade as chief winemaker, and followed probably our most difficult vintage, which is probably why I found it most memorable. That was a year when perfect weather conditions were seen across South Australia, and almost every parcel of fruit that came into Jacob's Creek was of exceptional quality. I said at the time I thought it was the best vintage in 25 years. But 1986 and 1996 were also outstanding years, and more recently 2002 and 2004 produced high-quality wines.
WHAT MAKES JACOB'S CREEK WINES |STAND OUT?
Our philosophy has three pillars of excellence: varietal expression, quality and balance. Varietal expression means that our goal is to reflect the true character of the grape variety in the wine. Our Shiraz tastes like Shiraz should, and our Chardonnay tastes as Chardonnay should.
As for quality, we strive to make the best-quality wines every year and we visit every vineyard during vintage to ensure the grapes are picked at their optimal time. In terms of balance, one of the calling cards of Jacob's Creek wines is that they're approachable and easy to drink. This is no accident - it reflects the effort we go through to ensure the wines are in perfect balance.
HOW BIG IS YOUR OWN PRIVATE CELLAR?
It's a fairly substantial underground cool cellar, about three by four metres holding a thousand or so bottles. I have one old bottle of Cote de Nuits Pinot Noir Burgundy that's probably valued at about US$1,000, should I ever wish to sell it - which I won't, since wine is made to drink and enjoy.
I think it might be a good wine to crack on Day 1 of my retirement!
JACOB'S CREEK WINES CELEBRATE MILESTONE OF 7,000 AWARDS
THE WINEMAKERS AT JACOB’S CREEK™ ARE TODAY TOASTING THE MILESTONE ACHIEVEMENT OF EARNING 7,000 WINE SHOW AWARDS (1) ACROSS THE BRAND’S PORTFOLIO SINCE ITS RUNNING TALLY BEGAN OVER TWENTY YEARS AGO.
The recent Critics Challenge International Wine Competition platinum medal for the Jacob’s Creek Barossa Reserve Riesling 2012 has pushed the iconic brand in to the landmark moment, highlighting the outstanding quality that Jacob’s Creek wines have maintained since the brand’s launch in 1976.
Brett McKinnon, Managing Director of Orlando Wines said, “We are very proud of this achievement which reflects the dedication we put into everything we do at Jacob’s Creek. Our True Character crusade is inherent in our people, and 7,000 award wins is testament to the fact that we have always stayed true to our heritage and passion for making great tasting wine.
Chief Winemaker, Bernard Hickin, who has been a winemaker at Orlando since 1976 said, “Winning 7,000 show awards is a strong affirmation of the quality of Jacob’s Creek wines. This milestone greatly rewards the effort and care we take with our wines at every level.
Critics Platinum medals are reserved for wines nominated for Best of Show. All judges at the Critics Challenge International Wine Competition participated in the tasting evaluation and voted.
The most highly awarded wine in the Jacob’s Creek portfolio over the past five years was the 2001 Johann Shiraz Cabernet which has earned a total of 21 trophies/golds (2). This was the inaugural vintage of the brand’s pinnacle wine which is named after the founder of the winery Johann Gramp.
Jacob’s Creek is one of Australia’s leading wine brands, offering quality contemporary Australian wine styles with great varietal expression. The brand was first launched in 1976 and is named after a creek that runs through the renowned Barossa Valley wine region in South Australia. Jacob’s Creek is made by Orlando Wines which was founded by Johann Gramp after he planted his first vines on the banks of Jacob’s Creek in 1847, and thus began a tradition of winemaking over 165 years ago.